Han Research Group - Members

  • Professor
  • (805) 893-4858
  • PSBN 4614

Graduate Students

  • Carbon Materials
  • Conductive Polymers

Shona is investigating the synthesis and optimization of non-precious metal heteroatom-containing porous carbon materials.  These conductive graphitic materials have proven to be both comparable to industrially employed oxygen reduction reaction catalyzing material in fuel cells, and promising grey water filtration materials.  Additionally, she is investigating the structuring of conductive polymers for use in solar panel like applications.

  • (480) 734 7610
  • Engineering 2 3313
  • Peptoid Synthesis and Characterization

Audra is co-advised by Prof. Rachel Segalman (ChemE) and Prof. Songi Han. Her research focuses on probing water dynamics on polymeric surfaces using a highly controllable polymer platform. Understanding the effects of polymer structure and chemistry on water dynamics will enable deliberate design of specialty materials for use in membrane applications. 

  • Membrane Proteins
  • Protein Oligomerization

Chung-Ta focuses on how different environmental factors affect transmembrante protein function. He is working on the development of a distance measuring tool between protein helices that will allow him and his team to study how protein functions are modulated through the approach of protein structure dynamics.

  • PRE-NMR
  • Bio-Solution NMR
  • Tau Protein

Xiaohe Lei, advised by Prof. Song-I Han, is now learning about spin and trying to apply such physical chemistry method to decipher the aggregation of a "notorious" disordered protein, Tau. Using the technique of PRE-NMR (Paramagnetic Resonance Enhanced-NMR) to investigate aggregation dynamics of tau protein in the solution state is her major focus for the current period. 

  • PSBN 4623C
  • DNP Development
  • High-Field EPR
  • Bio-solid NMR

The focus of Miranda's PhD study is to develop Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP) enhanced NMR method to study complicated bio-solid systems. The bio-solid system she is probing is tau aggregation pathway, which is associated with Alzheimer's diseases. So far, her approach is to design a DNP spin system to overcome the low sensitivity issue of NMR spectrum of tau aggregates. Miranda's research provides her with the knowledge of the state-of-the-art DNP instrumentation, high field EPR experiments, bio solid-state NMR experiments as well as electron & nuclear spin dynamics.

  • Tau Aggregation
  • Complex Coacervation

Yanxian currently focuses on the complex coacervation and amyloid aggregation of protein tau. He applies magnetic resonance-based techniques to probe conformation and dynamics of tau, polymer and colloid characterization on the properties of complex coacervates, and biochemical assays on amyloid aggregation.

  • G Protein-Coupled Receptors
  • Protein Oligomerization
  • Cryo-EM

Kendrick is coadvised by Prof. Michelle O'Malley (ChE) and Prof. Songi Han (DCB). His projects with G protein-coupled receptors give him a strong background in molecular cloning and protein expression using E. coli and S. cerevisiae, membrane protein purification and relevant chromatography techniques (IMAC, affinity, and size exclusion), biophysical techniques such as cw-EPR, DEER, and cryo-EM, as well as basic knowledge into computational techniques such as MATLAB, PyMOL, Mathematica, etc. for data processing. He also has a strong interest in biomedically relevant projects, especially those related to medicine, drug discovery, pharmacology, and neurology in human.

  • PSBN 4650C
  • CNSI 2416A
  • Phosphorus NMR
  • Posner Identification
  • Quantum Brain

Mesopotamia Nowotarski is co-advised by Prof. Songi Han and Prof. Matthew Fisher (Physics). Her research entails utilizing phosphorous NMR and various magnetic resonance-based techniques to prove the existence of pseudospin entangled Posner molecules.

  • PSBN 4623
  • Surface Characterization
  • NMR and EPR
  • Heterogeneous Catalysis

Tarnuma's research focuses on the characterization of supported catalytic materials under the direction of Prof. Susannah Scott and Prof. Songi Han. Her interests lie in using advanced magnetic resonance techniques, including both EPR and NMR, to investigate the structural driving forces and underlying mechanisms that dictate kinetic effects in reactions.

  • EPR Development
  • Disordered Proteins
  • Tau Aggregation
  • G Protein-Coupled Receptors

Michael's research focuses on characterizing the sequence-dependent function of intrinsically disordered proteins. In particular, Michael works with disordered regions of the A2a GPCR to understand the relative contribution of disordered regions to A2a's oligomerization properties, and the role of truncation of tau in its toxic aggregation behavior. 

  • Water and Polymer Membranes

Thomas is co-advised by Prof. Rachel Segalman (ChemE) and Prof. Songi Han. The focus of his PhD studies is to develop fundamental understanding of the behavior of water at the surface of polymer membranes. He uses advanced magnetic resonance techniques such as Dynamic Nuclear Polarization to investigate the effect of molecular-scale structure and chemical topology on water dynamics and solute adsorption. This knowledge can then inform the inverse design of energy-efficient membranes for water purification. 

  • PSBN 4623D
  • High-Field EPR
  • Electron-Free Lasers
  • Time-Resolved EPR

Blake is coadvised by Prof. Mark Sherwin (Physics) and Prof. Songi Han (DCB). His focus is to work on developing high field EPR methods and performing high field EPR on systems to learn about the behavior of materials in a high field. By doing this, he helps build a better understanding of the processes that are important for the systems of spins at high field, aiming to develop new methods for studying biological systems. Under Mark Sherwin's guidance, Blake has also helped develop the UCSB electron-free laser as a tool for high field EPR.

 

  • Tau Aggregation

Kate focuses on understanding the aggregation of tau, an intrinsically disordered protein (IDP) implicated in neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer`s Disease. She is interested in how tau can form extraordinarily stable amyloid fibrils, and aim to understand its aggregation behavior and seeding from a structural point of view. Currently, she is working on (1) seeding tau monomer with tau amyloid fibrils and (2) investigating the amyloid structure and fibril stability. She utilizes a number of biophysical techniques in her projects including ThT fluorescence, EPR, and DEER. With the background of polymer materials and engineering, she can provide new insights into biochemical and biophysical problems. 

Postdoctoral Researchers

  • Solid-State DNP
  • Biological Applications

 

Asif's main focus is method development and application of solid-state dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) enhanced NMR to study biosolids, in particular aggregation intermediates of Tau proteins. In addition to this, understanding electron spin dynamics under non-continuous microwave irradiation condition is another major goal in the pursuit of improving DNP efficiency in power limited and faster magic-angle spinning frequency regime.

  • EPR
  • Tau Protein
  • Protein Aggregation

Yann's research focuses on the mechanisms of IDP aggregation, with a particular interest in the tau protein, involved in Alzheimer's Disease. His aim is to understand the structural transformations involved in aggregation pathways, and the molecular factors (presence of cofactors and seeds, buffer conditions, etc.) determining the properties of mature aggregates.

  • Solid-State NMR
  • DNP Development
  • Structural and Dynamical Studies of Materials Using Magnetic Resonance

Sheetal's research focuses on the methods, development, and applications of DNP and NMR. His doctoral focus was in solid-state NMR, and now he has been working with pulsed DNP methods to improve the technique he used during his doctoral program. Presently, he is involved primarily in projects related to the instumentation and applications of DNP and NMR. 

  • Instrument Development
  • EPR Development
  • Biological Applications

 

Tim's aim is to use recently developed arbitrarily waveform generators to improve the current pulsed EPR experiments such as DEER, DQC, and SIFTER. He also aims to make potentially more effective experiments possible. The primary application of his work is to look at distances across proteins particularly for aggregating systems. He is trying to improve the study of distances on aggregating systems, especially on the model system of tau protein.

  • (805) 893-2792
  • PSBN 4614
  • High-Field Magnetic Resonance Development

Cocoa has experience in high-field solid state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy with a focus on low-gamma and quadrupolar nuclei and a background in dynamic nuclear polarization at high magnetic fields as well as endohedralmetallofullerenes for materials applications.

Undergraduate Students

  • Undergraduate Student
  • Undergraduate Student
  • Undergraduate Student
  • Undergraduate Student
  • Undergraduate Student
  • Undergraduate Student
  • Undergraduate Student
  • Undergraduate Student
  • Undergraduate Student
  • Undergraduate Student
  • Undergraduate Student

Past Members & Group Alumni

  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • 2012–2013
  • Professor at Izmir Institute of Technology in Turkey

 

Present: Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering Department, Izmir Institute of Technology, Turkey.

  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • 2004–2010
  • Content Developer at The MathWorks

 

Present: Senior Online Content Developer, The MathWorks.

  • Graduate Student Reseacher
  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • 2012–2018

Ryan's research focuses on the interface between proteins and the surrounding hydration water in order to better understand how hydration water modifies the protein function. By quantifying the motion of the protein as well as the motion of the water, he aims to address the energetic coupling between a protein and its solvating hydration water.

 

  • (805) 893-2792
  • PSBN 4623D
  • Undergraduate Student
  • 2015
  • Research Associate at Gritstone Oncology

Present: Research Associate, Gritstone Oncology

  • Undergraduate Student
  • 2017

 

Tristan's main research goal was to understand the effect of surfactants and hydration on membrane protein functions. He was studying the membrane protein proteorhodopsin (PR) because it is easily characterized by its optical properties and is a good model protein for other membrane proteins. He was aiming to modulate PR by adjusting the external and internal surface hydration while in lipid vesicles using different surface active species.

  • (626) 283-0587
  • PSBN 4650A
  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Project Scientist
  • 2008–2016
  • Scientist at Colgate-Palmolive

 

Present: Senior Research Scientist, Colgate-Palmolive

  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • 2011–2017
  • Engineer at Karl Storz Imaging

 

Jessica's research in the Han Lab focused on high field electron paramagnetic resonance for the study of biological systems. This research helped build a better understanding of the processes that are important for the systems of spins at high field, aiming to develop new methods for styding biological systems. Jessica was developing a new tool for measuring distances in membrane proteins that will enhance their study of protein structure and dynamics. Under Mark Sherwin's guidance, she also helped develop the UCSB electron free laser as a tool for high field EPR.

 

Present: Design Verification Test Engineer III, Karl Storz Imaging

 

  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • Postdoc at University of Colorado - Boulder

Present: Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Colorado, Boulder (Advisor: Prof. Thomas Perkins)

  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • 2010–2017

Neil focused on tau protein which aggregates to form long fibers inside neurons in the brain. He worked on understanding the early structural mechanism of the tau aggregation pathway. Tau aggregation is known to be associated with several neurodegenerative diseases known as Tauopathies which also include Alzheimer’s disease. By using double electron electron resonance (DEER), Neil was able to look at conformational changes both before and after inducing aggregation. Through tracking and characterizing specific conformational intermediates, it could be possible to locate structurally distinct targets for the treatment of tau related diseases.

 
  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • 2012–2013
  • Project Manager at Infineon Technologies in Germany

Present: Project Manager, Infineon Technologies, Germany.

  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • 2008–2013
  • Professor at Syracuse University

Present: Assistant Professor, Chemistry Department, Syracuse University

  • Undergraduate Student
  • 2017–2018

 

Andrew is working on elucidating the pathway of the tau protein’s aggregation into fibers, the cause of neurodegenerative diseases known as Tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease. He assists with DEER spectroscopy distance measurements, ThT fluorescence, and small peptide production using molecular biology. In addition, he is in charge of creating tau mutants via site-directed mutagenesis, expressing and purifying these mutants, and preparing them for magnetic resonance experiments. One of his interests lies in optimizing spin-labelling efficiency for doubly spin-labelled IDPs, which could cut the time of DEER experiments in half. In doing this, he models the kinetics for, and studies the effects of solvent conditions on, multiple chemical reactions.

  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • 2008–2014
  • Post-doc at NIH

 

Present: Postdoctoral Researcher, National Institutes of Health

  • Postdoctoral Researcher

Ilia's main project involves technique development for high field EPR and DNP (at 7T). Presently, Ilia and his team are developing new approaches for more efficient DNP using unique capabilities of their spectrometer capable of generating arbitrary shaped pulses at 200 GHz. 

The second project Ilia works on is part of large multidisciplinary collaboration dedicated to development of underwater adhesives based on mimicking the adhesives used by mussels in the ocean. They employ a range of techniques such as confocal microscopy, microrheology, EPR and Overhauser DNP to characterize the material and molecular properties of recently discovered adhesive coacervate phases.

  • (805) 893-2792
  • PSBN 4623D
  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • 2010–2012
  • Founder and CEO of OTOjOY

 

Present: Founder and CEO of OTOjOY LLC

  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • 2007–2009
  • Scientist at Schlumberger-Doll

Present: Senior Research Scientist, Schlumberger-Doll Research

  • Undergraduate Student
  • 2014
  • Graduate Student at Stanford University

Present: Graduate Student Researcher, NSF Fellow, Stanford University (Advisor: Prof. Rajat Rohatgi)

  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • 2013–2018
  • Scientist at Thomas Keating Ltd. in the UK

Alisa’s research focuses on the interface of EPR, NMR, and dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP). She is working on hardware development for static DNP at high magnetic fields as well as doing mechanistic studies to better understand how static DNP is influenced by the electron environment and experimental conditions. These findings can then be used to optimize nuclear signals for materials and biological studies.

  • (805) 893-2792
  • PSBN 4623C
  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • 2005–2010
  • Professor at St. Mary's College of California

Present: Assistant Professor, St. Mary's College of California

  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • 2011–2016
  • Postdoc at CMRN in France

Alicia’s research focuses on instrument design and pushing the technique of NMR, DNP and EPR, with a specific focus designing an MAS-NMR probe that has DNP and EPR capabilities at temperatures below 90 K. Encompassed in this probe design research are fundamental studies on quantifying absolute enhancement factors from various nitroxide radicals and how the electron spin dynamics affect the DNP mechanism, particularly under magic angle spinning NMR. This work also involves applications to heterogeneous catalytic materials, where surface enhanced NMR through DNP can help differentiate the surface species from the bulk of a material.

 

Present: Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre de Résonance Magnétique Nucléaire (CMRN), Lyon, France (Advisor: Prof. Anne Lesage)

  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • 1999–2005
  • Scientist at Korimako Chemical Ltd. in New Zealand

Present: Principal Scientist, Korimako Chemical Limited, New Zealand

  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • 2013–2015
  • Researcher Associate at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Present: Research Associate - Formulation Development, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • 2005–2011
  • Professor at MIT

Present: Assistant Professor, Massachusett Institute of Technology

  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • 2006–2013
  • Scientist at Abzena

Present: Senior Scientist, Abzena

  • Undergraduate Student
  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • 2005–2006
  • Officer at US Department of State

Present: Foreign Affairs Officer and AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, U.S. Department of State

  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • 2011–2017
  • Scientist at Pfizer

Nikki was coadvised by Prof. Michelle O'Malley (ChE) and Prof. Songi Han (DCB). She worked on characterizing pharmaceutically relevant membrane protein complexes to link changes in structure and dynamics to function. Namely, she worked with a G protein-coupled receptor called the adenosine A2a receptor to elucidate structural details and functional consequences of homo-dimerization. The A2a receptor regulates cardiac function and several processes within the central nervous system; the outcome of this research will facilitate improved rational drug design to target A2a receptor oligomers in the treatment of disorders such as inflammation, fibrosis, schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease.

Present: Senior Scientist at Pfizer

  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • 2011–2018

Alex's research focuses on hydration on a molecular level. The question he is most concerned with is how and why are hydrophilic surfaces hydrated in both biological systems as well as non-biological or inorganic systems? He is working on solving this mystery by performing DNP measurements and surface force measurements. Apart from this, he works on the correlattion of measurements of water diffusivity with surface forces specifically for hydrated hydrophilic surfaces.

  • Undergraduate Student
  • 2015
  • Instructor at Elite Educational Institute

Present: Instructor, Elite Educational Institute

  • Graduate Student
  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • 2008–2016
  • Scientist at JEOL USA

Present: NMR R&D Scientist, JEOL USA

  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • 2009–2011
  • Associate Director at Pacira Pharmaceuticals

Present: Associate Director, R&D, Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  • Visiting Graduate Student
  • 2017
  • RWTH Archen University in Germany

Till worked on a project on hardware design to run ODNP on fuel cells. He and Prof. Songi Han were attempting to analyze conduction pathways in polyelectrolyte membranes with the help of ODNP. They hoped to better understand the difference between the surface (backbone) diffusion and the bulk diffusion using the ODNP. By changing those diffusion behaviors and understanding how membrane diffusion works, they built up the base to obtain a higher efficiency for diffusion through the membrane.

  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • Faculty Assistant
  • 2009–2013
  • NMR & EPR Specialist at MRL UCSB

Present: NMR & EPR Specialist, Materials Research Laboratory, University of California - Santa Barbara