John Buynak is a synthetic organic chemist, with 77 publications and patents. Dr. Buynak has particular expertise in the design and synthesis of β-lactam antibiotics and β-lactamase inhibitors. His specialty is the design of mechanism-based inhibitors and the structures of ten of his inhibitors, complexed to various β-lactamases, have been reported in the Protein Data Bank. His collaborators come from a wide number of academic and commercial concerns, including Merck & Co. Inc., Johnson and Johnson, Theravance Inc., Case Western Reserve University, Baylor College of Medicine, Wesleyan University, Miami University, and the University of Bristol.
Anindita (Dia) Das obtained her Ph.D. with Prof. Rongchao Jin at Carnegie Mellon University, where her research focused on the synthesis and single-crystal growth of atomically precise gold nanoparticles. Following her PhD., Dia carried out postdoctoral research with Prof. Chad Mirkin at Northwestern University, where her work centered on the development of spherical nucleic acids based on atomically precise gold nanoclusters for applications in colloidal crystal engineering and biology. In 2020, Dia started her independent lab in the Chemistry Department at Southern Methodist University.
Robert Harrod is an Associate Professor in the SMU Department of Biological Sciences. He received his PhD from the University of Maryland in 1996 and served as a Postdoctoral fellow at the USUHS-Naval Medical Center and the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health. His laboratory's research investigates how host-pathogen interactions contribute to retroviral (HIV/HTLV) pathogenesis and virus-induced cancers. The long-term goals of this research are to identify novel molecular targets for antiviral therapy, and to elucidate biomarkers of infectious diseases.
Elfi Kraka received the Doctor Rerum Naturalis degree summa cum laude from the University of Cologne, Germany, in 1984. After a postdoctoral term at Argonne National Laboratory, she joined the faculty at the University of Göteborg, Sweden, achieving the rank of Full Professor. In 2005, she joined UOP, Stockton and in 2009 moved to SMU as Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry. Dr. Kraka’s Computational and Theoretical Chemistry Group (CATCO) develops and applies modern quantum chemical tools to solve pending problems ranging from the design of environmentally friendly materials and their chemical reactions to promising drug candidates utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Alexander R. Lippert graduated with a B.S. from the California Institute of Technology in 2003 and began his Ph.D. in organic chemistry with Prof. Jeffrey W. Bode at the University of California at Santa Barbara. In 2007, he moved with Prof. Bode to the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his Ph.D. in 2008. Beginning his postdoctoral research in 2009 with Prof. Christopher J. Chang at the University of California, Berkeley, he developed luminescent and magnetic resonance imaging probes for hydrogen peroxide. In 2012, he joined the Department of Chemistry at SMU as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2018. Prof. Lippert's laboratory develops triggered energy transfer chemiluminescence agents aimed at imaging and monitoring cancer, cardiovascular, and respiratory diseases. Additionally, Prof. Lippert serves as Chief Science Officer for BioLum Sciences, LLC and is aiding in the development of point-of-care medical devices for disease monitoring.
Eva Oberdörster completed her B.S. in Biology in 1992 at Binghamton University, and earned her Ph.D. in 1997 from Duke University. After a post-doc at Tulane University, she joined the faculty of Clemson University in 1998. Dr. Oberdörster has been at SMU since 2001 in the Department of Biology, where she currently is a Senior Lecturer. Dr. Oberdörster's research interests are in the area of Environmental Toxicology, in particular nanoparticle toxicity and oxidative stress.
Tomče Runčevski did his Ph.D. in 2014 at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart, Germany, on structural characterization of materials with diffraction and spectroscopic methods. He graduated in record 3 years and was awarded with the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society. In 2015, he joined UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as a postdoctoral researcher working on characterization of porous materials. In 2018, he started his independent career the Southern Methodist University, as an assistant professor of chemistry.
David Son is currently Professor and has been in the Department of Chemistry at SMU since 1996. He obtained his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and conducted postdoctoral research at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. His research interests are focused on the synthesis and characterization of highly branched polymers for advanced materials applications, and the development of degradable plastics for drug delivery.
Peng Tao joined the Department of Chemistry in the fall of 2013. He received his B.S. in Chemistry (1998) and M.S. in Physical Chemistry (2001) from the Peking University in China. He obtained his Ph.D. in Computational Chemistry from the Ohio State University in 2007. He did his post-doctoral research at Wayne State University from 2007 to 2010, and continued as a research fellow at NIH from 2010 to 2013. Dr. Tao’s research group focuses on deciphering biomolecular evolution in terms of functional mechanisms and dynamical properties through both theoretical and data-driven methods.
Nick Tsarevsky obtained his M.S. in theoretical chemistry and chemical physics from the University of Sofia, Bulgaria (1999) and Ph.D. in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA (2005; with Prof. Kris Matyjaszewski). He worked on the synthesis of functional polymers by atom transfer radical polymerization and the rational design of polymerization catalysts for various reaction media, including aqueous solvents. Current research interests include polymerization techniques, functional materials, coordination chemistry and catalysis, and the chemistry hypervalent compounds. He has authored and coauthored more than 90 papers (55 in peer-reviewed journals), 8 book chapters, and several patents. He was awarded the Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award in Green Chemistry (2003), the Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research Award (2004), the Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Polymer Group Student Award (2004), as well as the Harrison Legacy Dissertation Fellowship (2004-5), and the National Starch & Chemical Award (2008). He was Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University (2005-6), Associate Director of the CRP Consortium (2006), and a member of the founding team of ATRP Solutions, Inc., of which he served as Chief Science Officer (2007-10). He was secretary (2005) and chair (2006) of the Polymer Group of the Pittsburgh Section of ACS, as well as chair of the Section (2009). He joined the Department of Chemistry at Southern Methodist University in the summer of 2010.
Steven Vik obtained his BS degree in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, and a PhD from the University of Oregon. Before joining the faculty at SMU in 1987, he did postdoctoral work at Scripps Research Institute, the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing, and at Stanford University. His research interests are in the structure, function and assembly of enzymes from energy transducing membranes. In 2008-2010 he was a visiting professor at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, where he collaborated on projects involving the natural products of tea plants.
Pia Vogel received her MS and Ph.D. equivalent degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany. After postdoctoral research at the SUNY Health Sciences Center in Syracuse, NY, Dr. Vogel returned to the U. Kaiserslautern and received her Habilitation and venia legendi in Biochemistry in 1997. After serving on the faculty at the University if Kaiserslautern she joined SMU in 2002. Dr. Vogel is interested in structure, function and mechanism of medically important proteins.
John Wise received his BS in Biology from Syracuse University and his MS and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Rochester Medical School. After post-doctoral research in Rochester and later with Nobel Laureate Paul D. Boyer at UCLA he joined the SUNY Upstate Medical Center. From 1993 to 2001 Dr. Wise was a faculty member at the University of Kaiserslautern, Germany. In 2002 Wise joined the SMU faculty. Dr. Wise is an expert in membrane protein biochemistry and computational biology.
Brian Zoltowski obtained his Ph.D. with Prof. Brian Crane at Cornell University, where his research focused on understanding the structural and chemical mechanisms regulating our natural 24-hour biological rhythms. During his PhD, he solved the first structure of an animal circadian clock photoreceptor. Following his PhD, Brian conducted postdoctoral research with Prof. Kevin Gardner at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where his work centered on engineering optogenetic tools to manipulate biological processes with light. In addition, he gained exposure to using biophysical techniques in drug discovery. In 2011, Brian started his independent lab in the Chemistry Department at Southern Methodist University. Brian has received multiple awards for his research, and his work has been highlighted on CNN, NPR, amongst others.