Lab Members

Principal Investigators

Karen McDonald, PhD
kamcdonald@ucdavis.edu
Biographical Sketch

Professor, Dept. Chemical Engineering
3008 Bainer Hall
Office Phone: (530) 752-8314

Faculty Director, UC Davis ADVANCE Program
1104 Surge III
Office Phone: (530) 752-6885
Somen Nandi, PhD
snandi@ucdavis.edu
Biographical Sketch

Adjunct Professor, Dept. Chemical Engineering
3112 Bainer Hall
Office Phone: (916) 838-0918

Managing Director, Global Healthshare® Initiative
318A Life Sciences Building
http://ghs.ucdavis.edu
Office Phone: (530) 752-3613

Postdoctoral Researchers

Kalimuthu Karuppanan, PhD
kkaruppanan@ucdavis.edu

Kalimuthu Karuppanan completed his PhD in Biotechnology in 2013 from Department of Molecular Microbiology, School of Biotechnology, Madurai Kamaraj University, India. Kalimuthu’s efforts have focused on establishing tobacco plant cell culture, optimization of co-cultivation conditions and bioreactor strategies to produce monoclonal antibodies against Ebola, as well as developing and optimization of downstream processing for recombinant protein purification and characterization. In addition, he is collaboratively working with other therapeutic proteins (Anthrax decoy protein and Alpha-1 antitrypsin) transiently produced from tobacco plants. As a postdoctoral researcher he is supervising the current research projects and mentoring students in McDonald research group.

Visiting Scholars

Trenton (Trent) Smith
tsmith@simpsonu.edu

Trenton (Trent) Smith, Ph.D. received his doctorate from the University of South Carolina in 2001, where he had worked in the laboratory of Dr. Vicki Vance studying the suppression of RNA interference by viral proteins in plants. Dr. Smith's current primary appointment is as Associate Professor of Biology at Simpson University, in Redding, CA. He joined in collaboration with Dr. McDonald's lab group during his sabbatical in spring 2018, where his main aim is to optimize a system for expressing cellulase enzymes in potatoes as part of the NASA/CUBES work.
Pauline Famy
pmfamy@ucdavis.edu

Pauline received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences from Pharmacy faculty Lyon, France. She started in the McDonald Laboratory in October 2017, working on the optimization of the expression, production and purification of Elafin-Fc fusion protein in Nicotiana benthamiana.

Graduate Students

Jasmine Corbin
jmcorbin@ucdavis.edu

Jasmine received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a biochemical emphasis from USC in 2013. Her graduate research focuses on both upstream and downstream process development for a transgenic rice cell suspension culture for the production of butyrylcholinesterase, a therapeutic enzyme for the treatment of organophosphorus nerve agent exposure.
Kantharakorn (Korn) Macharoen
kmacharoen@ucdavis.edu

Korn received a bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology and a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. He was awarded a Royal Thai Government Scholarship to study a doctoral degree in Chemical Engineering emphasizing in biomanufacturing of therapeutic proteins. His graduate research focuses on improving the production of recombinant butyrylcholinesterase (rBChE) in transgenic rice cell suspension cultures using bioreactor process optimization and scaling-up the production of rBChE to a pilot scale.
Matt McNulty
mmcnulty@ucdavis.edu

Matt received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He previously worked as a process engineer for Sanofi Genzyme. His current research focuses on the technoeconomic analysis of a plant-made antimicrobial for food safety and on developing a novel biologically-derived bioseparations platform.
David Silberstein
dzsilberstein@ucdavis.edu

David earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering with a biomolecular focus from UCLA in 2012. He then worked as a validation engineer for PSC Biotech in Los Angeles before joining the McDonald group, completing projects at Baxter Bioscience and Neutrogena Corporation. His current research is in optimizing the expression and purification of a human therapeutic protein, Alpha-1-antitrypsin, using a transient expression system in Nicotiana benthamiana.
Sara Sukenik
scsukenik@ucdavis.edu

Sara received her B.S.E. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Princeton University. Prior to joining the McDonald lab, Sara worked at Merck & Co., performing viral vaccine process development research. In her graduate research, she is developing a platform for rapid production of novel therapeutic proteins using transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana plant cell suspension cultures.
Yongao (Mary) Xiong
yxiong@ucdavis.edu

Mary joins McDonald group as a Ph.D student after finishing her undergraduate study in chemical engineering at University of Washington. Her current research is focused on transient expression of a Fc-fusion bioscavenger (CMG2-Fc) in Nicotiana Benthamiana whole-plant through agrobacterium vacuum infiltration, and the effects of N-glycosylation on protein properties. She also studies protein-protein interaction utilizing real-time label-free techniques (Surface plasmon resonance and biolayer interferometry) to quantitatively characterize bioscavenger’s binding kinetics and affinity against its target.

Undergraduate Students

Benjamin Chang
blchang@ucdavis.edu

Ben is a chemical engineering undergraduate student at UC Davis. He started in the lab in September 2016 and his undergraduate research focuses on the purification process of butyrylcholinesterase from rice cell lines.
Vuthithorn (In) Chinthammit
vchinthammit@ucdavis.edu

In is a Biotechnology undergraduate student at UC Davis. He was awarded the Best Senior Design Award in Biochemical Engineering Design in June 2017. He interned at DuPont Industrial Biosciences in Palo Alto as an Intern Researcher before joining the McDonald group. He started working in the lab in September 2017 and currently studying the effect of pH on cell-associated rBChE production in shake flasks.
Jesse Delzio
jmdelzio@ucdavis.edu

Jesse is a Chemical Engineering undergraduate student at UC Davis. He started in the lab in July 2017 and is currently researching drug purification through the functionalization of viral coat proteins to bind drugs for simpler and more efficient isolation under the mentorship of Matt McNulty.
Jacqueline Kelly
jgkelly@ucdavis.edu

Jacqueline is a Biochemical Engineering undergraduate student at UC Davis. She started working in the lab in September 2017 and is researching using Nicotiana benthamiana in plant cell cultures to produce proteins.
Kostyantyn (Stan) Luferov
kluferov@ucdavis.edu

Stan is a Pharmaceutical Chemistry & Biochemical Engineering undergraduate student at UC Davis. He started in the lab in October 2017 and is currently working with Vuthithorn Chinthammit on Techno-Economic Analysis for development of IBK animal vaccine. He is also working on alternatives to cryopreservation of plant cells while keep it viable using rice calli.

Former Lab Members

NameFormer PositionThesis/Dissertation TitleCurrent Position
Lucas ArzolaPost-doctoral Scholar + Graduate Student (PhD)Transient Expression of Recombinant Therapeutic Proteins and Vaccines Using Agroinfiltration in Nicotiana benthamianaDirector of Operations
Puerto Rico Science and Technology Trust
Parallel18 Program
Jose Antonio Rocha-ValadezPost-doctoral ScholarBayer CropScience
West Sacramento, CA
Remi ShihPost-doctoral Scholar
Salem AlkanaimishGraduate Student (PhD)Bioprocess Engineering Approaches for Production and Purification of Recombinant Plant Made Human ButyrylcholinesteraseAssistant Professor
University of Kuwait
Elizabeth AnthonyGraduate Student (PhD)Evaluation of Agrobacteria-mediated Transient Expression of Cell Wall Degrading Enzymes as a Biological Pretreatment Process for Cellulosic Biofuel ProductionDirector of Grid Policy
Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies
Sacramento, CA
Shivaun ArcherGraduate Student (PhD)Effect of Light on the Production of Sulfolipids from CyanobacteriaJohn and Jent Swanson Senior Lecturer
Biomedical Engineering
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY
Nishant BhatiaGraduate Student (PhD)Ribosome Inactivating Proteins from Trichosanthes kirilowii CulturesDirector, Technology and Business Development
Advent Engineering Services
Ching I. ChenGraduate Student (PhD)Analysis and Modelling for the Oscillatory Behavior of Saccharomyces Cerevisia in a Continuous Bioreactor SystemDirector, Process Development and Manufacturing
Tocagen, Inc.
San Diego, CA
Michael CooneyGraduate Student (PhD)Multivariable, Dynamic Model Development for Pure Continuous Cultures of E. Coli and C. UtilisAssociate Researcher
Hawaii Natural Energy Institute
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Honolulu, Hawaii
Seher DagdevirenGraduate Student (MS)Sulfolipid Production from the Cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 in Fed-Batch PhotobioreactorsQC Supervisor
Baxter International
Corey DodgeGraduate Student (PhD)Production of Recombinant Human Gelatin in Transgenic Rice Cell CulturesSenior Staff Scientist
Verenium/BASF
San Diego, CA
Sifti Duhra-GillGraduate Student (MS)Transient Expression of an Anthrax Decoy Fusion Protein in Nicotiana benthamianaTBD
Iftikar GoharGraduate Student (MS)Numerical Simulation of Natural Convection in Liquid Semiconductor Metals in Modified Bridgman FurnaceVan den Bergh Foods
Columbia, Maryland
Annette HagewiescheGraduate Student (MS)Plan IISenior Engineer
Recovery Sciences
Genentech, Inc.
South San Francisco, CA
Bryce HashimotoGraduate Student (MS)Development of a Transgenic Rice Cell Line for Production of Butyrylcholinesterase: A Protective Bioscavenger against SarinSandia National Laboratories
Kansas City, MO
Ting-Kuo HuangGraduate Student (PhD)Development of Plant Cell Suspension Cultures as a Bioproduction Platform of Recombinant Human Therapeutic ProteinsSenior Engineer
Genentech
South San Francisco
SangKyu JungGraduate Student (PhD)Agrobacterium-Mediated Transient Expression of Plant Cell Wall Degrading Enzymes in Detached Sunflower LeavesAssistant Professor, Biochemical Engineering
Hongik University
Korea
Nathaniel KingsburyGraduate Student (PhD)Selective Recovery from the Interstitial Spaces of Nicotiana speciesSenior Engineer, Late Stage Development
Kite Pharma
Santa Monica, CA
Yen KoGraduate Student (MS)Cyanobacteria Photoproduction in a Stirred ReactorUnknown
Rajesh KrishnanGraduate Student (PhD)The Expression, Localization and Characterization of Recombinant Trichosanthin, a Type I Ribosome-Inactivating Protein, in Transgenic TobaccoDirector, Biologics Process Development
Gilead Sciences
Oceanside, CA
Ingrid LethGraduate Student (PhD)Production of Agrobacterium tumefaciens for Large-Scale Transient Expression of Recombinant Proteins in PlantsScientist I
CBR International
Boulder, CO
Ben LindenmuthGraduate Student (PhD)In Planta Expression of Heterologous Cell Wall-Degrading EnzymesDrug Substance Tech Lead
Bayer Healthcare
Berkeley, CA
Michael LucasGraduate Student (MS)Production Manager
ConAgra Foods
Christine OwlettGraduate Student (MS)Therapeutics from Plant Cell Suspension CulturesDeceased
Sinyoung ParkGraduate Student (PhD)Mammalian Cell Respiration and O2 /CO 2 Transfer in High-density Perfusion Culture with Microsparge Oxygenation and On-line Mass SpectrometryClinical Research Coordinator
Breast Oncology
Stanford University
Stanford, CA
Kirti PatelGraduate Student (MS)Plan IIPresident and CEO
Executive Board Director
Eppendorf, Inc.
Michael PleshaGraduate Student (PhD)Development of a Viral Amplicon-Based Process for Production of Biopharmaceuticals in Plant TissuesPrincipal Scientist, Pilot Plant Lead
Bayer CropScience
Sacramento, CA
Kittipong RattanapornGraduate Student (PhD)Quantitative RNA Analysis and Roles of Viral RNA Silencing Suppressors in Transient Therapeutic Protein Production in Plant Tissues using a Viral Amplicon-Based SystemAssociate Dean for International Relations
Lecturer, Department of Biotechnology
Faculty of Agro-Industry
Kasetsart University
Bangkok, Thailand
Melody (Trexler) SchmidtGraduate Student (PhD)A Cyclical Semi-Continuous Process for Production of Heterologous Proteins in Metabolically Regulated Plant Cell Suspension CulturesSenior Scientist, Recovery Sciences
Genentech, Inc.
South San Francisco, CA
Masaru ShiratoriGraduate Student (PhD)Studies of a TMV-Based Expression Vector in Plant Cell CulturesSenior Engineer
Genentech, Inc.
South San Francisco, CA
John ThorupGraduate Student (MS)Purification and Identification of Ribosome Inactivating Proteins from Plant Cell Cultures of Trichosanthes KirilowiiSenior Manager, Process Development
Amgen
Thousand Oaks, CA
Tiffany TuGraduate Student (MS)Scale-up Simulation of Cellulase Enzymes Production for Biofuel Application: Fungal, Transgenic, and Transient Production of Cellulase EnzymesEngineer
Lumileds
Milpitas, CA
James WongGraduate Student (PhD)Classification of Process Trends Based on Fuzzified Symbolic Representation and Hidden Markov ModelsSenior Software Developer
OSIsoft
San Leandro, CA
Qing XieGraduate Student (MS)Recombinant Alpha-1-Antitrypsin Production in Transgenic Tobacco CellsBiocatalytic
South San Francisco, CA
Greg YoungGraduate Student (PhD)Thermal and Stress Analysis of Single Crystal Growth in a Horizontal Bridgman FurnaceEmeritus Professor and Department Chair, Chemical Engineering Department
San Jose State University
San Jose, CA
Liz ZapalacGraduate Student (MS)Purification of Alpha-1-Antitrypsin using a Three-Step Chromatography Process - Factors Effecting Dynamic Binding Capacity, Production Rate and CostsSenior Plant Engineer
Bayer Corporation
Berkeley, CA
Alexandra Ramirez CelisVisiting Scholar
Oscar A. Ortega-RiveraVisiting Scholar

Former undergraduate researchers:

Karen has supervised the following students in undergraduate research projects (ECH199, PUFF program, NSF REU, MORE program, McNair Scholars program, NSF LURE, NSF CREATE-REU, UCD GREAT etc.)

An asterisk (*) indicates that the student went on to graduate school

Mark Johnson*, Darrell Lewis-Sandy, Sara Stokes, Monica Gomes, Richard Cheung, Caroline Crispino, Tuyen Do, Yvette Mangaladin, Anh Nguyen, Mondana Panymanian, Eunice Tan*, Ruth Chan (MORE), Arlene Adela, James Fred Johnson*, Michelle Bishop*, Rachael Balog, Dave Reichmuth*, Casey Bunker*, Cynthia Buenviaje*, Michael Costello, Nicole Dennis, Richard St. John*, Tracy Horsfield, Yea-Lian Huang, Linda Leong, Khan Nguyen, Katrina Meehan, David Mills*, Phuong Anh Nguyen, Bill Ristenpart* (PUFF), James Corpuz, Chris Humphrey, Michael Stoner*, Devin Eselius, Danielle Coutts, Shaelyn Hurst (McNair Scholar), Ruth Chan, Christine Owlett*, Shane Hall, Annie Chou (MORE), Megumi Noguchi, Tammy Adamson (LURE), Phillip Tuet, Jolie Wu, Mark Sanford, Andrew Tung, Diemchi Nguyen, Jennifer Mikovich, Jeff Luk*, Ming-Wai Chen, Debby Kolbeck, Sandra VanDusen, Kali Campbell, Jennifer Chen, Lo-Ming (Alison) Hong*, David Trombly*, Javier Lacayo, Nathan Parker, Drew Erlich, (Vista) Li, Tammy Chan,  Fareed Rudy Mohammed, Quyen Truong*, Kaushal Parikh*, Stacey Cox*, Michael Cheung, Marisa Harano* (MORE), Yanto Yanto*, Javier Cardenas*, Sinath Prom*, Randy Cross, Yevgeniya Mulina, Jeremy Lee*, Joel Thomas*, Jeffrey Upton, Marissa Roush, Yuchen Gu, Christian Millsop, Helena Keller* (Michigan Technological University) Li Qian (Grace) Bai, Allen Reed, Dane Emmerson, Debika Mitra* (CREATE-REU, Georgia Tech), Anh (Annie) Tran, Junxing (Cici) Chen, Huang (Sunny) Yan, Anna Iris Correa Muler (CREATE-REU, University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez), Derrick Hicks* (Integrated Studies Honors Thesis, PUF award), Alexandra Moskaluk * (BioChE Honors Thesis, UC Davis Veterinary School), Thuy Thanh Le*, Jacob Partlow, George Correra, Jerrine Wong, Kaylee Thatcher, Jack Morel, Darwin Constantino, Vincent Reyes, Katie Mains (BioChE Honors), Mathew (Peter) Kedzierski (BioChE Honors), Anthony Tsai * (UC Irvine), Ben Chang (ChE Honors), Zachary Kyser, Aaron Hwong, Kevin Tom (BioChE Honors), Jessie Delzio (BioChE Honors), Jacqueline Kelly, Vuthithorn Chinthammit.