Lab Members

Principal Investigators

Karen McDonald, PhD
Biographical Sketch

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

Somen Nandi, PhD
Biographical Sketch

Adjunct Professor, Dept. Chemical Engineering
1035 Academic Surge
Office Phone: (916) 838-0918

Managing Director, Global Healthshare® Initiative
318A Life Sciences Building
Office Phone: (530) 752-3613

Visiting Scholars

Project Scientists


Graduate Students

Varun Gore

I did my undergrad (B. Tech) in Chemical engineering at Vellore Institute of Technology, India. My initial research was in pharmaceutical recovery from waste water streams. My next project was designing an ohmic heating system for pasteurization. Currently working in developing tech-economic analyses.
Katherine (Katie) Haddad (ELISA Queen)

Katie joins as a PhD student in the biomedical engineering graduate group after earning her B.S. in biomedical engineering from the University of Oklahoma. Her graduate work focuses on developing a platform for rapid production of plant-made biologics.
Anindya Karmaker

Anindya Karmaker is doing his PhD in Chemical Engineering. He earned his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree in Chemical Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. His research interest is plant based pharmaceutical production, bioprocess simulation, downstream processing, assay development, process automation and advanced cell culture techniques. His current research work involves upstream and downstream processing of bFGF and AAT proteins.
Lorenzo Rinarelli

Lorenzo is a Master degree student in Agro-food Biotechnology in Verona (IT). He earned his Bachelor degree in Biotechnology in Pavia (IT) and he works as a research student in Davis.
His previous experience mostly concerns plant biotechnology as he worked in molecular biology and protein purification of Zeaxanthin epoxidase.
Tressa Smalley

Tressa is a PhD student in the Biochemistry, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology graduate group at UC Davis. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Systems: Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at UC San Diego, and previously worked on harnessing microalgae for petroleum replacement products and recombinant protein production. Her current research focuses on utilizing the aquatic plant, duckweed, for recombinant protein production.
Shanice Taylor

Shanice is a PhD student in the Chemical Engineering department at the University of California, Davis. She earned her B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University, and has prior experience with bacterial synthetic biology. She worked as a pilot operations engineer at Edwards Lifesciences before returning to school. Her current research involves the purification of pharmaceuticals in transgenic plants within the scope of the CUBES II project.
Justin Wong

Justin is a PhD student in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of California, Davis. He earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University and worked as a bioprocess development engineer for Synlogic before returning to school. His current research focuses on using plant cell suspension cultures to produce cell cultured meat.

Undergraduate Students

Tanya Chettri

Tanya is an undergraduate majoring in biochemical engineering. Her current research is focused on optimizing protein production of transgenic rice cells. She is a recipient of the Susan F. Regan Prytanean Award from UC Davis in recognition of students who demonstrate leadership and community service in projects promoting the wellbeing of woman.
Mayrene Huynh

Mayrene Huynh is an undergraduate student at UC Davis majoring in Food Science and minoring in Tech Management. Her current research work focuses on microcarriers for the scale up of cultivated meat
Laura Ortiz Ortiz

First-year undergraduate Biochemical Engineer with interests in techno analysis and bioprocessing, hoping to apply in the production of pharmaceuticals and facilitating research through plant-based applications.
Saee Ranade

Saee Ranade is a second-year undergraduate student at UC Davis majoring in Biochemical Engineering
Amir Salehzadeh

Amir Salehzadeh is an undergraduate majoring in Biotechnology. He is interested in strain optimization and scaling synthetic biology with bioreactors.
Avani Sethi

Avani Sethi is an undergraduate student majoring in Medical and Molecular Microbiology at UC Davis and minoring in Computational Biology
Damian Teria

Damian Teria is a third year undergraduate biochemical engineer. His current research work involves microcarriers for cultivated meat scale up and walnut embryo bioprocessing.
Faris Alyami

Faris Alyami is an undergraduate student majoring in biochemical engineering with a keen passion for bioprocessing research. His primary interest lies in the field of protein engineering & expression systems.

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
Kalimuthu KaruppananPost-doctoral ScholarPost-doctoral Scholar
Oxford University, UK
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 Anthony GillGraduate Student (PhD)Evaluation of Agrobacteria-mediated Transient Expression of Cell Wall Degrading Enzymes as a Biological Pretreatment Process for Cellulosic Biofuel ProductionElectric Generation System Specialist at California Energy Commission, 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 in Microbiology)Analysis and Modelling for the Oscillatory Behavior of Saccharomyces Cerevisia in a Continuous Bioreactor SystemCurrently an Independent Consultant to Biotech Industry
Formerly Director, 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. UtilisTenured Researcher
Hawaii Natural Energy Institute
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Honolulu, Hawaii
Jasmine CorbinGraduate Student (PhD)Process Development for the Production of Recombinant Butyrylcholinesterase in Metabolically-Regulated, Transgenic Rice Cell Suspension CulturesScientist, Cell Culture Process Development
Allakos Inc
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 CulturesDirector, Upstream Process Development, Molecular Templates, Austin, TX
Sifti Duhra-GillGraduate Student (MS)Transient Expression of an Anthrax Decoy Fusion Protein in Nicotiana benthamianaTechnician II, California Air Resources Board, Sacramento, CA
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
South San Francisco
SangKyu JungGraduate Student (PhD)Agrobacterium-Mediated Transient Expression of Plant Cell Wall Degrading Enzymes in Detached Sunflower LeavesAssociate Professor,
Bio. and Chemical Engineering
Hongik University
Kirolos (Kiro) KeladaGraduate Student (MS)Techno-Economic Analysis and Probabilistic Risk Assessment of Intensely Sweet Protein Thaumatin Large-Scale BioproductionProcess Technology Intern
E. & J. Gallo Winery
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
Kantharakorn (Korn) MacharoenGraduate Student (PhD)Process Intensification and Scale-up of Metabolically Regulated Rice Cell Culture Bioreactors for Biopharmaceutical ApplicationsLecturer
KMUTT Thailand
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
David SilbersteinGraduate Student (PhD)Process Development and Characterization of Plant-Made, Oxidation Resistant, Recombinant Alpha-1 AntitrypsinScientist I
BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.
Sara SukenikGraduate Student (PhD)Transient Expression of an Anthrax Decoy Fusion Protein in Glycoengineered Plant Cell Suspension Cultures
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
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
Milpitas, CA
James WongGraduate Student (PhD)Classification of Process Trends Based on Fuzzified Symbolic Representation and Hidden Markov ModelsSenior Software Developer
San Leandro, CA
Qing XieGraduate Student (MS)Recombinant Alpha-1-Antitrypsin Production in Transgenic Tobacco CellsBiocatalytic
South San Francisco, CA
Yongao (Mary) XiongGraduate Student (PhD)Process Development and Characterization of Plant Recombinant Fc-Fusion TherapeuticsScientist I, Downstream Process Development
LakePharma, Inc.
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
Rupak Goswami, PhDVisiting Scholar
Hiroto HiranoVisiting Scholar
Pauline FamyVisiting Scholar
Oscar A. Ortega-RiveraVisiting Scholar
Alexandra Ramirez CelisVisiting Scholar
Trenton SmithVisiting Scholar
Seongwon JungUndergraduate Student; Junior Specialist
Dylan EstradaUndergraduate Student
Olivia HartUndergraduate Student
Anika VarmaUndergraduate Student
Erik KnappGraduate Student (MS)
Matthew McNultyGraduate Student (PhD)Plant Molecular Pharming Techno-Economic and Virus-Based Nanomaterial Approaches to Limited Resource Recombinant Protein ManufacturingConsultant
Cambridge, MA
Brandon PizarroGraduate Student (MS)Techno-Economic Analysis of Domestic Industrial Scale Plant-Based Production of Resveratrol for Novel Biopolymer ApplicationPh.D Student at USC, Zeno Group
Patrick NegulescuGraduate Student (MS)Techno-Economic Analysis of Large-Scale Cultivated Meat Production

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, Min Du, Joshua McMillan, Garrett Barton, Kostyantyn (Stan) Luferov,