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Shaun McKinnie

2004 - 2008           B.Sc. in Biochemistry (Honors) - University of Alberta

2010 - 2015           Ph.D. Organic Chemistry - University of Alberta (with Prof. John C. Vederas)

2016 - 2019           Postdoctoral Scholar - Scripps Institution of Oceanography,

                                 University of California, San Diego (with Prof. Bradley S. Moore)

2019 - present      Assistant Professor - University of California, Santa Cruz

Jackson Baumgartner

PhD student 

Hometown: San Luis Obispo, California

Degrees: Biochemistry B.S. and History B.A. - Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

                 Chemistry M.S. - San Francisco State University (with Prof. Misty Kuhn)

Program: PBSE, CB3 track

About Jackson: enjoys nature walks, baking bread, and tinkering; believes spontaneous puns are the height of human achievement

Email: jabaumga [at]

Jennifer Cordoza

PhD student

Hometown: Murrieta, California

Degree: Biochemistry B.Sc - Point Loma Nazarene University (with Prof. Katherine Maloney)

Program: PBSE, CB3 track

About Jenny: enjoys being outside, strategy games, and going to museums; aspires to learn something every day.

Email: jcordoza [at]

Austin Hopiavuori

PhD student

Hometown: Rochester, New York

Degree: Biochemistry B.Sc - University of Rochester

Program: PBSE, CB3 track

About Austin: enjoys tennis, playing various instruments, and digital music production; loves cold weather

Email: ahopiavu [at]


Radcliff Huffman

PhD student

Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Degrees: Allied Health, B.S. Minors in Biology and Biochemistry - Manhattan College, New York City

Program: PBSE, CB3 track

About Radcliff: enjoys swimming, olympic weight lifting, and playing the violin, still doesn't understand why he can't see when he closes his eyes

Email: trhuffma [at]


Lia Lozano Salazar

PhD student 

Hometown: San Diego, California

Degree: Chemistry B. Sc. - Point Loma Nazarene University (with Prof. Katherine Maloney)

Program: Chemistry Ph.D. track

About Lia: I enjoy open-ocean swimming, running, and rowing as well as doing the NYT crossword puzzle

Email: llozanos [at]


Manasi Natu

Junior specialist

Hometown: Folsom, California

Degree: Chemistry B.S. - University of California, Santa Cruz

About Manasi: enjoys reading and playing video games with friends. Big fan of cats and overly sugary coffee.

Email: mnatu [at]

Mel Jones

Undergraduate researcher

Hometown: San Jose, California

Major: Biochemistry major, politics minor

About Mel: enjoys playing the violin, writing poetry, PC gaming, traveling, and learning new things about mathematics, biology, chemistry, and philosophy! They are a social activist in their spare time for access to healthcare and housing as a human right.

Gabriel Lefebre

Undergraduate researcher

Hometown: Oakland, California

Major: Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology

About Gabe: enjoys cooking, spending time with animals and nature, looking under a microscope (someday an electron one too!) and wants to relearn the trombone.

Meron Mesgun

Undergraduate researcher

Hometown: San Francisco, California

Major: Chemistry B.S. with a Biochemistry concentration

About Meron: enjoys summertime and adventuring with friends. Loves to explore new things, especially trying new foods!

Lukas Varga

Undergraduate researcher

Hometown: San Leandro, California

Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics minor

About Lukas: enjoys playing the cello, the occasional jog, and spending time with family and friends; is invested in expanding his biological and chemical repertoire, and discovering fields of interest!

Lab Alumni

Graduate students

Karina Campos Salazar - MSc volunteer researcher - 2021 - 2022

Visiting researchers

Alondra Maranon Rodriguez - summer ACCESS undergraduate student (Hartnell) - 2022

Linnea Blaustein - summer ACCESS undergraduate student (Cabrillo) - 2021 - 2022

Hanna Fleming - summer undergraduate researcher (UC Los Angeles) - 2021

Undergraduate students

Amelia Smyth - undergraduate researcher - 2020 - 2022

Griffin May - undergraduate researcher - 2019 - 2021

Mehrzad Mohaddess - undergraduate researcher - 2019 - 2021

Ethan Bales-Dagemjian - undergraduate researcher - 2019 - 2021

Joshua Marquez - undergraduate researcher - 2019 - 2021

Mano Ranaweera - undergraduate researcher - 2019 - 2020

Elise Rogotzke - undergraduate researcher - 2019 - 2020

Rotation students

Jason Guerrero - PBSE CB3 rotation student - 2023

Robert Shepherd - UCSC chemistry rotation student - 2023

Olivia Matsumoto-Elliott - PBSE CB3 rotation student - 2022

Adam Lentz - PBSE METX rotation student - 2022

Sarah Levy - UCSC chemistry rotation student - 2022

Leila Parker - UCSC chemistry rotation student - 2022

Addis Getahun - UCSC chemistry rotation student - 2022

Casey Heaney - PBSE CB3 rotation student - 2021 - 2022

Allyson McAtamney - UCSC chemistry rotation student - 2021

Zhilian Liu - UCSC chemistry rotation student - 2021

Panpan Zhang - PBSE CB3 rotation student - 2021

Cristobal Morfin - PBSE CB3 rotation student - 2021

We are looking for students and postdocs with interests in organic chemistry, natural products chemistry, protein biochemistry, and molecular biology to join us!


Click here for more information!

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