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Enver Cagri Izgu (Enver Çağrı İzgü)

Postdoc, Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, USA

Research: Replication of genetic information, Systems chemistry of protocells

Advisor: Dr. Jack W. Szostak

Ph.D., University of Minnesota, USA

Research: Total synthesis of alkaloids, synthetic method development, NMR spectroscopy

Advisor: Dr. Thomas R. Hoye

B.Sc., Middle East Technical University (METU), Turkiye

Research: Asymmetric Catalysis

Advisor: Dr. Ozdemir Dogan 

Honors and Awards

Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers University New Brunswick, USA

Full Member of Cancer Pharmacology Program, Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Faculty Member of Center for Lipid Research, Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Trailblazer Award, The National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

Institutional Research Grant Early Investigator Award, American Cancer Society

Interstellar Initiative Awardee, The New York Academy of Sciences and Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development

Arthur Klorfein Scholarship, Marine Biological Laboratory

Charles and Johanna Busch Biomedical Grant Award, Rutgers University

Young Scientist Award (National Scholarship Program), The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkiye

Highest Distinction, Ranked #1 in Chemistry, METU

Tushar Aggarwal


Graduate Student (ta384@scarletmail.rutgers.edu) 


M.Sc., IIT, Bombay

B.Sc., University of Delhi

Designer Functional Nucleic Acids

Polymerase Engineering

Redox Physiochemistry


Tushar earned his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from University of Delhi and Master’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India. At IIT-Bombay, he was trained in chemical biology and acquired substantial theoretical knowledge in biopolymers and mechanisms of in vitro transcription and reverse transcription. Besides his multidisciplinary Ph.D. studies, Tushar serves in the CCB Graduate Student Organization board.

Bryan Gutierrez


Graduate Student (bg434@scarletmail.rutgers.edu) 


B.Sc., Pacific Lutheran University

Artificial Cells and Membrane Chemistry

Redox Physiochemistry

Functional Small Molecules


Bryan earned his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University. He participated in the RISE program at Rutgers and was awarded a SUPER-Grad Fellowship, reserved for top RISE students who return to Rutgers. Bryan loves helping out people and he is the go-to person in the group. He has a special skill of walking long distances while only focusing on his cell phone.

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Kern Hast


Graduate Student (krh116@scarletmail.rutgers.edu) 


B.E., University of Florida

Designer Functional Nucleic Acids

Surface Functionalization and Biomaterials

DNA Computing


Kern obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida. He specialized in biomaterials, cell biology, and materials chemistry in his undergraduate research and then worked in industry as an engineer. Kern is a professional fencer, teaching fencing to youngsters. He fearlessly dives into complex problems in biotechnology and comes up with ideas to solve them. When the idea makes sense, he occasionally performs fencing moves.

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Melih Baci


Graduate Student (mb1941@scarletmail.rutgers.edu) 


Surface Functionalization, Biomaterials


Functional Small Molecules


M.Sc., Texas A & M University

B.Sc., Bilkent University

Melih obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Bilkent University, Turkey. In his first year of undergrad, he successfully competed in the International Chemistry Olympiad in London. He then moved to Texas A&M University and earned his Master's degree by studying metal-organic frameworks for capture and degradation of organic pollutants.

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Liming Wang

Graduate Student (lw641@scarletmail.rutgers.edu) 


Designer Aptamers, Ribozymes, and Biosensors

Artificial Cells

Functional Small Molecules


B.Sc., Peking University

Liming received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Peking University. During his undergraduate studies, he worked on allosteric inhibitor development and gained major skills in organic synthesis and in vitro enzyme kinetics.

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Zayna Bajwa

Undergraduate Student (zab25@scarletmail.rutgers.edu) 


Artificial Cells

Molecular Biology and Microbiology


Cell Biology and Neuroscience

Rutgers University


Zayna is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry of Microbial Systems at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. She is interested in studying neurodegenerative diseases and the protein chemistry underlying them. She enjoys learning about evolutionary chemistry and genetics. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing video games. She’s currently learning how to play the guitar.


Caitlin Yeung

Undergraduate Student (cy285@scarletmail.rutgers.edu) 


Protein Engineering and Enzyme Modification

Molecular Biology and Microbiology


Biochemistry of Microbial Systems

Rutgers University


Caitlin is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry of Microbial Systems at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. She has interests in infectious diseases, virology, and immunology and hopes to work in industry. She enjoys learning about new concepts and is determined to gain a new perspective on the applications of chemistry. She also draws portraits in her spare time. And friends describe her as being like a cat.

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Hakan Guven

Undergraduate Student (hg373@scarletmail.rutgers.edu) 


Membrane Chemistry

Functional Small Molecules



Rutgers University


Hakan is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with an emphasis on chemical biology at the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences. He is interested in synthetic organic chemistry and is fascinated with the interplay of biochemistry and physiology. During his senior year at Upper St. Clair High School, he was a finalist at the ACS 2021 US National Chemistry Olympiad. Outside of the lab, Hakan plays and teaches piano. He enjoys solving intricate puzzles and playing chess. His favorite season is winter, when he can go snowboarding with his friends.

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David Dejoz

Undergraduate Student (david.dejoz.diez@gmail.com) 


Designer Functional Nucleic Acids

Functional Small Molecules



University of Valencia


David is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry looking to learn about organic and bioorganic interactions. He is a visiting student from Valencia, Spain.  David plans to specialize in drug design and development for the greater benefit of public health. When he was at high school, he won the regional Chemistry Olympiads and qualified for the nationals. During his leisure time David enjoys climbing, paddle tennis, and photography.



Postdoctoral Fellows


Zhaojun (John) Jia


Ph.D., Peking University


Rhia Stone


Ph.D., The University of Queensland


Huseyin Erguven


Ph.D., McGill University


Graduate Students


Ruchi Yadav


M.Sc., IIT, Bombay


Undergraduate Students


Thaybeth I. Malavé Méndez

(RISE Fellow, Summer 2018)

B.Sc., Chemistry, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras


Dylan Schroeder


B.Sc., Environmental & Biological Sciences, Rutgers


Jiayu Zhang


B.Sc., Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Rutgers


Kyle White


B.Sc., Environmental & Biological Sciences, Rutgers


Emmanuel F. Rivera Iglesias

(RISE Fellow, Summer 2019)

B.Sc., Chemistry, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras


Bhavya Shah


B.Sc., Environmental & Biological Sciences, Rutgers


George Guanga 


B.Sc., Chemical & Biochemical Engineering, Rutgers


Camden De Sanctis


B.Sc., Biological Sciences



Sammy Hansali


B.Sc., Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Rutgers


Jonathan Hong


B.Sc., Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Rutgers


Tian You


B.Sc., Chemistry

Jilin University, China


High School Students


Anton Krotenok

(Summer 2018)

Woodbridge Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences

ACS Project SEED


Muhammad Sharaf

(Summer 2019)

Edison High School

ACS Project SEED


Mei Kim

(Summer 2022)

Edison High School

ACS Project SEED


Aisha Mansoor

(Summer 2019)

Franklin High School

ACS Project SEED


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