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research group activities

Rabi A. Musah, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
Director: Center for Achievement, Retention and Student Success (CARSS)
Postdoc: The Scripps Research Institute
Ph.D.: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville


Current Lab Members

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Justine Giffen

Ph.D. Student
B.S.: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2012) 

Justine is a Ph.D.  student working on the development of methods that exploit ambient ionization mass spectrometric techniques for the resolution of challenges in forensic entomology. Few of the major advancements in analytical chemistry have been exploited to enhance the field of forensic entomology, and Justine's work is changing that. The methods she is developing also have application in the analysis and detection of mind altering substances.  Justine has presented her research at the American Society for Mass Spectrometry Annual Meetings in 2016 and 2017. She recently published a paper in Analytical Chemistry entitled “Species Identification of Necrophagous Insect Eggs Based on Amino Acid Profile Differences Revealed by Direct Analysis in Real Time-High Resolution Mass Spectrometry.” This paper was selected as an ACS Editors' Choicean honor reserved for articles that feature research that “exemplifies the [American Chemical Society's] commitment to improving people's lives through the transforming power of chemistry.

TIANYU He

Ph.D. Student
B.S.:  Shanghai Normal University (2012)

Tianyu is a Ph.D. student currently working on developing novel materials that have potential to be used in both energy storage and cancer therapeutics.  These materials are based on amino acid scaffolds into which have been introduced unnatural substituents. He has presented his work at the 2016 Graduate Student Research Symposium (GSRS) at SUNY Buffalo (entitled “Synthesis and Biological Effects of Novel Biocompatible Agents for Boron Neutron Capture Therapy”), and at the 8th Annual Life Science Research Symposium at University at Albany (entitled “Integration of Boron Clusters into Biological Scaffolds for The Development of Anti-tumor Agents”). He was also the recipient of a travel award for the 2016 GSRS. Currently, he is preparing a manuscript featuring the self-assembly behavior of the novel materials.


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KRISTEN FOWBLE

Ph.D. Student
B.S.: University of New Haven (2014)

Kristen is a Ph.D. student the focus of whose work is on development of novel ambient ionization mass spectrometric techniques that can be used for small molecule imaging of samples of forensic relevance.  Nevertheless, the methods she is developing have broad application in numerous fields including medical diagnostics, agriculture and environmental chemistry. Kristen was a co-author on the recent Analytical Chemistry paper "Development of “Laser Ablation Direct Analysis in Real Time Imaging” Mass Spectrometry: Application to Spatial Distribution Mapping of Metabolites Along the Biosynthetic Cascade Leading to Synthesis of Atropine and Scopolamine in Plant Tissue." She has recently presented her work at the American Society for Mass Spectrometry Annual 2017 Conference.

cameron longo

Ph.D. Student
B.S.:  SUNY Buffalo (2015)

Cameron is a Ph.D. student whose primary focus is on the detection and mapping of diagnostic biomarkers and their metabolites—such as those indicative of contact with and use of psychoactive substances. This has application in both forensic and medical contexts as a means of determining potential sources of impairment while providing a definitive link between an individual and said materials. Cameron was a co-author on the Analytical Chemistry paper “Species Identification of Necrophagous Insect Eggs Based on Amino Acid Profile Differences Revealed by Direct Analysis in Real Time-High Resolution Mass Spectrometry.” This paper was selected as an ACS Editors' Choicean honor reserved for articles that feature research that “exemplifies the [American Chemical Society's] commitment to improving people's lives through the transforming power of chemistry.


Meghan Fogerty

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Ph.D. Student
M.S.: University of New Haven (2016)
B.S.: Le Moyne College (2014)

Meghan is a Ph.D. student whose research focuses on the identification of forensically relevant plant materials using ambient ionization mass spectrometric techniques. Currently, she is working on the identification of “legal high” plant material using Direct Analysis Real Time Mass-Spectrometry (DART-MS). She is also developing pioneering methods that can be used by law enforcement to identify illegally trafficked materials such as endangered woods.

ALLIX COON

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Undergraduate Student
B.S.: SUNY Albany (expected 2018)

Allix is an undergraduate honors student majoring in both chemistry and mathematics. Her work has focused on using mass spectrometric techniques to identify and classify condom lubricants with the aim of developing methods that can be applied to cases of sexual assault. She is also investigating aspects of how forensically relevant blow flies find, and colonize corpses. She has presented her research at several conferences including the: (1) 2nd Annual University at Albany Undergraduate Symposium of Chemistry Research; (2) University at Albany Undergraduate Research Symposium in Biology; (3) University at Albany Annual Undergraduate Research Conference; and (4) Eastern New York ACS Undergraduate Research Symposium. She received the Best Presentation Award for her talk entitled “Cops and Rubbers: Development of a Forensic Database of Condom Lubricants Using DART-MS” at the 2nd Annual University at Albany Undergraduate Symposium of Chemistry Research.


PAST LAB MEMBERS

ASHTON LESIAK

Ph.D.: SUNY Albany (2016)
B.S.: Converse College (2011)

Ashton is a Ph.D. grauate whose research project focused on detection and identification of legal alternatives to illicit drugs. The abuse of these substances has reached epidemic proportions and there are few efficient methods available for their analysis and definitive identification. To date, she is co-author on 13 publications featuring advancements in the application of direct analysis in real time mass spectrometry (DART-MS) to detection of mind altering substances. She has also received awards for her work, including the Carol de Forest Student Research Grant from NEAFS (2015) and the Eastern Analytical Symposium Graduate Student Research Award (2015). Most recently, Ashton is completing a post doc at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

MAX MARON

M.S.: SUNY Albany (2015)
B.S.: SUNY Albany (2013)

Max was a researcher in the Musah Lab and his area of study included reaction mechanisms at the protein-nucleic acid interface. He also worked on the analysis of plant volatiles in Mimosa pudica and was co-author on the Plant Physiology article "Mechanosensitivity Below Ground: Touch-Sensitive Smell-Producing Roots in the "Shy Plant," Mimosa pudica L."  Max is currently a research assistant in Stephen Harrison's Laboratory of Structural Cell Biology at Harvard.