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RABI A. MUSAH, PH.D.

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

Through sound training in science and math, the quality of life of all the world’s citizens can be dramatically enhanced
— Rabi. A Musah

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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.

 

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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.

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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,” and recently authored a chapter in Methods in Molecular Biology titled, "Detection of Diagnostic Plant-Derived Psychoactive Biomarkers in Fingerprints by MALDI-SpiralTOF-Mass Spectrometry Imaging."

 
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MEGHAN FOGERTY

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.

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ALLIX COON

Ph.D. Student
B.S.: SUNY Albany (2018)

Allix was an undergraduate honors student majoring in both chemistry and mathematics, and who is now continuing her studies as a Ph.D. student in our lab. 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.

 
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MEGAN CHAMBERS

Ph.D. Student
B.S.: Hofstra University (2017)

Megan is a Ph.D. student whose work focuses on using mass spectrometric techniques to identify psychoactive materials in a variety of complex matrices, including plants and food products.

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AMY OSBORNE

Ph.D. Student
B.S.: University of New Haven (2015)

Amy is a Ph.D. student whose research focuses on ambient ionization mass spectrometric techniques applied to the field of forensic science. She is currently tackling challenges in forensic entomology as well as identifying and quantifying psychoactive plant material using Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry (DART-MS).

 
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NANA-HAWWA ABDUL-RAHMAN

Undergraduate Student
B.S.: SUNY Albany (expected 2019)

Nana-Hawwa is an undergraduate student who has been working on using mass spectrometric data in concert with chemometric processing techniques to identify psychoactive seeds at the species level. She has accomplished this by using multivariate statistical analysis techniques and has recently presented this work at the UAlbany Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Mark Katz

Undergraduate Student
B.S.: SUNY Albany (expected 2020)

 
 
 

Parandaman Arathala, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral researcher
Ph.D.: Indian Institute of Technology Madras Chennai

SAMIRA BEYRAMYSOLTAN, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral researcher
Ph.D.: Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences, Zanjan

Dr. Samira Beyramysoltan is a post-doctoral researcher whose realm of expertise is that of chemometrics and high-level statistical analysis. She earned her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry and chemometrics from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences in Zanjan, Iran in 2014 and has since had two other post-doctoral research positions at the Pasteur Institute of Iran and the Office of Food, Drugs, and Standards Qeshm. She is currently working with several graduate students in our lab to process mass spectrometric data using multivariate analysis techniques such as kernel discriminate analysis and self-organizing maps. The application of these techniques has allowed for high-accuracy classification of a number of sample types, including plants of abuse, condom residues, and necrophagous insect life stages, which all have significant implications for advances in the forensics field. 


PREVIOUS 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.