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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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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 Appley

Ph.D. Student - NIJ Fellow
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 wood species.

 
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ALLIX COON

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

Allix is a Ph.D. student who is continuing her studies in the Musah Lab after graduating with a B.S. from SUNY Albany. Her undergraduate work focused on the development of mass spectrometric techniques for the analysis of sexual assault evidence. She also conducted research on of how forensically relevant blow flies find and colonize corpses. Her graduate research focuses on the application of mass spectrometry towards the development of new disease detection systems.

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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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Monica Ventura

Ph.D. Student
B.S.: University of New Haven (2018)

Monica is a Ph.D. student whose research focuses on the application of mass spectrometric techniques to the field of forensic entomology.

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, 2017 and 2018. 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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Mark Katz

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

Mark is an undergraduate student currently working on the determination of the environmental fate of organosulfur compounds produced by plants through investigation of the kinetics of their gas-phase reactions when exposed to atmospheric oxidizing agents such as hydroxyl in the presence of catalysts such as water and formic acid. In addition, he is currently working on the synthesis and purification of various thiosulfinate compounds for use in experiments on gas-phase reactions with environmentally relevant free radicals such as hydroxyl, Cl and NOx species.

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Jessica Hayes

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

 
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Parandaman Arathala, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher
Ph.D.: Indian Institute of Technology Madras Chennai (2016)

Dr. Arathala is a postdoctoral researcher whose research interest is to study the atmospheric gas phase reactions using experimental, analytical and high-level computational methods. He received his Ph.D in combustion studies of model biofuels, hydrochloroethers and alkyl silanes using single pulse shock tube and computational methods from Indian Institute of Technology Madras in Chennai, India in 2016 and then he did postdoctoral research at University of California San Diego in the field of atmospheric chemistry. He is currently working on the determination of the environmental fate of volatile organosulfur and other compounds emitted by plants through investigation of the kinetics of their gas-phase reactions when exposed to atmospheric oxidizing agents such as hydroxyl, Cl and NOx species. In addition to performing these studies by FT-IR, he will also work on the development of platforms that interface with the JEOL AccuTOF™ Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART®) mass spectrometer to: (1) conduct DART-HRMS analysis of VOSCs under ambient conditions in air, and (2) study the kinetics of VOSC interactions with relevant free radicals. He will also perform high level computational studies on the kinetics of relevant reactions.

SAMIRA BEYRAMYSOLTAN, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher
Ph.D.: Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences (2014)

Dr. Beyramysoltan is a postdoctoral 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 postdoctoral 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

Graduate Students

Kristen Fowble

Ph.D.: SUNY Albany (2019)
B.S.: University of New Haven (2014)

Kristen is a Ph.D. graduate who worked on the development of novel ambient ionization mass spectrometric techniques that can be used for small molecule imaging of samples of forensic relevance. She was the recipient of a prestigious National Institute of Justice Graduate Research Fellowship. Kristen is currently a post-doc at the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory in Quantico.

Tianyu He

Ph.D.: SUNY Albany (2018)
B.S.: Shanghai Normal University (2012)

Tianyu is a Ph.D. graduate who worked on the development of novel materials that have the potential to be used for energy storage and cancer therapeutics. These materials are based on amino acid scaffolds with unnatural substituents introduced. His work has been published in several journals including Analytical Chemistry. He is currently a post-doc at the University of Minnesota.

ASHTON LESIAK

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

Ashton is a Ph.D. graduate whose research project focused on detection and identification of legal alternatives to illicit drugs. 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. Ashton completed a post-doc at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and is currently a controlled substance analyst at the Virginia Department of Forensic Science.

Max Maron

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

Max is a Master’s graduate whose 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.

Undergraduate Students

  • Nana-Hawwa Abdul-Rahman (2019)

  • Peter Kutchukian (2002)

  • Amma Agyemang (2002)