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Prof. Nicholas Stephanopoulos


Nick was born in Athens, Greece, but grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts. He obtained his A.B. in chemistry from Harvard University, followed by a one-year stint to earn a Master’s in chemical engineering at MIT. He then pursued doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley, working with Prof. Matthew Francis. His research focused on using site-specific bioconjugation chemistry to modify viral capsid nano-scaffolds, in order to create materials for energy, biomedicine, and nanotechnology. After earning his PhD in 2010, he went to Northwestern University for postdoctoral studies, supported by both NIH Ruth Kirschtein and International Institute for Nanotechnology fellowships, working with Prof. Samuel Stupp on self-assembling peptide nanomaterials and their applications to regenerative medicine.


At both Berkeley and Northwestern, Nick became interested in integrating proteins and peptides with DNA nanotechnology. In 2015, he began his independent career at Arizona State University, with a goal to merge these molecules into a new class of hybrid nanomaterials, with applications across a range of fields. In May 2021 he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in the School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics, and has affiliate appointments in Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, The Biomimicry Center, and the Global Security Initiative at ASU. Since coming to ASU, Nick has received the 2016 Air Force (AFOSR) Young Investigator Award, the 2018 Elsa U. Pardee Foundation Award for Cancer Research, the 2018 NSF CAREER Award, and the 2018 NIH New Innovator Award.

Research Assistant Professors


Dr. Minghui Liu


Minghui is from Wuhan, China. She received her bachelor's degree (2008) from Wuhan University, China and her doctorate degree (2013) from Arizona State University. Her previous research focused on DNA nanostructure-directed protein assembly, and currently she works on photo-actuation of DNA nanostructures, photo-switchable proteins, and DNA-protein hybrid nanostructures.



Dr. Yang Xu


Yang is from China and completed her Ph.D. Degree in Cell biology from the Peking Union Medical College in Beijing. She is especially interested in applying hybrid protein-DNA nanostructures, such as cages or fibers to cells, as well as incorporating unnatural amino acids into proteins for site-specific chemistry.


Graduate students


Md Al-Amin


Alamin is from Bangladesh where he received his Bachelor in Chemistry and Masters in Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry from the University of Dhaka. His research interest are the de novo synthesis of proteins from synthetic peptides via native chemical ligation with DNA-templated reactions. When Alamin is not in the lab, he loves traveling, watching English TV series, Cricket and Football (Soccer) and hanging out with friends.



Julio Bernal


Julio is originally from Brookfield CT, where he received his bachelor's degree in chemistry, with a biochemistry focus, from Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) in 2018. His research interests include the use of novel DNA-Protein technology for use in the medical field, such as drug delivery and regenerative medicine. In his free time, he likes to spend his time playing bass, going on hikes, and seeing live music.


Jonah Procyk


Jonah is from southern California and received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Arizona State University in 2018. Jonah is co-advised by Petr Sulc where his research interests center around coarse-grained molecular dynamics and applied machine learning methods for bioinformatics. In his free time, Jonah likes to read, exercise, and play videogames.


Skylar Henry


Skylar is from southern California and received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from University of California, Berkeley in 2019. Co-advised by Dr. Karen Anderson, her graduate research focuses on the biomedical applications of DNA nanostructures, particularly in the field of cancer immunology. Outside of lab, Skylar spends her time hiking, running, and eating Chinese food.


Alexandra Novacek


Ally (she/her/they/them) is from Phoenix, Arizona and received their American Chemical Society certified B.S. in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry at Northern Arizona University. Their research interests are DNA-protein hybrid nanostructures and DNA-peptide bioconjugates. In their free time, Ally is either painting, drawing, hiking, or creating posts for the instagram of ASU’s club GRADient.

Paul W pic.jpeg

Paul Workinger


Paul attended the University of Arizona from 2010-2014 as an undergraduate completing degrees in Molecular & Cellular Biology and Physiology, and from 2015-2017 as a Master's student in Cellular and Molecular Medicine. His previous research interests include gap junctions proteins, cardiovascular dysfunction, ALS, and most recently oncology and pathology. Paul is pursuing his PhD jointly through Caris Life Sciences and ASU, where he hope to advance our ability to detect and quantify tumor bio markers to select patients for the best possible treatment.


Abhay Prasad


Abhay is from India where he received master’s degree in organic chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT Kanpur) in 2019. Abhay is co-advised by Prof Hao Yan, where his research interests include the targeted delivery of DNA nanostructures for therapeutic applications, as well as DNA-templated protein synthesis using peptide fragments.


Rong Zheng


Rong is from China and received her B.S in Clinical Laboratory Medicine and M.S in cell biology from Central South University. Rong is co-advised by Prof. Hao Yan, and her research interests are diagnosing and treating viruses infection and cancer with tools from the DNA/peptide nanotechnology toolbox. In her free time, she likes hiking and playing fitness ring adventure.  


Xinyi Tu

Xinyi is from Wuhan, China. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology Science from Wuhan University in 2020. Co-advised by Dr. Hao Yan, her research interests include DNA nanostructures and their application in the biomedical field, especially for cancer treatment. In her free time, she likes reading and K-pop music.


Charitha Rajapakse

Charitha is from Sri Lanka, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of Colombo. Co-advised by Dr. Audrone Lapinaite, his graduate research focuses on DNA nanostructure-based delivery of precision genome editing tools into cells. In his free time, he likes to read, listen to music and try out new recipes.


Jonathan Chapman

Eva Chen

Justin Brower

Tejit Miryala

Simone Gohsman

Lab Alumni

Dr. Alex Buchberger (PhD student; currently at Nimble Therapeutics)

Dr. Tara MacCulloch (PhD student; currently at Palamedrix)

Dr. Raghu Pradeep Narayanan (PhD student; currently postdoc in the Douglas Lab (UCSF))

Dr. Nour Eddine Fahmi (Research Scientist)

Dr. Kirstie Swingle (advisors: Neal Woodbury, Alex Green)

Dr. Fallon Fumasi (advisor: Julianne Holloway)

Josh Mccluskey (Visiting scientist; Glover Lab, UNSW; Sydney Australia)

Ivana Visova (Visiting scientist; Lisalova Lab, FZU; Prague, Czech Republic)

Brittany Flores  (4+1 Master's program)

Omar Loza  (4+1 Master's program)

Ryan Merkley  (4+1 Master's program)

Ann-Marie Aziz  (4+1 Master's program)

Timothy Lee Griswold (4+1 Master's program)

Ilyssa Crawford (Undergraduate researcher)

Adam Akkad (Undergraduate researcher)

Tyler Rockwood (4+1 Master's program)

Matt Nam (Undergraduate researcher)

Broderick Moore (Undergraduate researcher)

Colton Seever (Undergraduate researcher)

Grant Severson (Undergraduate researcher)

Anna Hostal (Undergraduate researcher)

Leif Lindberg (Undergraduate researcher)

Yash Gamoth (Undergraduate researcher)

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