BIOCHEMISTRY STUDENT AMBASSADORS
Welcome to our biochemistry student ambassador web page! We are a group of students at Indiana University who would like to assist you by answering any questions you have about the Interdisciplinary Biochemistry Graduate Program and about living in Bloomington, Indiana. We invite you to join us at Indiana University-Bloomington and become part of our exciting program.
We look forward to hearing from you!
My name is Siobhan Deis and I am a fourth year in the Interdisciplinary Biochemistry Program. I received my BA in Biochemistry from DePauw University in Greencastle, IN. I currently work in the Dann lab in the Chemistry department. My project focuses on the transport of novel antifolates via folate receptors and the inhibition of purine synthesis enzymes via these same antifolates. Folate receptors are overexpressed on cancer and auto inflammatory cells, therefore specific transport by these receptors will eliminate chemotherapy side effects due to attack of healthy cells. We use protein crystallography, binding assays and kinetic assays in order to observe the interactions.
I have been really pleased with my experiences here at IU. The faculty is very engaged in their students work and always willing to help their own and other students. Also, Bloomington is a really fun town to live in. Downtown has many unique restaurants and places to shop all within walking distance of campus and the area is rich with state parks and lakes.
If you have any questions about the program or Bloomington, don’t hesitate to e-mail me at
My name is Alan Moore and I am entering my fourth year of graduate study in Biochemistry Program. In the Mukhopadhyay lab, we study Alphaviruses. My research involves appropriating Alphavirus components for in vitro assembled virus-like nanoparticles. We're interested in harnessing the potential of virus-like nanoparticles to package a number of non-viral materials, and to perform beneficial, rather than harmful functions inside a host. We are also interested in using these nanoparticles to better understand the Alphavirus lifecycle, and other enveloped RNA viruses in general. Only in our interdisciplinary, multi-collaborative environment can the cutting edges of biochemistry, molecular biology, virology, and nanotechnology meet at the same bench. I think IU is a great place to pursue your graduate work for this very reason. It also helps that we have top notch facilities, extremely friendly and helpful faculty and staff, and a non-competitive environment conducive to collaboration and success. Bloomington also offers the benefits of a small midwestern town with plenty of ways to get out and enjoy nature, while simultaneously providing all the culturally enriching aspects of a liberal arts college town. Do you like music? art? …basketball? There's no shortage of things to see and do here. If you have any questions about the program or life in Bloomington, feel free to shoot me an email at mooreala(at)indiana.edu.
Hi all. I am Vivekananda Kedage, a fourth year graduate student in the Biochemistry department. I received my BSc and MSc from India. After my graduation I taught Medical Biochemistry to first year medical and dental students in Manipal University, India for a while and then came to US to earn a PhD degree. I am currently working in Dr. Peter Hollenhorst’s lab. We are trying to understand how ETS transcription factors regulate gene expression using prostate cancer as a model system. This family of 28 transcription factors regulates gene expression by binding to similar DNA sequences consisting of core ‘GGA’ motif. However, individual ETS proteins have a variety of biological roles. In particular, four ETS family members can act as oncogenes in prostate cancer. My project aims at dissecting how these four oncogenic ETS factors have unique transcriptional activating functions not present in other ETS family members. To address this problem we apply chromatin immunoprecipitation/next generation sequencing (ChIP-Seq), cell migration, in vitro DNA binding, and reporter assays. As we all know, we are currently living in the genomics era and members of the Biochemistry department have access to an in house Next-gen sequencing facility consisting of Roche/454 GS-FLX Titanium system, Illumina-MiSeq, and Microarray system, which are often used by graduate students to do their research. In addition to good research facilities, IUB has provided a number of recreational facilities for students. For example, IUB has two indoor sports facility, Student Recreational Sports Center (SRSC) and Health, Physical Education and Recreational center (HPER). In addition, IU has one of the best music schools in US, which hosts several music events throughout the year. If you have more questions you can email me at vkedage(at)indiana.edu, I would be more than happy to answer your questions.
My name is Ali Ozes, and I am entering my fourth year of graduate school in the Interdisciplinary Biochemistry program here at IU. I received my BS from the University of California, Davis, in 2008. I am currently working in Dr. Kenneth Nephew’s lab on the mechanism of gene silencing by a long non-coding RNA called HOX antisense intergenic RNA, or more simply termed, ‘HOTAIR’. HOTAIR has been shown to interact with the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) and guide it to specific gene targets and silence them with the incorporation of epigenetic silencing marks. PRC2 is well known to tightly regulate the activation of developmental pathways by epigenetic mechanisms to subsequently drive the proliferative capacity of cells. A consequence of epigenetic disruption of development pathways is thought to be a crucial point in the establishment of many types of cancers and even possibly cancer stem cells. Our lab discovered that HOTAIR, along with a number of other long non-coding RNAs, is highly over-expressed in breast and ovarian cancers. We also use the outstanding facilities here at IU and collaborate with other labs to perform cutting edge research and use new technologies like RNA-seq, deep-seq and ChIP-seq to uncover pathways in a variety of cancer cell types. If you ever get tired of doing research, the town of Bloomington has a lot to offer! With a variety of things to explore such as art and food festivals, plays, ballets and excellent musical performances featuring the world-renowned IU orchestra, as well as the charming Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. The open-minded people of Bloomington give the town its wonderful atmosphere. If you have any additional questions about the program or just graduate life in general, or want to take me on in a game of ping pong, don’t hesitate to email me at arozes(at)indiana.edu.
Hello, my name is Ryan Over. I am in my fourth year in the Biochemistry Program. I earned my Bachelor's Degree from the University of Rochester in Biochemistry. Here at IU I have focused on the regulation of transcription in plants using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana in the lab of Dr. Scott Michaels. In particular, I am investigating the molecular control of flowering time. When to flower is one of the most important decisions to make in the life cycle of plants, so it is unsurprising that the decision process would be very complex involving many different factors. IU has a broad range of labs to choose from and many good facilities to assist in research. I have utilized many of these facilities and their knowledgeable staff to try a variety of approaches. Bloomington has also been a nice place to live because of all the events that happen in town and the nearby parks to explore. There really is something for just about anybody, whether sports, hiking areas, concerts or shows! If you have questions about the program, life in Bloomington or as a graduate student, or other random questions, then feel free to email me at rover(at)indiana.edu.
Hello! I'm Heidi Schindel. I am a third year graduate student and a member of the Bauer lab. I went to IU for undergraduate school as well, during which I studied biology and sociology. My project is focused on the RegA/RegB two-component regulatory system in R. capsulatus. These proteins are responsible for recognizing changes in the environment (particularly oxygen concentration) and controlling the switch between aerobic and anaerobic (photosynthetic!) growth in this metabolically versatile bacterium. I am currently utilizing ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq technologies to see the changes in gene expression that are controlled by the RegA transcription factor. I have lived in southern Indiana for my entire life and am very familiar with the area and all it has to offer. I enjoy traveling very much, and so far have backpacked throughout western and eastern Europe and studied German while in Austria. While I’m here planning more trips and studying biochemistry, the city of Bloomington continues to offer plenty of events and interesting activities to keep me thoroughly entertained. You can contact me at hsschind(at)indiana.edu if you have any questions!
Hi, I am Sundharraman Subramanaian and I prefer to be called Sundhar. I am entering my third year and I work in the Dann lab. I earned my B.Tech degree in Industrial Biotechnology from Sastra University, India. I worked as a project trainee in International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology before joining IU. I am working to understand the c-di-GMP signaling pathway in Bacillus subtilus. The main aim of my project is the biochemical characterization of the proteins involved in c-di-GMP metabolism. I will be using Isothermal Calorimetry and protein crystallization to study the proteins. The best thing about the program is that it satisfies every one’s need and has a lot of labs to choose from. The centralized facility gives access to a variety of high-end instruments, which is a huge advantage. Everyone in the department is ready to help whenever there is an issue. As an international student I find Bloomington to be a pleasant and calm town. There are lots of options in the campus and in the town to fulfill your needs. I like Bloomington very much because, it has a plenty of good restaurants in the town and they offer delicious food from different cuisines. If, you have any questions please contact me at: sunsubra(at)indiana.edu. It’s always better to ask instead of assuming!
My name is Allissa Haney and I am in my second year of graduate study in the Biochemistry program. I received my bachelor’s degree in Forensic Chemistry from Lake Superior State University in 2014. I have since joined the Kehoe Laboratory here at IU and we study the effects and response of light on cyanobacteria. My specific project looks at repair of ultraviolet light damage via photolyases in a marine Synechococcus strain. Photolyases are divided into two classes and each class repairs one type of dimer that is induced by exposure to UV light. Most organisms contain one of these proteins, however all high-light adapted cyanobacteria contain four photolyases. I am characterizing these proteins to help determine why there is a need for four photolyase genes. Our laboratory uses a variety of genetic and biochemical approaches to answer the questions we ask. I love that being a Biochemistry student I have still been able to join a predominately Microbiology lab. IU-Biochemistry department excels at being interdisciplinary when it comes to seeking and joining labs for graduate students. IU has many amazing facilities that are staffed with highly knowledgeable researchers that are always willing to train students. The faculty and upper level graduate students here are always enthusiastic to chat with students about an idea for your research, the best restaurants in town, or just how to survive in graduate school. If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask email me at amhaney(at)indiana.edu!