Lab Members


Adriana Avila-Flores,PhD.

Principal Investigator

Ph.D. – Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS

M.S. – University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, SPAIN

B.Sc. – Autonomous University of Madrid, Madrid, SPAIN



I graduated from the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain with a M.S. in Organic Chemistry.  Afterwards, I worked two years for a Biotechnology company in Bilbao, Spain. In 2010, I joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Kansas State University to pursue my Ph.D. degree. My first postdoctoral experience was also at Kansas State University, in Dr. Gerald Reek’s laboratory. Then, in 2015, I joined Dr. Easley’s laboratory at Auburn University for a second postdoctoral experience before starting my tenure-track in Biological Sciences.


Sydney Bell

Lab Technician


Sydney joined Dr. Avila to assist in the advancement and development of her nano-particle research. Sydney provides the required technical support to enable the laboratory to function effectively. She's from Washington, D.C. and is studying molecular biology.  

Graduate Students

Nitish Kunte, M.S.

Ph.D. Student 


Current Project: 1. Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Capsules (BAPCs) as a delivery system for mRNA vaccines in murine model.

2. BAPCs mediated oral RNA interference in Popillia japonica.

Why he joined the lab?: Masters dissertation projects introduced me to the field of nanotechnology. This elevated my passion for nanomedicine and inspired me to work on non-toxic biomaterials for gene delivery.

Favorite cell type: Stem cells 

Hobbies: Traveling, Food, Music and Movies 

Erin McGraw 

Ph.D. Student


Current Project: 1. Design and synthesis of a new peptide-based nanoparticle that is biochemically similar to that of the mammalian cell membrane.

2. Design of a new system combining lasers and nanoparticles for delivery of small and large molecules through fungal cell walls.

Why she joined the lab?:  I joined this lab as an undergraduate and decided to continue with my graduate studies under Dr. Flores. My work in the lab combines many different areas of biology, chemistry, and physics, and I can absolutely say I'm getting the most out of my education. Nanomedicine is a quickly growing field, and I feel the Avila-Flores Research Group will help prepare me for my future career in drug design and delivery research.

Favorite cell type: S. cerevisiae 

Hobbies: Baking, Playing Ukulele, Morning Yoga, and Loving on her Pets

Bre'lda Riddick

Masters Student


Current Project: TBA 

Why she joined the lab?: I want pursue a career in pharmaceutical research . The Avila-Flores Research Group will provide the opportunity to  be part of  projects dealing with drug delivery. 

Favorite cell type:   Paramecium

Hobbies: "Do It Yourself" Projects and Cooking  


Sam Yarbrough

Masters Student


Current Project: BAPC-mRNA stimulated melanogenesis and cellular uptake mechanisms and intracellular trafficking of BAPCs-DNA complexes. theoreticananoparticle localization within in vitro cells.  

Why he joined the lab?:  I was intrigued by Dr. Avila-Flores projects involving transfection with peptide nano-particles. Also, I wanted to learn about the benefits of nanomedicine. 

Favorite cell typeNeutrophils 

Hobbies: Drumming, Basketball, Drawing, Snowboarding, Relaxing at the Lake

Jonathan Roberts

Masters Student

Current Projects: 1. Biodistribution of Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Capsules (BAPCs) in mice.

2. Uptake and intracellular trafficking of BAPCs in insect cells.

Why he joined the lab?:  I was intrigued by the Flores Lab's novel and medically relevant research in the field of nanotechnology and drug delivery. I hope to apply my learned skills and knowledge of nanotechnology in my future medical career.

Favorite cell typeIEC-18

Hobbies: Mountain Biking, Cooking, Knife Throwing

Undergraduate Students

Hannah Skipworth

Masters Student

Current Projects: Timing cellular uptake of nanoparticles as they permeate membrane and securely enter the cell. 

Why he joined the lab?:  The Avila-Flores lab performs innovative research and I saw an opportunity to increase my knowledge of research and combine my interests with my biological studies.

Favorite cell typeCHO Cells

Hobbies: Photography, Volunteering for Community Service, Adventurous Trips.

Martin Brown

Biomedical Sciences Major

Current Project: Investigating gene silencing in insect models, specifically moth cells 

Why he joined the lab?:  I joined the lab because I was looking for a hands-on experience that could help determine the career path I may want to explore after college. I am also interested in the work that Dr. Avila-Flores does involving nanoparticle delivery within cells which could lead to further developments in drug delivery involving cancer cells.

Favorite cell typeMemory B cells

Hobbies: Swimming, Coaching, Watching Sports on TV, Hanging Out with Friends

Sidney Bailey

Biomedical Sciences Major

Current Project: Determining the mechanism that plasmid DNA will use to enter the cellular nucleus by attempting to test for co-localization of fluorescent labeled DNA plasmids and immunostained nuclear importin proteins.

Why he joined the lab?:  I joined the lab after taking Dr. Flores’s Nanomedicine course. After being able to learn about all of the current and future potential benefits of using nanotechnology in the medical field and laboratory settings, I knew joining this lab was another step towards my overall goal of becoming a physician.

Favorite cell typeMemory B cells

Hobbies: Playing Golf, Playing Video Games, Watching Sports, Enjoying Time with Fellow Students and Colleagues.

Previous Lab Members

Jess Choi

Martin Brown

Drew Hoyt

Daniel Udochi