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: Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Capsules (BAPCs) as a Delivery System for mRNA vaccines

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 

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  


Undergraduate Students

Erin McGraw 

Biochemistry Major (Senior)


Current Project: Design and characterization of novel functional Peptides for therapeutic DNA delivery.

 Why she joined the lab?: I decided to join this lab because it seemed like the perfect interface of biology and chemistry.

Favorite cell type: Neurons 

Hobbies: Baking, Reading, Horseback Riding, and Playing the Ukulele. 

Sam Yarbrough

Biomedical Sciences Major (Senior)


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

Previous Lab Members

Jess Choi, lab technician 2017. Now Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.