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.
Nitish Kunte, M.S.
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
Current Project: 1. Design and synthesis of a new peptide nanoparticle that is biochemically similar to the mammalian cell membrane.
2. Using a new combinatorial system of lasers and nanoparticles to deliver 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. I enjoy the multidisciplinary nature of my projects and getting to explore combinatorial delivery methods.
Favorite cell type: Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Hobbies: Baking, crochet, and Dungeons&Dragons
Current Project: BAPC-mRNA stimulated melanogenesis and cellular uptake mechanisms and intracellular trafficking of BAPCs-DNA complexes.
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 type: Neutrophils
Hobbies: Drumming, Basketball, Drawing, Snowboarding, Relaxing at the Lake
Current Project: Synthesizing branched peptides with covalently attached fluorophores
Why he joined the lab?: I joined the group because I was interested in applications of peptide chemistry and found the challenge of synthesizing and testing the properties of nanoparticles to be exciting.
Favorite cell type: Dendritic cells
Hobbies: In my free time, I like to run, read, and watch TV series.
Current Project: Biodistribution of BAPCs in mice models
Why he joined the lab?: I joined the lab to learn new research skills. This lab will give me many opportunities to improve my understanding of nanoparticles and immunology.
Favorite cell type: Red blood cells
Hobbies: Biking and playing with my dog
Previous Lab Members