Jose Omar Castellon
Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology
joseomar805 [at] gmail [dot] com
A loyal Californian, Jose is from Oxnard, California, obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from California State University, Channel Islands and a Master’s degree in Biochemistry from California State University, Los Angeles. He is currently a graduate student in the Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology (BBSB) home area under the Molecular Biology Interdisciplinary Program (MBIDP). Jose is interested in applying his background in biophysics and protein folding to the field of chemical biology with a particular interest in inhibitor and probe discovery.
Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics
eyang27 [at] ucla [dot] edu
Southern Californian born and bred, Emily obtained her B.S. in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics here at UCLA. As an undergraduate, Emily studied the host-seeking behavior of parasitic nematodes. She loved the school so much that she decided to stay and is currently a first year MBIDP rotation student in the Immunity, Microbes, and Molecular Pathogenesis home area. Emily is excited to learn a bit of chemistry during her time in the Backus lab and combine her interests in virology and proteomics. In her ever-so-abundant free time, Emily enjoys reading, cooking, eating, and sleeping.
Staff Research Associates
Staff Research Associate
bhillpayne [at] mednet [dot] ucla [dot] edu
Originally from New Jersey, Brie received her B.A. in Chemistry from Fairleigh Dickinson University where she performed research synthesizing tetraphenylporphyrin and its metal complexes. She ventured west for grad school where she obtained her M.S in Chemistry at the University of California, Davis. A chemical biologist at heart, Brie's thesis work focused on the development of an indocyanine green derivative targeting nanotherapeutics for fluorescence imaging and photodynamic therapy. After completing her M.S., she spent time at The Dow Chemical Company performing polymer chemistry. Brie is excited to return to the west coast and to chemical biology research.
samneubuerger [at] ucla [dot] edu
Sam is originally from Harbor City, California, and grew up in Sacramento. He is currently studying biochemistry at UCLA. Sam is passionate about human health and is excited to pursue graduate studies in medicine and biology.
kygtran [at] gmail [dot] com
Ky is a second-year biochemistry major from Oakland, California. She grew up in Vietnam, and her family immigrated to the United States when she was 16 years old. She is interested in studying organic chemistry because she likes synthesizing new materials. After college, Ky plans to pursue higher education in either graduate school or pharmacy school. In her spare time, she loves to dance and play basketball.
Marina is a third year biochemistry major and biomedical research minor. She grew up in Egypt, and wants to pursue a career in the medical field. She is excited about learning the underlying biological pathways of diseases, that will enable her to understand the causes of diseases and hopefully discover new drugs. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, traveling and trying new food
Postdoctoral Research Associates
mfpalafox [at] g [dot] ucla [dot] edu
A true Texan, Maria grew up in El Paso, Texas and attended the University of Texas at Austin where she studied nutritional science and conducted research connecting gene regulation to lifestyle choices. Maria is passionate about health and biology and is excited to apply the tools of chemical biology to understanding how nature's biological machinery, proteins, interact with and manipulate cellular chemistry. Outside of lab, Maria enjoys mountain biking, cooking, and taking her rabbit to the beach.
Gene Regulation, Epigenomics, and Transcriptomics (GREaT)
gread [at] ucla [dot] edu
Originally from Kanata, Ontario in the snowy Canadian north, Graham has arrived in sunny California via New Jersey and Maryland. As an undergraduate at Princeton, Graham majored in Molecular Biology and conducted research that combined activity based protein profiling and virology. As an NIH Postbac IRTA fellow, he worked in the Radiation Oncology Branch of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland from 2015-2017 studying tumour metabolism, DNA damage repair, and 3D culturing methods. In his spare time, Graham likes baking, playing trumpet, and birdwatching.