Dr. Manal A. Swairjo

Principal Investigator

Manal obtained her B.Sc. in Physics and Mathematics at Kuwait University in 1988 and her Ph.D. in Cellular Biophysics from Boston University in 1996 under the mentorship of crystallographer Barbara Seaton. After a short postdoctoral traineeship in the pharmaceutical industry, Manal moved to San Diego in 1998 where she held a Senior Research Scientist position in the group of Paul Schimmel at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA. She then joined the faculty of Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA as an Assistant Professor in 2010 where she established her research group before moving in 2015 to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at San Diego State University as an Associate Professor. In her free time, Manal enjoys reading, gardening and swimming a mile a day!​

Dr. Shr-Hau Hung

Postdoctoral Fellow

Shr-Hau is from Taiwan, a beautiful island in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.  Shr-Hau obtained his B.Sc. in Microbiology from Soochow University in Taipei and M.Sc. in marine environmental chemistry and ecology from National Taiwan Ocean University in Keelung. Afterward, Shr-Hau received a scholarship from the Taiwanese government and came to San Diego pursuing his Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology at SDSU/UCSD under the supervision of Drs. Anca Segall and Forest Rohwer. After completion of his Ph.D. degree and an internship at Illumina, Inc, he joined the Swairjo group in October 2019. His research interests at SDSU involve the tRNA modification enzymes and phage biology. In his free time, Shr-Hau enjoys playing clarinet and guitar.

Naduni Paranagama

Doctoral Student

Naduni is from Sri Lanka, a little island off the Indian ocean. She obtained her M.Chem in Biological and Medicinal Chemistry in 2014 from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK where she learned about surface functionalization of silicon nanoparticles for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Afterwards, she worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the National Cancer Institute of Sri Lanka for a brief period, before joining Swairjo Lab in 2015. She is currently a UCSD-SDSU Joint doctoral candidate and her research interests at SDSU involves structural and functional characterization of tRNA modification enzymes. In her free time, Naduni enjoys cooking, gardening and exploring new places.​

Catherine Pinion

Masters Student

Cassi is from Oklahoma. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Dartmouth College. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Mechanical Engineering at SDSU. Her Masters project includes working in the Swairjo lab on the Art Robbins Robot. She also works as a Medical Device Engineer for a spine company in Carlsbad. When she’s not at school or at work, she enjoys reading, going to the beach, and listening to podcasts.

Sana Alkuzweny

Undergraduate Student – Research Assistant

Sana is from San Diego, CA. She is an undergraduate at SDSU currently getting her B. S. in Biochemistry. She joined Swairjo lab in Spring 2019 and her interests in the lab include lab support, X-ray crystallography, protein purification and RNA purification. For fun, she likes to play video games.

Eric Hellie

Undergraduate Student

Eric is from Oceanside, California. After transferring to SDSU from Palomar College, he is set to graduate in December 2019 with a B.S. in Chemistry along with a minor in Mathematics. His research interests in Swairjo Lab involve protein crystallography and computational modeling related to tRNA modifications. In his free time, Eric enjoys cooking, hiking, and playing video games.

Albert Susanto 

Undergraduate Student

Albert Susanto is from volcanic island of Java, Indonesia. He is an undergrad pursuing a B.S in Biochemistry, and has been working in Swairjo lab since January 2019. His research topic primarily focuses on tRNA modification enzyme in archaea and bacteria. For his hobby, Albert enjoys trying out new restaurants and cuisines. ​

Ayesha Haque

Undergraduate Student

Ayesha is an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Biochemistry at San Diego State University. She previously worked at the Huntington’s Disease Clinical Research Center under Dr. Jody Corey-Bloom as an undergraduate research assistant. Ayesha joined the lab in February of 2017. Her research at SDSU involves GTP Cyclohydrolase I enzyme which plays an important role in the biosynthesis of folate. In addition to her academic interests, Ayesha enjoys photography. ​

Matthew Honberger

Undergraduate Student

Matthew is an undergraduate working on his Bachelors in Biology with a minor in Chemistry at SDSU. He grew up in Roseville, CA near Sacramento. He joined Swairjo lab in 2019 and is currently studying the Archaeosine (G+) biosynthesis pathway, a fundamentally important tRNA modification. Outside of the lab, he enjoys playing volleyball for the SDSU Men’s club team.

Inès Mellah

Undergraduate Student

Inès is a 4th year Biochemistry student following the pre-medical track. She moved from Paris, France to San Diego in 2016 to attend San Diego State University, from where she will be graduating in 2020. She joined Swairjo lab in September 2019. In her free time, Inès enjoys shopping, singing and trying out new restaurants.

Areeba Paracha

Undergraduate Student

Areeba is currently junior B.S Biology undergraduate student transferred from Saddleback College. She came from Qatar to US to study. She achieved the IB diploma in Qatar and participated in several symposiums, while in Saddleback College, presenting her independent research. After transferring to SDSU she joined the Swairjo lab group in October 2019. Her research interests at SDSU is to purify proteins. In her free time, Areeba enjoys reading and watching her favorite TV shows.​

Quinton Minh

Undergraduate Student

Quinton is a third-year biochemistry undergraduate from San Diego, California. He started working in the lab in Spring 2020, and plans to graduate within the next 2 years. His research interests are protein crystallography and lab support. In his free time Quinton enjoys fish keeping, travelling and playing video games.

Katrina Mogannam

Undergraduate Student

Katrina was born in Orange County, California, and is currently a third-year undergraduate student at SDSU who joined Swairjo lab in 2020. She is studying for her B.S. in Biochemistry with minors in Leadership and Honors Interdisciplinary Studies. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering locally and going to the beach.

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