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.​

Evan Wood

Doctoral Student

Evan is from Camarillo, a suburb in southern California. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Oregon. During the last two years as an undergraduate he worked with Dr. Scott Hansen where he utilized TIRF microscopy to characterize proteins involved in phosphatidylinositol phosphate lipid synthesis. Afterwards he worked in the formulation department at Coherus Biosciences for a year before joining the Swairjo Lab in Fall of 2020. In his free time, Evan enjoys surfing, fishing, and reading.

Ana Kutchuashvili

Masters Student

Ana is from Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia (country). She obtained her bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University Georgia in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry, where her education was fully funded by Millenium Challenge Corporation. While doing her bachelor’s degree, her main research focus was organic synthesis and analysis. Ana was involved in molecular biology and microbiology externship at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research branch located in Georgia. After graduating from SDSU Georgia, she got a scholarship from Georgian government to continue her studies at San Diego State University main campus where she joined Swairjo Lab in Fall 2020. In her free time she enjoys traveling, watching movies and going to the beach.

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.

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.

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.

Jacqueline Morris

Undergraduate Student

Jacqueline Morris is from a small town on Long Island in New York. Her new life on the West Coast began in August 2017 at San Diego State University. She is now a 4th-year undergraduate seeking a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, and is expecting to graduate in Spring 2021. Jackie joined Swairjo’s lab in Fall 2020. In her free time, she loves to travel and meet new people.

Harold Betanco

Undergraduate Student

Harold Betanco is from the small city Hesperia, CA. He is an undergraduate senior at San Diego State University, and a major in Biochemistry. He is currently working in Dr. Swairjo’s lab, and joined in Fall 2020. Harold enjoys watching films & playing video games in his free time. He plans on graduating in Spring 2020.

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