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.

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.

Denisse Jimenez

Undergraduate Student

Denisse is from Los Angeles, CA and is an undergraduate working on getting her B.S. in Biochemistry at SDSU and is graduating in December 2021. She joined Swairjo lab in Spring 2021 and is currently working on the purification and crystallization of DpdC, one of the genes found in Salmonella Montevideo, together with Emily. In her free time she loves to travel and go to the beach.

Emily Zahn-Schmitz

Undergraduate Student

Emily is from San Diego, CA and joined the Swairjo Lab in Summer 2021. She plans to graduate in December 2021 with her Bachelors in Biochemistry and Criminal Justice. Her current research interests include the purification and crystallization of DpdC, one of the genes found in Salmonella Montevideo, with Denisse. In her free time, she enjoys reading about true crime and hanging out with her dogs.

Matt Willis

Undergraduate Student

Matt is from San Diego, CA and is interested in determining protein structures via crystallization and X-ray diffraction. He has worked at Genomatica for the last 2.5 years, a company focused on developing sustainable biological processes for production of basic chemicals and chemical intermediates. In his free time, Matt enjoys golf, bowling, music production and cooking.

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 in December 2021. His research interests are protein crystallography and lab support. In his free time Quinton enjoys fish keeping, travelling and playing video games.

Rose Abdal

Undergraduate Student

Rose is from San Diego, CA and is currently working on her B.S. in Biochemistry at SDSU. She is working and licensed as a pharmacy technician, with hopes of apply to pharmacy school after graduating in Spring 2022. She hasn’t started any projects yet, but has been interested in x-ray crystallography after observing and reading through Dr. Swairjo’s research page. Some of her non-science hobbies include working out, binge watching TV shows, and exploring hidden San Diego restaurants and cafes. 

Kaleb Matlock

Undergraduate Student

Kaleb is from Villa Park, California and current interested in any and all research experience. He spends most of his leisure time hanging out with his puppy Chili and reading books. Currently, he has his NREMT certification and works as an ERT for Scripps Hospital. Kaleb joined Swairjo lab in Fall 2021 and plans to graduate in Spring 2022.

Sakshi Pradhan

Undergraduate Student

Sakshi is an undergraduate at SDSU from Nagpur, India. She joined Swairjo Lab in Fall 2021, with plans to graduate in Spring 2022. Currently she has her Associate’s degree in Biology and Natural Science. Sakshi is a well organized and punctual individual, who enjoys dancing in her free time.

Mariami Kuljanishvili

Undergraduate Student

Mariami is an undergraduate student working on her Bachelor’s in Biochemistry at SDSU. She is from Tbilisi, Georgia and joined Swairjo lab in Fall 2021. Her current interests in the lab include RNA modification and synthesis, as well as learning more about different lab techniques. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, drawing and hanging out with friends.

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