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Saskia Neher

Principal Investigator

 

I attended college at the University of Oregon where I worked in Dr. Diane Hawley’s lab. During graduate school I worked in Tania Baker’s lab at MIT using proteomic methods to study substrate selection by the ClpXP protease. During my postdoc in Peter Walter’s lab at UCSF, I studied SRP-dependent protein targeting. While there, I started a new project aimed at understanding how interacting factors affect the folding and activity of a group of mammalian lipases.

My lab continues these studies at UNC Chapel Hill. I am an associate professor in Biochemistry and Biophysics. I am a member of the McAllister Heart Institute, the Nutrition and Obesity Research Center, and the graduate program in Cell Biology.

 

Current Lab Members

 

     

Ming Jing Wu

Lab Manager

 

Kathryn Gunn

Postdoctoral Researcher

 

Nikea Pittman

Postdoctoral Researcher

Ming earned her undergraduate degree from National Chung Shing University. She has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from North Carolina State University. Ming has extensive experience working in Biochemistry labs. In her spare time she performs with a dance troupe.

 

 

 

Kathryn joined the Neher lab in 2017 and since then has solved the structure of a helical lipoprotein lipase oligomer using cryo-electron microscopy. She has also done extensive work characterizing the inhibitors of lipoprotein lipase using both kinetics and small-angle X-ray scattering. Kathryn is an American Heart Association postdoctoral fellow and has received the UNC award for Postdoctoral Research Excellence. She received her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Northwestern University where she worked in Alfonso Mondragon’s lab creating a single-molecule technique to study topoisomerases. Nikea received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Science from the University of Florida and joined the Neher lab in 2019, where she investigates E. coli resistance to reactive chlorine species. As an NIH K12 IRACDA Fellow, she also leads undergraduate courses in Biology at North Carolina A&T State University.  Other pet projects/passions include: Black In Microbiology Week (BiM) and Scientists Promoting Anti-Racist Conversations and Equity (SPACE).

Anna Wheless

Graduate Student

Uriel Luccene Jean-Baptiste

Graduate Student

Najla Ward-Conyers

Undergraduate Researcher

Anna earned her B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology from the University of Houston – Downtown in May 2019. As an undergraduate, she participated in research on pedestrian infrastructure, ecology, and microbiology. She joined the lab in April 2020 and is studying the inhibition of lipoprotein lipase by ANGPTL4. Uriel earned his B.S in Biochemistry from the Florida State University in May 2018. He participated in an NIH funded PREP program (STAR-PREP) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore where he studied in the lab of Alex Poulopoulos. In the Neher lab, Uriel is studying the mechanisms and  kinetics of endothelial lipase (EL) inhibition by ANGPTL3. In his free time, Uriel enjoys exercising, specifically playing soccer. Najla is a senior biology major at UNC. She has been in the Neher lab since January 2020, and she researches the role of the Rcl genes in E. coli and if they have a role in metronidazole resistance. She is interested in public health and has plans to go to medical school in the future.

Alexander Grdzelishvili

Undergraduate Researcher

Alexis Campbell

Undergraduate Researcher

Ava Windener

Undergraduate Work-Study Student

Alex is a junior majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. Alex joined the Neher lab in 2021 and will be studying the inhibition of ANGPTL3 by heparin and chondroitin sulfate polyanions. In his free time, Alex enjoys playing volleyball and running. Alexis is a senior majoring in biochemistry. She enjoys doing photography and painting in her free time.

 

Casey Frye

Undergraduate Work-Study Student

Kareem Ei-Houshy

Undergraduate Work-Study Student

 

 

Lab Alumni

 

Ben Roberts

Graduate Student

Chelsea Yang

Technician

 

Ben completed his Ph.D. in the Neher lab studying LPL trafficking and LPL’s partner Lmf1 in May 2021. He is continuing his training at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, MD. Chelsea investigated the physiological regulation of LPL, specializing in microscopy and image analysis. She started on a Ph.D. in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program at UNC in fall 2021.

 

Jake Wrobel

Technician

Jacob Goodman

Undergraduate Researcher

Aspen Gutgsell

Graduate Student

Jake completed his undergraduate degree in Biology in December 2020 and started medical school here at UNC in July 2021. In the Neher lab, he studied the structure and function of RclB and its role in redox reactions in E. coli.

 

Jacob completed his undergraduate degree in Chemistry in May 2021. While in the Neher lab, Jacob worked with Anna to create an expression system for nanobodies targeting ANGPTL4.

 

Aspen completed her Ph.D. in the Neher Lab studying ANGPTL4 in March 2020. She went on to a post-doctoral research position with Astra-Zeneca in Sweden.

Colyn Anne Martin

Undergraduate Work-Study Student

Nate Campbell

Undergraduate Researcher

Cari Koerner

Graduate Student

Nate worked with Aspen to study the mechanisms of LPL inhibition by ANGPTL4. Cari completed her M.S. in 2019 and began a degree in genetic counseling at UNC Greensboro.

Ellie Pearson

Undergraduate Researcher

Lin Cao

Undergraduate Researcher

Lindsey Broadwell

Undergraduate Researcher

Ellie completed her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering in May 2018. She moved on to a career in engineering in the Triangle after graduation.

 

Lin completed her undergraduate degree in May 2018. In September 2018, she began medical school at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.

 

Lindsey completed her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at UNC in May 2016. In August 2016 she started graduate school in Biochemistry at UC Boulder.

Cassandra Hayne

Graduate Student

Mike Lafferty

Technician

Brian Eglinger

Undergraduate Researcher

Cassandra earned her B.S. in Biology from the University of Iowa in 2011 before coming to UNC. She studied the ways in which LPL structure regulates its function. She moved on to a post-doctoral position at NIEHS in October 2017, and was named an ASBMB MOSAIC Scholar in 2021.   Mike worked extensively on purifying and characterizing LPL variants and LPL inhibitors. In August 2016 he started graduate school in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program at UNC. He is currently working toward a Ph.D. in bioinformatics and computational biology.   Brian worked on methods of purifying truncated LPL and ANGPTL4.
   
   

Daniel Gehle

Undergraduate Researcher

 

Kristen Brantley

Undergraduate Researcher

 

Melissa Babilonia-Rosa

Graduate Student

Daniel studied LPL inhibitors for two semesters of undergraduate research. After completing his bachelor’s degree, he started medical school at Medical University of South Carolina.   Kristen joined when the lab first started and worked here for three years. After graduating, she went on to start a Ph.D. in Epidemiology at Harvard University.   Melissa completed her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics in May 2016 studying the role of lipase maturation factor 1 in the maturation of lipoprotein lipase. She now has a teaching post-doctoral position at North Carolina State University.