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Group members

Maureen QuinMaureen Quin, Research Assistant Professor

mbquin@umn.edu

Maureen is a Research Assistant Professor in the Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics department. Her research focuses on designing and creating new supramolecular complexes as scaffolding systems for nanobiotechnology and biocatalytic processes. She uses a combination of synthetic biology, bioinformatics, protein engineering, microscopy and structural biology to explore how different protein architectures can be assembled in vivo and in vitro. Maureen also develops approaches to target enzymes to the protein scaffolds, to understand the effect of spatial organization on multi-enzyme biocatalytic cascade efficiency.


Francois Gaascht, Postdoctoral Researcher

fgaascht@umn.edu

Francois obtained his BSc and MSc at the University of Strasbourg (France) and completed his PhD at the Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire du Cancer (Luxembourg) in the framework of the European RedCat Project. As Marie Curie Fellow, his research project focused on the discovery and the elucidation of the mode of action of several natural and natural-based products as anticancer drugs. After acquisition of new skills in natural products isolation and structure elucidation at the Fundacíon MEDINA (Granada, Spain), he joined the Schmidt-Dannert lab in October 2016 as Postdoctoral Research Associate. His research project aims to screen and isolate new antifungal compounds from Basidiomycota.


Sun-young Kang, Postdoctoral Researcher

kang0326@umn.edu

Sun-young Kang (SUN) is a Postdoctoral Research Associate who joined the Schmidt-Dannert lab in March 2018. She received her Ph.D. in Pharmacy at the Chungbuk National University (Korea). Also, she worked as a graduate research assistant at the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (Korea). Her research focuses on increasing the secretion of scaffold protein fabricated by  bacterial host. She is also interested in a synthetic biology approach for optimizing a biological system for the biosynthesis of natural products.


Seung-Oh Seo, Postdoctoral Researcher

seos@umn.edu

Seung-Oh Seo (SOS) is a Postdoctoral Research Associate who joined the Schmidt-Dannert lab in June 2017. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His current research focus is developing a synthetic biology platform strain with the cutting-edge genome engineering tools for production of biochemical and biomaterial. He is also interested in metabolic engineering with a spatial organization of biocatalyst to improve the yield of product such as natural products.


Guoqiang ZhangGuoqiang Zhang, Postdoctoral Researcher

zhan4874@umn.edu

Guoqiang is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar working in the Schmidt-Dannert lab. He received his B.S. in Biotechnology at Shandong University, China and his PhD in Biochemical and Molecular Biology at Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.  He joined the Schmidt-Dannert lab in November 2015. His research focuses on developing supramolecular systems which efficiently and economically co-localize biocatalysts either by compartmentalization or scaffolding. He is also interested in introducing the versatile platform into biosynthesis of different natural products.


Ben HansonBen Hanson, Graduate Student

hans5090@umn.edu

Ben is a graduate student in the BMBB program. He earned his B.A. in Chemistry from Skidmore College in New York State, and joined Claudia's lab in April 2015. Currently, he is working on assembling and analyzing the genomes of Lactarius mushrooms in order to determine the location of isoprenoid biosynthesis genes. This knowledge will be used to reconstitute genes in heterologous hosts and biochemically characterize pathways. Many isoprenoids have potential applications in pharmaceuticals or as industrially important natural products.


Kelly Wallin, Graduate Student

walli241@umn.edu

Kelly is a graduate student in the BMBB program. She received B.S. degrees in Biochemistry and Botany from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and joined the Schmidt-Dannert lab in February 2016. Her research focuses on utilizing bacterial microcompartments for biotechnology applications, including the development of more efficient methods for biocatalysis. She also works with a local middle school Girl Scout troop.


Cody Hou, Undergraduate

Cody is an undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in German. His interest for potential metabolites and pharmaceuticals in fungi led him to work in the Schmidt-Dannert lab in investigating new natural products from secondary metabolites produced by Basidiomycota. In his free time, Cody enjoys watching Japanese TV and reading books in German, and his favorite fungus is known as "wood ear."


Timothy Johnston, Undergraduate

Tim is an undergraduate student majoring in Microbiology and minoring in Public Health. He is currently working on characterizing the different properties to assist the rest of the team in developing self-assembling scaffolds for efficient catalysis. He hopes to apply the knowledge he learns from lab work in his classes and future careers. In his free time, he enjoys playing and listening to music. 


Sarah Schmidt-Dannert, Undergraduate

Sarah is a freshman undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry in the College of Biological Sciences. Her lab experience during summer 2017 initiated her interest in proteins that self-assemble into supramolecular architectures. She hopes to learn a lot and further fuel her interest in Biochemistry. In her free time she enjoys running, cooking, and spending time with family.