Principal Investigator

Prof. Michael J. Knapp
B.S. Biochemistry and Cell Biology, UC San Diego
PhD Chemistry, UC San Diego
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Berkeley
Associate Professor of Chemistry, with research interests in hypoxia sensing, SERS, and oxidation chemistry. He leads a multidisciplinary group working to manipulate the hypoxia response by activating or inhibiting the HIF hydroxylases, and develop new sensors with surface-enhanced Raman.

Group Members

Dr. Philip Shivokevich, Visiting Assistant Professor


Michael Mingroni



Isabella Jaen-Maisonet

Owen Kuklinski


Ran Duan

Dr. Vanessa Chaplin
B.S. Forensic Science and Biology, Bay Path College (2012)
Ph.D. Chemistry (2018)
“Role of the Facial Triad in Factor Inhibiting HIF-1α (FIH): Ligand Binding, Substrate Selectivity, and Coupling”
Nayana Thimmiah
B.S. Biochemistry (2018) Honors Thesis: “Utilizing alternate substrates of Factor Inhibiting Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1α (FIH) to analyze enzyme reactivity”

Alex Barbato
B.S. Chemistry (2017)
Honors Thesis:
“An Alternate Substrate of Factor Inhibiting HIF-1α (FIH) for Bioorthogonal Labeling of Proteins”

Michael McKeon
B.S. Chemical Engineering (2017)
Honors Thesis:
“Engineering Alternate Radical Rebound in Factor Inhibiting  through Random Site Saturated Mutagenesis”

Dr. Cristina Martin
Ph.D. Chemistry (2015) “Kinetic and Dynamic Insights into the Substrate Interactions and Catalysis of Factor Inhibiting HIF-1 (FIH-1)”

Alex Eisenbeis
B.S. Keene State
M.S. Adv. Molecular Biology (2015)
“Cell penetrating fusions for delivery of FIH”


Dr. Cornelius Taabazuing
B.S. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UMass Amherst
Destination: New York
Ph.D. Chemistry (2014) “Inhibition and Cofactor Targeting of Hypoxia-Sensing Enzymes”


Dr. John Hangasky
B.S. Forensic Science, University of New Haven
Destination: UC Berkeley
Ph.D. Chemistry (2014) “Factor Inhibiting HIF’s (FIH) structure controls O2 activation and reactivity”


Dr. Serap Pektas
B.S. Chemistry, Cumhuriyet Üniversity
Ph.D. Chemistry (2013) “O2 activation and allosteric Zn(II) binding on HIF-prolyl hydroxylase-2 (PHD2)”


Dr. Shannon Coates-Flagg
B.S. Biochemistry (2005), UNLV
Current: Sr Scientist/Manager & Analytical Team Lead
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Ph.D. Chemistry (2011) “Selective inhibition and mechanistic studies of the human O2 sensor, prolyl hydroxylase domain 2 (PHD2)”


Dr. Evren Saban
B.S. (2005), Bogazici University, Istanbul
Destination: TUBITAK MRC Institute of Chemical Technologies
Ph.D. (2011) “Controlled oxygen activation in human oxygen sensor FIH”


Breanne Holmes
B.S. Chemistry (2008), University of Rochester
Destination: Environmental Sciences & Engineering, UNC Chapel Hill
M.S. Chemistry (2011) “Selective Inhibition Studies of Factor Inhibiting HIF (FIH)”


Dr. Yuan-Han (Robert) Chen
Destination: University of Buffalo
Ph.D. MCB (2009) “The active site chemistry of factor inhibiting HIF-1, coordination, bonding, and reaction”


Dr. Adrienne Gilbert
B.S. Chemistry (2003) Purdue
Ph.D. Chemistry (2009) “Intermolecular electron transfer reactivity and dynamics of cytochrome c – nanoparticle adducts”


Dr. Meaghan Germain
B.A. Chemistry (2003) Saint Anselm College
Destination: Tufts University
Ph.D. Chemistry (2008) “Detection of chemical explosives with Zn(Salicylaldimine) complexes: mechanism and applications”


Dr. Halil Bayraktar
B.S. Bogazici University, Istanbul
Destination: Harvard University
Ph.D. Chemistry (2008) “Interface of protein-nanoparticle hybrid structures and self-assembly of nanoparticles”


Meaghan Valliere
B.S. Chemistry (2014) Honors Thesis
Destination: UCLA Biochemistry


Tyler O’Neil
B.S. Biology (2013) Honors Thesis: “Substrate Triggering of HIF-Prolyl Hydroxylase Connects Substrate Binding to Catalysis”
Destination: St. George’s University Medical


Kate Liedell
B.S. Chemistry (2013) Honors Thesis: “Water Exchange Kinetics in Factor Inhibiting Hypoxia Inducing Factor”
Destination: UMass School of Education; Needham High


Geoff Ivison
B.A. Biochemistry of Human Health, Hampshire College (2012) Division III project “Investigating the Mechanism of an Intracellular Oxygen Sensing Enzyme”
Destination: Biocurious; Stanford Immunology


Jaqueline Dorhout
B.S. Chemistry (2012) Honors Thesis: “Synthesis of Potential Inhibitors of FIH Fe2+ Active Site”
Destination: Los Alamos National Lab, UNLV Radiochemistry


Lindsay Comeaux Schnarr
B.S. Chemistry, UC Santa Cruz
Destination: Master of Architecture Program at UMass Amherst; Architectural Designer at Steffian Bradley Architects


Tom Vargo
B.S. Chemistry (2006) Honors Thesis
Destination: University of Pittsburgh Senior Scientist at AbbVie

Todd Ratazcjak
B.S. Chemistry (2006) Honors Thesis
Destination: UNC Chapel Hill; Senior Analytical Engineer at Yokogawa