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Weather Update

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Timothy Palzkill Lab

Palzkill Lab Members

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Timothy Palzkill, Ph.D. - Principal Investigator

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Dr. Timothy Palzkill received his bachelor of science in biology from Creighton University and a Ph.D. in genetics from University of Iowa. He did his post-doctoral training at Stanford University before joining Baylor College of Medicine Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology in 1991. He has been the chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology since 2007.

His main research interest is understanding the molecular basis of beta-lactamase-mediated antibiotic resistance, developing Norovirus diagnostic tools and therapeutics, and studying molecular recognition in protein-protein interaction.

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Wanzhi Huang - Forever Lab Mom

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Wanzhi Huang worked at Palzkill Lab from the very beginning and helped Dr. Timothy Palzkill build the lab. She has helped all of the trainees and other scientists who have gone through the lab. After 27 years of service, she officially retired during September of 2020 but will always be a part of our lab.

She loves plants and swimming.

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Isabel Cristina Materon, Ph.D. - Research Associate

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Dr. Materon received her Bachelor of Science in Molecular & Cellular Biology from Texas A&M University magna cum laude and her PhD in Molecular Virology and Microbiology from Baylor College of Medicine.  She conducted her postdoctoral studies at Washington University in St. Louis, MO and then joined Gilead Sciences as a Research Scientist in Seattle, WA. After an extended career break, she is excited to rejoin the Palzkill Lab. Her principal research interests continue to revolve around the molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and understanding structure-function relationships.  Additional interests include the gut-brain axis. 

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Birgy Andre, Ph.D. - Visiting Scientist

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His work focuses on resistance to antibiotics, particularly to beta-lactams. He follows the epidemiology of beta-lactam resistance of Enterobacterales in the pediatric population and uses models such as the in vitro culture MBRA to better understand determinants responsible for colonization of resistant strains in the gut. At the protein level, he works to better understand molecular determinants involved in beta-lactamase evolution and connects them to the evolution of E. coli.

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Jiayi Fan - Graduate Student

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Jiayi Fan got her bachelor of science in pharmacy from Hong Kong Baptist University and got her masters in Food Safety and Technology from Illinois Institute of Technology. She joined Baylor College of Medicine in 2020 and is now a second-year graduate student in Palzkill Lab.

Jiayi works on phage display selection of peptides to reduce ampicillin resistance of Klebsiella pneumoniae Carbapenemase (KPC)-producing bacteria.

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Dignite Fabrice Ngango - Graduate Student

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Dignite earned his Bachelor's degree in Integrated Sciences with a minor in Biochemistry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2022. He joined Baylor in the Fall of 2022 and is currently a second-year student in the Palzkill Lab.

The use of carbapenems, also referred to as last-resort antibiotics, has resulted in the emergence of enzymes like KPC-2 that can efficiently hydrolyze these drugs. His project aims to understand the catalytic mechanism by which KPC-2 and its clinical variants hydrolyze carbapenems, providing valuable insights for the rational design of improved antibiotics and inhibitors. His primary research methods include kinetics analysis, molecular biology, and x-ray crystallography.

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Minyone Finley - Research Tech II

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Michael Lopez - Graduate Student

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Michael Lopez graduated from Texas Lutheran University in December 2022 with dual bachelors’ in Biochemistry and Mathematics. He joined Baylor College of Medicine in the Fall of 2023 and is currently a first-year student in the Palzkill Lab.

Michael’s current work focuses on the screening, identification, and optimization of beta-lactamase inhibitory compounds, specifically those able to inhibit the hydrolytic enzyme KPC-2. Additional lab interests include phage display of peptides as related to the extended-spectrum beta-lactamase CTX-M-14 and subsequent deep sequencing analysis as well as the optimization of phage display-antibody selection processes as related to Norovirus.

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Christina Nnabuife - Research Tech II

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Christina graduated from the University of Houston in May 2021, with a bachelor's degree in biochemical and biophysical sciences. She joined the Palzkill Lab in October 2021, and her current projects focus on protein purification and enzyme kinetics.

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Paola Rivera - Research Tech II

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Paola Rivera graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and a minor in Biology in 2021. She joined the Palzkill lab in 2022 and currently focuses on the beta-lactamase inhibitory protein and mutating key residues for more potent inhibition across many beta-lactamases.

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Danielle Sherry - Research Tech II

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Danielle graduated from Texas A&M University in December 2022 with a bachelor’s in Biochemistry & Genetics and a minor in Statistics. In February 2023, she joined Palzkill lab where her primary project focuses on mutagenesis and phage display of peptides to diagnose Norovirus.

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Moh. Sattar, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

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Dr. Moh. Sattar earned his Chemistry PhD from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal, India, in 2018. Before joining Palzkill Lab, he collaborated with Professor Song at Baylor College of Medicine as a postdoctoral researcher, specializing in the synthesis of small molecules for Zika virus and PROTAC molecules targeting Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL1). Currently, in his role as a postdoctoral fellow at Palzkill Lab, he investigates DNA-encoded library inhibitors to target antimicrobial resistance enzymes, including Mobilized colistin resistance (MCR-1) and Oxa-48. Beyond his research, he is passionate about sports and adventurous travel.

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