Biochemistry Graduate Representative Committee

@ Indiana University



Allissa Haney

My name is Allissa Haney and I am in my third year of graduate study in the Biochemistry program and I am the secretary and treasurer of the Biochem GRC. I received my bachelor’s degree in Forensic Chemistry from Lake Superior State University in 2014. I have since joined the Kehoe Laboratory here at IU and we study the effects and response of light on cyanobacteria. My specific project looks at repair of ultraviolet light damage via photolyases in a marine Synechococcus strain. Photolyases are divided into two classes and each class repairs one type of dimer that is induced by exposure to UV light. Most organisms contain one of these proteins, however all high-light adapted cyanobacteria contain four photolyases. I am characterizing these proteins to help determine why there is a need for four photolyase genes. Our laboratory uses a variety of genetic and biochemical approaches to answer the questions we ask. I love that being a Biochemistry student I have still been able to join a predominately Microbiology lab. IU-Biochemistry department excels at being interdisciplinary when it comes to seeking and joining labs for graduate students. If you have questions do not hesitate to email me at

Vice President


Jennifer Wong

Secretary and Treasurer


Christopher Schlicksup

My name is Chris, I am a third year student in Adam Zlotnick's lab. Our lab works on Hepatitis B virus, specifically the process where many dimers self assemble into an infectious capsid. My personal interest is the structural biology of capsids, primarily using cryo-EM 3D reconstruction. In this role, I have gained experience in a huge variety of techniques, including molecular biology, biochemistry, microscopy, and digital image processing. I have also had the privilege of participating in collaborations with other labs who specialize in different areas such as analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, and biophysics. This type of interdisciplinary environment is exactly what I was looking for in a graduate program. Our program's position at the interface of Chemistry and Biology provides a unique opportunity to be creative about the research process.

Web Design and Communications


Ryan Chaparian

Originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, I came to Indiana in 2010 to attain a B.S. in Biochemistry from Purdue University. Now at Indiana University in the Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry Ph.D. program, I am a 3rd year student in the van Kessel laboratory. We study a process of cell-cell communication called quorum-sensing. Bacteria equip with a quorum-sensing system are able to relay information regarding local cellular density across a population. This type of communication allows bacteria to coordinate their gene expression programs in response to changes in population density. My thesis project focuses primarily on the quorum-sensing master regulator in Vibrio harveyi LuxR. I am interested in understanding how this protein activates/represses transcription from a biochemical perspective. If you have any questions about the program or the BGRC please send me an email!