Krishna Kumar, Ph.D.

Krishna Kumar, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Prof. Kumar is Robinson Professor of Chemistry, Chairman of the Chemistry Department (2006-2009 and 2012-present); Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University and a Member of the Cancer Center of the Tufts Medical Center. His research is at the interface of Chemistry, Biology and Medicine. His research group uses chemical and biological methods to create novel and functional molecules that allow understanding the mechanism of, and/or control biological processes. The group has diverse interests spanning organic chemistry, biophysics, cell biology, imaging and medicinal chemistry. Current areas of interest span the origin of life, therapeutic molecule design for Type 2 diabetes, cancer, NASH, Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s disease, smoking cessation; penetration of peptide molecules through the gut and the Blood-Brain-Barrier (BBB) and in the development of novel antibiotics.

Vittorio Montanari, Ph.D.

Vittorio Montanari, Ph.D.

Visiting Scientist

Dr. Vittorio Montanari is a Visiting Scholar at Tufts University. He oversees many projects in collaboration with the Kumar lab relating to peptide hormones that have the potential to ameliorate a large number of human conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and potentially Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Before Tufts, Vittorio earned a Ph.D. in organic and fluorine chemistry. He has extensive industrial organic synthesis experience. He is the cofounder of a company commercializing Tufts-patented technology, was a 2013 Mass Challenge finalist and served as the Chief Technology Officer for four years. He regularly runs marathons and hopes to qualify for the Boston Marathon some day.

Kathleen Sicinski

Kathleen Sicinski

Graduate Student (B.S., Moravian College)

Katie grew up in the greater Philadelphia area and received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Moravian College. She has 4 sisters and 9 nieces/nephews (with another on the way!). She is also a classically trained ballerina and retired competitive Irish step dancer. When not slaving away in lab, you can find her at the yoga studio in salamba sirsasana.

Julia Fountain

Julia Fountain

Graduate Student (B.S., Univ. South Carolina)

Julia is a second-year graduate student in the Kumar Lab. She is from the north-shore area but has spent half of her life in the south east in Tennessee and South Carolina. Julia recently graduated from the University of South Carolina in May 2017 with a B.S in Chemistry. In her undergrad she participated in marching band for four years and played rugby. In her spare time, she likes to relax at home with her cat, Darcy.

Jamie Liu

Jamie Liu

Graduate Student (B.S., San Jose State Univ.)

Jamie was born in San Francisco but was raised in Hong Kong for the better part of her childhood before moving back to sunny California. She eventually received her B.S. in Biochemistry from San Jose State University, working under Marc d’Alarcao. When not sciencing, Jamie likes to travel, practice yoga, read and meditate. Her goal is to one day do a headstand on a beautiful beach and have her photo taken without putting her life at great risk. All seriousness aside, she has a keen interest in eating extremely spicy food and nothing makes her happier than a latte from a hipster coffee house.

Özge Ünsal

Özge Ünsal

Graduate Student (B.S., Boğaziçi University)

Özge is from Istanbul, Turkey, and has traveled a great deal before joining the Kumar Lab at Tufts. She graduated from Boğaziçi University with a B.S. in Chemistry and participated in an exchange program in Canada. Besides being a chemist at heart, she has a passion for salsa dancing, playing violin and learning new languages. At the moment, she is working on sharpening her French and practicing yoga with her lab-mates. Nonetheless, her favorite thing to do is to watch the sunset and stroll in any beautiful city, including Boston.

Damla Surmeli

Damla Surmeli

Graduate Student (B.S., Bilkent University)

Damla is a native from Ankara, Turkey and joined the Tufts Department of Chemistry in 2018. In her undergraduate years, she worked on total synthesis of fluoranthene derivatives. Currently, she is working on N-terminal modifications for GLP-1R and GIPR dual agonist. Outside the lab, she has a passion for cooking and plants. In her free time, she loves to make clay sculptures and press on nails!

Jake Cortigiano

Jake Cortigiano

Graduate Student (B.S., University of Connecticut)

Jake is a first-year graduate student in the Kumar Lab. He recently received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Connecticut, graduating with the class of 2019. Despite selling his soul to academia, he has the audacity to pursue extracurricular activities, such as playing the piano, designing shirts, and watching cartoons. He loves sea creatures, so if you know any feel free to send him pictures. One of his dreams is to own a pet octopus and train it to open jars.

Haley Anchukaitis

Haley Anchukaitis

Graduate Student (B.S., St. Lawrence University)

Haley is from Wrentham, Massachusetts and received her B.S. in Chemistry with ACS Certification from St. Lawrence University in 2018. She joined the Tufts Chemistry Department in 2020 hoping to expand upon her knowledge of organic and medicinal chemistry. After a long day in lab, she enjoys going home to cook dinner and watch hockey. In her free time, she also enjoys swimming, hiking, and catching up on the latest Netflix shows with friends. Some of her favorite memories include skydiving and learning to surf while studying abroad in New Zealand.

Tristan Dinsmore

Tristan Dinsmore

Graduate Student (B.S., Connecticut College)

Tristan was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Newton, Massachusetts. Tristan is a new member to the Kumar lab and received his B.S. in Chemistry at Connecticut College. In his earlier years, Tristan completed three marathons resulting in three exciting medals and one bad knee. Consequently, Tristan now spends his time outside of research and academia enjoying the simpler things in life, like watching cartoons while laying down or playing fun games with friends.

Siyuan Xiang

Siyuan Xiang

Graduate Researcher (B.S., University of Delaware)

Siyuan is from China, but he went to University of Delaware for undergraduate study. He received his B.S in Chemistry in 2020. He used to work in a chemical biology lab for two and half years studying secondary structure of protein. In his undergrad, he was in the esport team for 2 years. In his free time, he likes to play video games and travel.

Tara Lowensohn

Tara Lowensohn

Undergraduate Researcher

Tara is a sophomore from Burlington, VT, studying biochemistry and biotechnology. She is passionate about tackling medical problems through chemistry. On campus, Tara is a member of the Tufts Track and Field team, a chemistry TA, and a student leader for the Tufts Wilderness Orientation. Outside of the lab, she enjoys hiking, cooking, and cuddling with her cat; one day she hopes to learn how to play the ukulele.

Julia Silberman

Julia Silberman

Undergraduate Student

Julia is a sophomore from New Jersey, majoring in biochemistry at Tufts. She is interested in using chemistry to study the roots of diseases and their treatments. On campus, she’s involved with civic engagement and climate justice advocacy groups, as well as American Chemical Society. Julia spends her free time enjoying nature, baking new desserts, and doing her best to keep all her plants alive.