Dr. Tuhina Banerjee
   RESEARCH SCIENTIST
pic

  • Research Scientist
  • PROJECT: "Magnetic Nanosensors for Neuorodegenerative Disorders and Infectious Diseases".
  • Chemist: Department of Chemistry, Pittsburg State University, Kansas.
  • Post Doctorate: University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida.
  • Ph. D. Degree: Biophysical chemistry and Biochemistry from Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, India.
  • Bio..
    Resume
    Dr. Banerjee was born in Varanasi, India, and grew up in a small family with Parents and an elder sister. She completed her undergraduate (BS) and Master of Science (MS) degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi, India. After qualifying all-India-based GATE and NET-CSIR exams, she got selected in the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) for pursuing doctoral degree in 2001. At IIT-B, she joined Professor Nand Kishore’s biophysical chemistry and biochemistry laboratory. Her doctoral research was focused on the “Protein–Solvent Interactions and Molten Globule Intermediates: A Biophysical Approach”. After defending her Ph. D. thesis in 2006, Dr. Banerjee immediately joined Dr. Andrew Feig’s lab at the department of chemistry, Indiana University, Bloomington and then moved to Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, as a postdoctoral research associate. She then joined Dr. Ken Teter’s lab in the University of Central Florida in 2008. She is experienced in the determination of molecular interactions including protein-protein, RNA, DNA and other biological events responsible for various infectious diseases (Cholera, Crohn’s, Anthrax and others). In July, 2013, Dr. Banerjee joined department of chemistry, at the Pittsburg State University, in a Chemist position and responsible for research, instructions and laboratories.


   Tyler Shelby
   RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
pic

  • Research Associate
  • PROJECT: "Nanosensors for the detection of Infectious Diseases".
  • B. S. Degree: Biology and Chemistry at Pittsburg State University,Pittsburg, Kansas.
  • Bio..
    My name is Tyler Shelby, and I am currently pursuing a bachelor degree in Chemistry, with an emphasis in Biochemistry. I was born in Kansas, but spent a large portion of my childhood just outside of Denver, Colorado. I returned to Kansas as a teenager, and chose to continue my education at Pittsburg State University, originally having a special interest in entering the medical field. As I progressed through the course work in my degree, I became enamored with the science classes I took, and began to view them with pleasure, rather than just as requirements to move on to the next level of education. I soon began to look for opportunities to involve myself in laboratory settings, in order to gain hands-on experience. I now am hoping to pursue a dual M.D./Ph.D. degree after graduating from PSU. Having only recently joined Dr. Santra’s lab, my first project will be to develop a nanoprobe aimed towards targeted imaging and treatment of prostate cancer. The probe will be specifically designed to aid in MRI imaging, allowing the probe to only be activated once it has reached its target cancer cells, providing a greater contrast between the tumor cells and those around it. This mechanism may also be applied to therapy approaches involving chemotherapeutic drugs, including Olaparib. Before joining Dr. Santra’s lab, I gained experience under the instruction of other professors at PSU, including Drs. Zegar and McAfee, working with gene cloning in E. coli for various proteins. Outside of the classroom and laboratory, I enjoy outdoor activities, such as mountain/single-track biking, hiking, camping, and gardening, as well as other activities including reading, writing, and travelling, and have participated in medical internships in Belize and Paraguay. I am also a huge fan of playing music, and have been involved with PSU’s jazz band for the prior three years, as well as various musical groups outside of school, such as Sounds of Quincy.


   Blaze Heckert
   RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
pic

  • Research Associate
  • PROJECT: “Bio-based polymers from Soybean”.
  • M. S. Degree: Polymer Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.
  • B. S. Degree: Biology at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.
  • Bio..
    I was born in Pittsburg, KS and I have done my Bachelors in Biology and masters in Polymer Chemistry from Pittsburg State University, Kansas. My interest in medical research started when I was encouraged to talk to Dr. Santimukul Santra after completing organic chemistry I and II during the summer of 2013, I stood out as a synthetic chemist because of my work in the organic labs as well as lectures and this led to the introduction to Dr. Santra. I was extremely interested with the work that Dr. Santra explained to me as well as the many publications and patents which were held by him. The idea of taking effective drugs and creating a polymer that could deliver these drugs exclusively to the diseased site, avoiding harmful chemotherapeutic affects seen in current treatments excited me. After much setup and hard work, we have developed a great lab with unimaginable equipments and projects. My interest in medicine and work with Dr. Santra have encouraged me to go for my Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. I was accepted to UMKC (University of Missouri-Kansas City Dental School) reserved admissions during the summer of 2013 and have been fully accepted as of December 2014. One of my projects in bachelors is “Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) treatment using Hsp90 inhibitor carrying magnetic nanotheranostics”. The project has involved the design and fabrication of a polymer with the ability to surround a magnetic core, while carrying the drugs and other cargos needed to inhibit the Hsp90. The polymer must also be biodegradable, biocompatible, and provide magnetic nanotheranostics which provide efficient ways to both diagnose and monitor treatment of NSCLC. These formulated multimodal theranostic nanomedicine can then be used for the targeted treatment of NSCLC, in vitro. Using optical and MR imagine, the targeted delivery and effectiveness of the treatment can be monitored. Although my career path is aimed toward the practice of medicine rather than the research of medicine, I hope to continue work with Dr. Santra throughout my professional career and see my work travel from the lab to the bedside of patients.

   Gayathri Sadanala
   LAB WEB DEVELOPER
pic

  • Lab Web Developer
  • M. Tech Degree: Electronics Engineering Technology at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.
  • B. Tech Degree: Computer Science and Engineering at Acharya Nagarjuna University, Andhra Pradesh, India.


   James Beach
   M. S. STUDENT
pic

  • Graduate Researcher
  • PROJECT: "Synthesis of novel synthetic hyperbranched polymers for the purpose of targeted drug delivery to cancer cells."
  • M. S. Degree: Polymer Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Kansas.
  • B. S. Degree: Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.
  • Bio..
    Hello, I’m James Beach. I am originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but moved to Iola, KS at age ten where I stayed through high school and two years of community college. I began attending Pittsburg State University in 2009, majoring in Music and subsequently earning my first Bachelors in 2012. Following graduation, I took a year off from academics and began working at a local hospital. It was during this period that my interest in the biological sciences, particularly those in the vein of biomedical technology, began to blossom. I had always had a deep interest in chemistry, having taken extensive courses in high school, and my new interests seemed to rekindle the forgotten love I had for science in general. In 2013, I began attending PSU for my second Bachelors, this time to pursue a degree in biochemistry, which seemed to perfectly encompass all of my old and newfound interest. During the course of my senior year, I learned of Dr. Santra’s research and became aware of the world of polymer chemistry and its many applications in the Biomedical field, much to my surprise. My yearning to perform research in both the fields of chemistry and biology was a realistic possibility in the polymer world, and was too good of an opportunity to pass up. That is why, after earning my Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry in 2016, I decided to pursue a Masters in polymer chemistry, which is where I find my self today. My research is concerned with the synthesis of novel synthetic hyperbranched polymers for the purpose of targeted drug delivery to cancer cells. With the knowledge I have gained and continue to gain while in Dr. Santra’s lab, I hope to one day utilize the skills I have gained beyond the stage of academia. Following completion of my Masters, I plan to either pursue a PhD in areas Nanoscience or Biomedical Technology, or start my career in similar fields.


   Tanuja Tummala
   M. S. STUDENT
pic

  • Graduate Researcher
  • PROJECT: “Novel polymeric materials for biomedical applications”.
  • M. S. Degree: Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Pitsburg, KANSAS
  • B. S. Degree: Pharmacy in India.
  • Bio..
    Hello, this is Tanuja Tummala, completed my Bachelors degree in Pharmacy and joined as a trainee in VETINDIA Pharmaceuticals Ltd in departments of Quality control and Manufacturing. Then I had a plan of doing Masters and came to know about Pittsburg State University. I’ve applied for MS Polymer chemistry program and got admitted. After coming here, I came to know about Dr. Santra and his research works and requested him to give me a chance to prove myself. Currently I’m working as a Graduate Research Assistant. I’ll be working on novel polymeric materials for biomedical applications. Apart from academics, I’m interested in cooking, listening music, gardening.


   Elaf Alattas
   M. S. STUDENT
Not available

  • Graduate Researcher
  • PROJECT: “Enzyme-catalyzed, one-step synthesis of hyper-star polymers for biomedical applications”.
  • M. S. Degree: Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS.
  • B. S. Degree: Chemistry at Najran University, Saudi Arabia.
  • Bio..
    Hello!! My name is Elaf Alattas. I was born in Jazan, located on the red sea, in Saudi Arabia. I am very interested in chemistry. I got B.S. Degree in chemistry from Najran University in 2010, before coming to Pittsburg State University for MS degree. Previously, I have done a research paper entitled: " The Effects of Polyester, Nylon, and Acrylic on Clothing" in 2013. Additionally, being a student in the chemistry department, now I have a wonderful opportunity to work in Dr. Santra's laboratory. Currently, I am working on "Enzyme-catalyzed, one-step synthesis of hyper-star polymers for biomedical applications". Thank You.


   Shuguftha Naz
   M. S. STUDENT
Not available

  • Graduate Researcher
  • PROJECT: “Nanotechnology-based topical lotions for Skin Care Applications”.
  • M. S. Degree: Pharmacy at Osmania University, India
  • B. S. Degree: Pharmacy at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, India.
  • Bio..
    Hello Everyone!!! I’m Shuguftha Naz from India (Hyderabad). I have completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Pharmacy, India. Then, I got an opportunity to work as an Assistant Professor (2013) in Nizam Institute of Pharmacy, Hyderabad. I have dealt with various subjects including Pharmaceutical Analysis, Medicinal Chemistry, Chemistry of Natural Products and Pharmacognosy and guided many B-Pharm projects and seminars. I have presented two National Level Poster presentations and published papers on my project work. During my M-Pharm project on herbal medicines and anti-cancer activity, I got deep interest in research, to know the mechanisms of various disease processes and how herbal medicines can be used to cure these diseases. This made me to look for opportunities dealing with research on cancer and herbal medicines. At this time, I got know about Dr. Santra and his research and publications through my friend. She suggested me to join Pittsburg State University and work under him so that we can have a good research experience. Currently, I’m working on Development of nanotechnology based topical lotion for skin care applications. In addition, I’ll be working on different projects on targeted delivery systems. Thank You.


   Wadha Alqahtani
   M. S. STUDENT
pic

  • Graduate Researcher
  • PROJECT: "One-step synthesis of biodegradable polymers".
  • M. S. Degree: Polymer Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS.
  • B. S. Degree: Chemistry at King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia.
  • Bio..
    Hello!! I'm Wadha Alqahtani from Saudi Arabia. I got my bachelor degree from King Khalid University, in general chemistry. I am exciting to learn more and in pursuing my research in polymers synthesis. This is an important field and has many implications in the medical fields including cancer treatment. My aim is to discover new biodegradable polymers to be used as drug delivery system for cancer therapy. I'm lucky to get a chance to work in Dr. Santra's lab and with his field of expertise.

   Momin Ansare
   M. S. STUDENT
pic

  • Graduate Researcher
  • PROJECT: "Polymeric nanomaterials for cancer treatment."
  • M. S. Degree: Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Kansas.
  • B. S. Degree: Chemistry at University of Missouri Kansas City, Kansas City, Kansas.
  • Bio..
    Hello, my name is Momin Ansare. I am from Kansas City, Missouri. I completed my Bachelors of Science in Chemistry at the University of Missouri Kansas City and I completed my Associate of Science in Chemistry at Metropolitan Community College Kansas City. I plan to dedicate my life and career to researching material/chemical science applications to health and medical technology in order to hopefully do my share in reducing the amount of suffering for humankind in the future.



   Wesley Brantley
   B. S. STUDENT
pic

  • Researcher
  • PROJECT: “Biochemical applications of new polymeric materials”.
  • B. S. Degree: Biology at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    Greetings! My name is Wesley Brantley and I am currently earning a pre-medical biology degree with a minor in chemistry at Pitt State University. I was born in Indiana but raised in Kansas. After earning my Bachelor's degree, I plan on attending medical school and earning an M.D. degree. I have always loved the hospital and clinical setting but my passion for medicine became apparent after the death of my father due to a heart ailment. Conducting research with Dr. Santra will strengthen my laboratory skills and I plan on using these skills to one day help others and prevent the unfortunate circumstances that led to the death of my father.

   Quentin Austin
   B. S. STUDENT
pic

  • Researcher
  • PROJECT: “New click-ene chemistry for biochemical applications”.
  • B. S. Degree: Polymer Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    Hello there, I’m Quentin Austin. I am from the small town of Cherryvale, KS where I graduated from Cherryvale High School as Class Valedictorian. Ever since I was young, I have had a deep passion for science and an endless curiosity of what surrounded me. I am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Polymer Chemistry. I had been interested in Dr. Santra’s Polymer Chemistry Program since my high school Chemistry teacher told me about it. Several of my professors at Independence Community College really pushed me to follow my interests. This motivated me to immerse myself in my studies and take classes that challenge me. My ultimate goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Chemistry and to be involved with research in order to make a difference in the world around me. When I’m not buried in my studies, you can often find me outdoors absorbed in nature, collecting fossils, or you might catch my band Edge Over Edge performing in the local area.

   Christina Fletcher
   B. S. STUDENT
pic

  • Researcher
  • PROJECT: “New MR activatable nanoprobes for multiparametric imaging and treatment of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC)”.
  • B. S. Degree: Biology at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    Hi! My name is Christina Fletcher, I am currently working towards a bachelors in biology with a minor in Physical Science and Chemistry and hope to become a Physician’s assistant. I was born in Portsmouth, VA but have lived most of my life in Northeast Kansas. I love movies, cooking, reading, and spending time with my family and friends. My interest in the medical field began when my brother was diagnosed with autism. I was able to witness a lot of different aspects of the medical field and to an extent was able to provide at home care for him. As I began my biology classes at Pittsburg State University my interests grew in studying different diseases and the methods used to treat them so I was thrilled when Dr. Santra told me about the Nanotheranostic laboratory. This is an amazing opportunity that will help me achieve my goals and I hope to contribute to the goal of curing cancer. My current research focused on new MR activatable nanoprobes for multiparametric imaging and treatment of triple-negative breast cancer.

   Charlotte Clonts
   B. S. STUDENT
pic

  • Researcher
  • PROJECT: “Nanotechnology in detecting infectious diseases.”
  • B. S. Degree: Biology major with emphasis in Pre Med Studies at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    My name is Charlotte Clonts, I am from Tulsa, OK. Aside from my studies, I enjoy writing, journaling, reading, antiquing, and sand volleyball. I entered Pitt State in 2014 originally in pursuit of a B.S. in Biology with emphasis in Physical Therapy — since then I have been introduced to to the world of medicine and research. Thus, I am currently working towards completion of my B.S. in Biology with emphasis in Pre Med Studies, with an ultimate goal of completing Medical School and becoming a Surgeon. During the three year period I have been at Pitt State I have gotten my EMT certification, completed my minors in psychology and physical sciences, I have done research in psychology, and have done medical volunteer work across the tristate area and in Belize. I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Santra in research and to start exhibiting my passions through these projects. I have always loved learning about infectious diseases and their host cells; now being able to do research with nanotechnology in detecting infectious diseases will only increase my love for the science and feed my newfound desire to practice innovative medicine in correlation with research.


   Ryan Higginbotham
   B. S. STUDENT
Not available

  • Chemist
  • PROJECT: “Development of new nanotechnologies for treatment of cancers.”        
  • B. S. Degree: Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    My name is Ryan Higginbotham, and I was born in West Plains, MO. I moved to Pittsburg when I was seven. I joined Pittsburg State University in the fall of 2015, aimed B.S. degree in Biology with a Pre-Med emphasis. When came to know that Dr. Santra is doing research on cancers and infectious diseases, I was on board and decided to join the lab. In my free time, I enjoy playing violin, ultimate frisbee, and hiking. I’m currently working on the delivery of sophorolipids for targeted cancer therapy using nanoplatforms.


   Sasha Pashchenko
   B. S. STUDENT
pic

  • Researcher
  • PROJECT: "Cytotoxicity of sophorolipids using magnetic nanotheranostics".
  • B. S. Degree:Biology major with an emphasis in pre-med, Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    Hello! My name is Sasha Pashchenko, and I was born in Ukraine. When I was seven years old my family moved to Erie, KS, and I eventually decided to pursue a Pre-Medical Biology and Chemistry dual-degree at PSU. I’ve enjoyed studying at PSU a lot, and I’m super excited to continue developing nanotechnology with Dr. Santra. After my BS degree, I plan on pursuing an M.D. degree. Outside of research and studies, I also enjoy drawing, painting, reading, traveling, and the outdoors. Some of my past traveling has included medical volunteer work in Honduras and HIV volunteer work in Kenya. Both research and volunteering abroad has further pushed me to pursue a medical career.

   Ren Bean
   B. S. STUDENT
pic

  • Polymer Researcher
  • PROJECT: “Development of new polymeric drug delivery system for the early diagnosis and targeted treatment of breast cancer.”        
  • B. S. Degree: Polymer Chemistry at Pittsburg State University,Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    My name is Ren Bean, and I was born and raised in Kansas. I am currently working on my Bachelor’s Degree in Polymer Chemistry (2013-2017) at the Pittsburg State University. My interest in chemistry began while still in high school. As I began my studies at the Pittsburg State University, it became apparent to me that I had an interest and passion for this field of study. When I heard about the new polymer chemistry program, I was thoroughly excited to become one of the first to declare this as my major emphasis of study. As the completion of all my required general education courses has arrived, I have been searching for an opportunity to learn more and find a place to become involved in someone’s meaningful research. I was very eager to meet Dr. Santra and learn what he was doing in the field of Nanotechnology and Cancer Research. I have, for a long time, been drawn to cancer research, knowing that at some point in my future, I would love to do my small part in helping to find a cure for cancer. Nanotechnology allows me to quench my thirst for working with polymers while also working in the area of cancer research. My current project is to develop a new polymeric drug delivery system for the early diagnosis and targeted treatment of breast cancer. I hope to be able to do this and other meaningful research throughout the rest of my time at Pittsburg State University. This would meet my goal of obtaining graduate degrees in polymer chemistry and continuing a lifelong career in research.


   Laci Hadorn
   B. S. STUDENT
pic

  • Researcher
  • PROJECT: “Novel nanomaterials for targeted imaging and treatment of Cancer”.
  • B. S. Degree: Chemistry, Biology at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    Hi! My name is Laci Hadorn, and I am a Chemistry and Biology double major, emphasis in Biochemistry and Pre-Med, in addition to a Mathematics minor. I was born in Arkansas City, Kansas and enjoy spending time outdoors kayaking, four wheeling, and playing tennis. I also enjoy drawing, reading, and spending time with my family. I became intrigued by the world of chemistry and biology throughout my high school career and through the various medical crisis that my family has experienced. Research has greatly caught my interest as a worthwhile field to pursue, and Dr. Santra’s lab offers an incredible hands-on learning experience that I eagerly wanted to be a part of.

   Alicia Lowrey
   B. S. STUDENT
pic

  • Researcher
  • PROJECT: “Magnetic nanomedicines for cancer treatment”.
  • B. S. Degree: Chemistry, Biology at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    Hi! My name is Alicia Lowrey, I am a Biology and Chemistry double major with a minor in Psychology. I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico but soon moved to Arkansas and was raised in Bentonville, Arkansas. I enjoy playing softball at Pitt State as well as being a part of the Natural Ties group on campus that works with adults in the community who have disabilities. I became interested in the medical world when my uncle got diagnosed with brain cancer and shortly after my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer as well. I have spent a lot of time in hospitals and around doctors who helped with their diagnoses and treatment and I fell in love with helping people. Dr. Santra’s nanotheranostic lab is such a great way to further my education and be a part of my ultimate goal of helping people. I am very excited to be a part of it.

   Lok B Shrestha
   B. S. STUDENT
pic

  • Researcher
  • PROJECT: "Biodegradable polymers for biomedical applications".
  • B. S. Degree:Chemistry major with an emphasis in Biochemistry at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    Namaste! My name is Lok B Shrestha, and I am an international student from Nepal. I am a transfer student here at Pittsburg State Universiry (PSU) from Neosho County CC. Currently, I am working on my Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, with an emphasis in Biochemistry (and Mathematics minor). I have always been intrigued and fascinated by nature and interested in science, Biology and Chemistry in particular. I want to thank Dr. Santra for providing me with the opportunity to work with him and other fellow researchers/scientists. This certainly is a great learning opportunity for me and is essential for my intended career (research scientist). I enjoy watching sports, being outdoor, and (nature) photography in my spare time.

   Vedant Jain
   B. S. STUDENT
pic

  • Researcher
  • PROJECT: "Development of new materials for biomedical applications".
  • B. S. Degree: Biology and emphasis on molecular and cellular biology at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    .Hello!! I am Vedant Jain. I am from India. I am currently pursuing my bachelor’s at PSU with majors in biology and emphasis on cellular and molecular biology. I was always interested in lab work since my schooling years and knew that research was my passion. I am grateful to Dr. Santra for letting me take part in his research projects and nurturing skills that I never thought I would gain. I wish to pursue a career in molecular genetics and someday do good for humanity.