Principal Investigator


   Dr. Santimukul Santra
   ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
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Research Associates


   Zachary Shaw
   RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
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  • Research Associate
  • PROJECT: “Bio-based polymers”.
  • M. S. Degree: Polymer Chemistry at Pittsburg State University,Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • B. S. Degree: Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry at Pittsburg State University,Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    My name is Zachary Shaw. I just recently obtained my B.S. Degree in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry at Pittsburg State University. Currently I am pursuing an M.S. Degree in Polymer Chemistry also at PSU. As I completed my undergraduate chemistry courses, my interest narrowed to the subject of biochemistry where I specifically became interested in drug research and targeted drug delivery systems. My first experience in research was at the undergraduate level working with Dr. James McAfee and Dr. Irene Zegar. We worked on a project targeting the kinase domain of the HER2 receptor in HER2+ breast cancer. I learned how to screen molecule data banks using high throughput methods to efficiently find possible ligands that bind to the desired receptor. As I begin my M.S. Degree in Polymer Chemistry, I hope to continue this research under Dr. Santra at his laboratory. Beyond the classroom, I enjoy tinkering, 3D printing, hunting, fishing, and working on my ’82 Z28 Camaro. I also enjoy going to the gym and taking long walks with my girlfriend.

   Rebekah Elliott
   RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
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  • Research Associate
  • PROJECT: "Nanomedicine for Cancer therapy".
  • B. S. Degree: Biology and Chemistry minor at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    Hi, my name is Rebekah Elliott. I began college as a traditional student at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and recently returned to academics (after homeschooling my three children) to finish my bachelor’s degree in order to pursue my goal of continuing on to medical school and eventually specializing in endocrinology. I always told my children I would be in college with them, and I am! I am a biology major with a minor in chemistry, and have been blessed to be a part of several research projects at PSU. I am looking forward to broadening my research experience working in Dr. Santimukul Santra’s research lab using cutting-edge nanotechnology for biomedical applications and increase experience that I plan to put in use as a practicing physician with both clinical and research hours.

   Dr. Tuhina Banerjee
   RESEARCH SCIENTIST
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  • Adjunct Instructor of Chemistry & Research Scientist
  • PROJECT: "Magnetic Nanosensors for Neuorodegenerative Disorders and Infectious Diseases".
  • Adjunct Instructor and Research Scientist: Department of Chemistry, Pittsburg State University, Kansas.
  • Laboratory Associate: 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..
    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 Laboratory Associate position and responsible for research, instructions and laboratories.


   Gayathri Sadanala
   LAB WEB DEVELOPER
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  • Lab Web Developer
  • Ph. D. Degree: Information Science & Learning Technologies at University of Missouri, Missouri.
  • 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.


Graduate Students


   Ryan Walker
   M. S. STUDENT
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  • Chemistry Graduate Teaching Assistant
  • PROJECT: "Development of magnetic nanosensors for the early detection of infectious diseases".
  • B. S. Degree: Biology at Pittsburg State University, Kansas
  • M. S. Degree: Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Kansas.
  • Bio..
    Hello, my name is Ryan Walker and I graduated with a Biological Sciences degree at Pittsburg State University. I was born and raised in Olathe, Kansas and have always been fascinated with biology. I previously devoted my time to studying bacterial microbiomes of the gut, and characterizing MRSA with various virulence factor mutations. Moving forward in my studies I am compelled to research and design polymeric nanosensors for detection of pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus under the guidance of Dr. Santra!"

   Truptiben Patel
   M. S. STUDENT
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  • Graduate Research Associate
  • PROJECT: "Formulating nanomedicines for targeted cancer treatment".
  • B. S. Degree: Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • M. S. Degree: Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    My name is Trupti Patel, you may call me Ruby. I was born and raised in India and then I came to United States after high-school for further studies. I'm pursuing my bachelors majoring in Chemistry emphasizing in Biochemistry with a minor in Biology at Pittsburg State University. I'm currently a senior and would like to lead my career in a field of cancer research. It is really fascinating how a small nanoparticle can change the functions of entire living system.Since the day I felt in love with science, I always had passion about research. I feel honored to be a part of Dr.Santra's lab and the vision that he has for all of his students is admirable and respectful. Working in his lab will not only improve my knowledge but also it will open opportunities and thousands of other platforms where I can extract myself with unique talent. I'm looking forward to explore upcoming adventure and I will be always thankful to those who have made this possible. I will be formulating nanomedicines for targeted cancer treatment.

   Raghunath Narayanam
   M. S. STUDENT
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  • Graduate Research Associate
  • PROJECT: "Nanomedicines for the targeted treatment of cancer ".
  • B. S. & Doctoral Degree: Pharmacy at Andhra University, Andhra Pradesh, India.
  • M. S. Degree: Polymer Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Kansas.
  • Bio..
    Hi, I'm Raghunath Narayanam and I'm from India. Since my Bachelor's, I had a great interest in the Nano medicine & Drug delivery. In my masters, under Dr Santra, I got a great opportunity to do research in the interested area of mine. Other than the education, I love Photography & Travelling.

   Nilam Panchal
   M. S. STUDENT
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  • Graduate Research Associate
  • PROJECT: "Development of magnetic nanosensors for the early detection of infectious diseases".
  • B. S. Degree: Biotechnology at Gujarat University, India.
  • M. S. Degree: Polymer Chemistry at Pittsburg State University, Kansas.
  • Bio..
    Hello!! I'm Nilam Panchal from India.I am a Bachelor in Biotechnology, from Gujarat University, India. The subjects, Molecular Biology, Enzyme Technology, Health Biotechnology and Microbial Biotech were my favorite during my graduation tenure. I am a very curious person in nature, which always provoked me to choose the field of research. Now I'm here to pursue my masters degree in the department of Chemistry with emphasize in Polymer Chemistry. In Pittsburg State University, I got chance to work under Dr. Santra. I will be working on the development of magnetic nanosensors for the early detection of infectious diseases.


Undergraduate Students


   Paul Worsley
   B. S. STUDENT
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  • Undergraduate Research Assistant
  • PROJECT: "Synthesizing new drug delivery systems for cancer therapy".
  • B. S. Degree: Biology and History majors at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    My name is Paul Worsley, and I am double majoring in Biology (premed) and History. I have gone to school in Pittsburg since kindergarten so choosing Pitt State was easy. Some of my hobbies include video games, tennis, writing, and watching Premier League football. I'm also involved with the Pitt State Honors College and my church, where I volunteer every Wednesday. I look forward to learning a lot from Dr. Santra along with all the other students here. Currently, I'm working on synthesizing new drug delivery systems for cancer therapy.

   Abigail Noble
   B. S. STUDENT
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  • Undergraduate Research Assistant
  • PROJECT: "Detection of infectious diseases and treatment of cancers".
  • B. S. Degree: Chemistry with an emphasis on Pre-Pharmacy at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    My name is Abigail Noble. I am a sophomore studying Chemistry with a Pre-Pharmacy emphasis at Pittsburg State University. After I graduate, I plan on earing my PharmD to begin a career in clinical pharmacy. I am from Eureka, KS, and in my free time I enjoy reading, spending time with friends and family, exercising, and volunteering. Healthcare and research have always been strong interests of mine so when Dr. Santra explained his research, I immediately knew I wanted to become involved. I am very appreciative to learn from Dr. Santra and his lab! I’ll be working on the detection of infectious diseases and treatment of cancers.

   Caine Duran
   B. S. STUDENT
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  • Undergraduate Research Assistant
  • PROJECT: "Polymer-Based Drug Delivery Systems for Cancer Therapy".
  • B. S. Degree: Chemistry with an emphasis on biochemistry at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    My name is Caine Duran and I am currently a junior pursuing a degree in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry. I was born and grew up in Iola, KS. I spend most of my time outdoors hiking, fishing, or hunting, but when I'm stuck inside, I enjoy playing music and reading. After I complete my undergraduate degree, I plan on pursuing a doctorate in medicine. I've been very interested in the work being done by Dr. Santra since I first learned about it and am excited to be a part of it.

   Drake Shaw
   B. S. STUDENT
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  • Undergraduate Research Assistant
  • PROJECT: "Nanosensors for pathogen detections".
  • B. S. Degree: Biology at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    Hello! My name is Drake Shaw. I am pursuing my Bachelor's degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Physical Science. After I graduate, I plan on attending medical school. Cancer and Infectious Diseases have always been very interesting to me and when I found out I could research them at Pitt, I knew I had to do it. When I am not studying I enjoy golfing, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

   Mary Elizabeth Kerr
   B. S. STUDENT
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  • Undergraduate Research Assistant
  • PROJECT: "Polymeric nanomedicines for targeted therapy of cancer".
  • B. S. Degree: Biology and emphasis on pre-medicine at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    My name is Mary Elizabeth Kerr. I am a sophomore studying Biology with a Pre-Med emphasis at Pittsburg State University. When I am not studying, I enjoy fashion, spending time with my family, and watching sports. I have lived in small town Kansas most of my life, but have been fortunate enough to travel to many places around the world. Exposing myself to new cultures and people both nationally and internationally, strengthened my desire to help those around me. My desire to become a physician began in the seventh grade and I have passionately pursued that path ever since. When I learned about the research Dr. Santra and his students perform, I was immediately interested and become involved. I am thankful for the opportunity to participate and to work on cancer therapy.

   Denise Muchangi
   B. S. STUDENT
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  • K-INBRE Star-Trainee Research Assistant
  • PROJECT: "Development of metal nano-sandwiches for cancer imaging. ".
  • B. S. Degree: Biology and emphasis on pre-medicine at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    Hello, my name is Denise Muchangi. I was born in Kenya, Africa and moved to Olathe, Kansas when I was about 10 years old. I am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology with an emphasis in pre-medicine. After I graduate, I hope to achieve my dream of attaining a M.D degree. I have always had a passion of helping people, and so in my free-time, I try to volunteer as much as possible. I hope to attain some knowledge about research in my undergrad years and being able to work with Dr. Santra has given me a chance to achieve that dream. My current research is focused on metal nano-sandwiches for cancer imaging.

   Thai Butcher
   B. S. STUDENT
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  • ACS-PRF Research Assistant
  • PROJECT: "New biodegradable polymer synthesis for drug delivery".
  • B. S. Degree: Chemistry minor at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    My name’s Thai Butcher. I was born and raised in the Joplin, MO area. I am currently a sophomore attending Pittsburg State University to get my B.S. in Chemistry with an emphasis on becoming an American Chemical Society certified chemist. I am still deciding on exactly what I want to do with my degree, but I have become very interested in Polymer Chemistry. In my free time I love playing video games, hiking, and just being around my friends and family! I’m very excited to become a part of Dr. Santra’s research team!


2020 Summer Interns


   Matthew Clark
   B. S. STUDENT
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  • Summer Intern
  • PROJECT: “Development of new nanotechnologies for treatment of cancers.”        
  • B. S. Degree: Biology major at Langston University, OKLAHOMA
  • Bio..
    Hello, my name is Matthew Clark. I am from Lexington, Oklahoma and currently a senior biology major at Langston University. I fell in love with research because of the amazing professors that have helped shape my academic career. In my free time I enjoy being outdoors, specifically fishing.


   Joseph Lee
   HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT
Not available

  • Summer Intern
  • PROJECT: “Nanomedicine for cancer treatment.”        
  • High School: Junior year at Pittsburg High School, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    Hello! My name is Joseph. I live in Pittsburg and attend Pittsburg High School. My goal is to be accepted into the United States Naval Academy and to major in either Biology, Chemistry, or BioChemistry. My ultimate dream is to become a doctor. In school, I have been a member of the debate team and band, and I am currently active with the school's newspaper, HOSA chapter, and NHS, among other things. I have a lot to learn before I can achieve my dreams, so I am very excited to be interning under Professor Santra and am grateful for the opportunity.


   Caleb Worsley
   HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT
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  • Summer Intern
  • PROJECT: “Development of new materials for biomedical applications.”        
  • High School: Junior year at Pittsburg High School, Pittsburg, KANSAS
  • Bio..
    I am a senior at Pittsburg High School and I plan on attending Pitt State. I’ve always been interested in science and more specifically the medical field. I plan to major in biology and chemistry. In my free time I enjoy playing tennis and relaxing with my pet.