Group Members | Department of Chemistry

Group Members

Principal Investigator

Dr. Elizabeth Skellam

Elizabeth Skellam obtained her MChem in Chemistry from the University of Wales Swansea, UK. She then moved to the University of Bristol, UK, and received a PhD in Chemistry after studying natural products biosynthesis in fungi, focused on how multifunctional enzymes synthesize complex metabolites using simple building blocks. Following her doctoral studies Dr. Skellam received a MARBIONC Business of Biotechnology fellowship and moved to the University of North Carolina Wilmington as a Visiting Research Assistant Professor in 2011. There she was involved in genome mining and metabolic engineering of marine actinobacteria and cyanobacteria. In parallel she earned a second Master's degree, in Business Administration (MBA), directly related to the commercialization of natural products' research. In 2014 she moved to Leibniz University Hannover, Germany, accepting a permanent appointment in 2015. Dr. Skellam joined the Department of Chemistry and the BioDiscovery at UNT in November 2020.

Affiliated / Visiting Scientists

Dr. Amy Petros

Amy Petros earned a PhD in chemistry from Columbia University in 2006 and a BS in chemistry from UNT in 2001. Her research interests include redox enzyme mechanisms and protein design.

Dr. Marcelo R. Amorim

"I am a postdoctoral research visitor in the UNT's Chemistry Department. I got my Ph.D. degree in Natural Products Chemistry at the University of São Paulo State (UNESP) in 2019, Brazil. I was developing my post-doctorate at the University of São Paulo (USP) in the group of Organic Chemistry of Biological Systems (QOSBio), exploring the microbial flora of marine organisms."

    Postdoctoral Research Associates

    Dr. Lei Li

    "I am a post-doctoral fellow here in UNT's chemistry department. I got my Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Leibniz University Hannover in February 2022. In 2017, I finished my master's study in pharmaceutical chemistry at Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences. My research currently focuses on the compartmentalization of multiple coordinating biosynthetic enzymes in fungi. This information will help us understand the nature of protein-protein interactions between enzymes within metabolons, which will further aid the efficient production of important bioactive molecules via metabolic engineering by synthetic biologists."

    Dr. Sanjeevan Rajendran

    "I am a postdoctoral research associate here in the Department of Chemistry. I got my Ph.D. degree in Natural Products Chemistry from University of Colombo, Sri Lanka In 2019. My Ph.D. research was on plant and fungi secondary metabolites including cyclic peptides and their biological activities. Also, the transcriptomic analysis for their biosynthetic information"

    Dr. Nicolas Esnay

    " I am a postdoctoral research associate at University of North Texas. I obtained my PhD in 2018 at Bordeaux, France where I studied the role of the lipid crosstalk between sphingolipids and phosphoinositides in polar sorting of protein in plants. I then did a first postdoc also at UNT looking at the lipid droplet biogenesis in planta."

    Graduate Students

    Sydney Schoellhorn

    "I am a PhD Candidate in my third year in UNT's chemistry department. I began working toward a PhD in Analytical Chemistry in 2019 after completing my B.S. in Chemistry. I also received a Master's in Advanced Data Analytics from UNT in 2021. My research currently includes the study of fungal natural products from secondary metabolites and mass spectrometric analysis of biological compounds."

    Sharmila Neupane

    "I'm first year Graduate student here at UNT chemistry. I received a Masters in Organic Chemistry from Central Department of Chemistry, Kathmandu Nepal. I have deep interest in synthesis of novel compounds and studing their reaction mechanism."

    Sameera Jayasundara

    "I'm a graduate student from Sri Lanka. I received my BS in Biological Sciences and the master's degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. Before starting graduate studies in Chemistry, I worked as a Brewer cum Production Executive in a major Sri Lankan brewing company for seven years. Also, I have brewing qualifications from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, UK. I'm passionate about studying genetic engineering, natural products, and their synthesis pathways."

    Jordan King

    I am a third-year graduate student at the University of North Texas. I received my BS from Texas A&M University while majoring in Biochemistry. My current research is focusing on fungal protein expression and structural evaluation for genetic medications. Biological techniques are used in combination with synthetic chemistry to create products with medicinal applications.

    Francis Eze

    "I received my BS in Applied Biochemistry from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria. I have interest in synthesis of natural products from fungi. My Research focuses on Polyketide Synthases in Fungi."

    Md Nazim Uddin Chy

    "I received my bachelor's degree in Pharmacy from International Islamic University Chittagong (IIUC), Bangladesh. Prior to joining UNT, I worked as a researcher at GUSTO A Research Group. My primary areas of research interest include medicinal and bioorganic chemistry, computational chemistry, natural product chemistry (more specifically bioactive compounds isolations and synthesis, structure elucidations, and characterizations), and biotechnology."

    Chelsi Wilson

    "I am a PhD graduate student in my first year at UNT. I am from the lush, green nature isle of the Caribbean, Dominica. I received my BS in Chemistry from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls TX. I have interest in creating new pharmaceutical drugs and developing new innovative ways to improve human health. My research focusses on dimerases and flavin-containing-monooxygenases (FMO's)."

    Joshua Martinez

    "My name is Joshua A. Martinez. I was born in San Antonio, Texas, and I have always known I would pursue chemistry. In my eyes, to understand the properties of matter is to understand the complexity of life and all materials in the known universe. During my undergraduate career, I have collaborated on projects that pertain to light-harvesting energy transformation and anti-cancer agents by the photophysical properties of synthetic dyes. My primary scientific interest surrounds new synthetic methodology and small molecule drug development. My focus has now shifted to the applications of Organic chemistry to biomolecular engineering and biosynthetic medicine."

    Daniel Grinffiel

    Info coming soon...

    Undergraduate and TAMS Students

    Ian Sartor

    "I'm a junior Biology major and Chemistry minor here at the University of North Texas Honors College. I am working towards applying to medical school and working as an internal medicine doctor in my future. I am interested in research on using biosynthetic pathways to create products for commercial, industrial, and pharmaceutical use."

    Tram Nguyen

    "I am a third year student at UNT. I am from Canada and am majoring in biochemistry. I have a passion for everything science-related, especially the study of microorganisms."

    Timothy Lim

    "I am a third-year student at UNT. I am majoring in biology, and I am working towards going to medical school in the future. I am always interested in learning about anything biology and chemistry related."

    Jacob Goralczyk

    I am a senior biochemistry major pursuing a career in chemical research. My project in lab focuses on discovering the biosynthetic product for a group of fungal polyketide synthases. Involvement in Skellam Research Group gives me insight into graduate student life, as well as opportunities to develop skills in bioinformatics, instrumental analysis, and molecular biology.

    Group Alumni

    Jane Zhao (TAMS summer 2021)

    Joshua Martinez (Chemistry Undergraduate Research Assistant Summer 2021; graduate student in the Skellam group)

    Bhavik Tadigotla (TAMS Class of 2022; now at Rice University)

    Kaylee Yu (TAMS Class of 2022; now at University of Texas Austin)

    Nancy Dankwah (CHEM 2900/ 4900; 2021/22)

    Kory Punch (CHEM 2900/ 4900; 2021/22)

    Alice Chelliah (CHEM 2900/ 4900; 2021/22)

    James Sheppard (CHEM 2900 / 4900; 2021/22)

    Dr. Vijay Rayamajhi (Postdoctoral Research Associate 2021/22)

    Joci Robinson (NSF REU Summer 2022)

    Paras Modha (Summer volunteer 2022)

    Uka Oji (2021 - 2022; now in Dr. Wang's group at UNT)

    Kynnedi Sonnier (2021 - 2022; now in Dr. Kelber's group at UNT)

    Diego Guerra Alarcon (CHEM 2900; Fall 2022)

    Ruhi Patel (CHEM 2900 / 4900; 2021 - 2022)

    Jay Patel (TAMS Summer Student 2022)

    Sai Pranavi Gummuluru (CHEM 4900; 2022)

    Neha Singaravelan (CHEM 2900 / 4900; 2021 - 2022; now at University of Alabama)

    Arianna Fa (CHEM 2900 / 4900; 2021 - 2022)

    Andrew Cai (TAMS Summer Student 2022)

    Alondra Silva (Spring 2023; now in Dr. Atkinson's group at UNT)

    Isabelle Ho (TAMS summer student 2023)

    Brandon Marx (CHEM 2900 / 4900 2023)