People

Muir groupTop row (L-R):  Michael, Felix, JD, Leslie, Luis, Stephen, Geoff, Brad, Zach, Barb, Rob T., Galia. Bottom row (L-R): Katharine, Ana, Lina, Joseph, Eva, Krupa, Hai, Tom, Emily, Sara, Yael, Aishan, Adam, Sarah, Jeffrey. (Not in the picture: Glen)

Professor, Principal Investigator
Chair of Chemistry
Van Zandt Williams, Jr. Class of ‘65 Professor of Chemistry
and Associated Faculty in Molecular Biology
325 Frick Chemistry Laboratory
phone: 609-258-5778
lab phone: 609-258-5917, 609-258-5919
fax: 609-258-6746
Hometown: Stranraer, Scotland
PhD, 1993, Organic Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, UK

Tom W. Muir received his B.Sc (Hons, 1st class) in Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh in 1989 and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the same institute in 1993 under the direction of Professor Robert Ramage. After postdoctoral studies with Stephen B.H. Kent at the Scripps Research Institute, he joined the faculty at the Rockefeller University in New York City in 1996, where he was, until recently, the Richard E. Salomon Family Professor and Director of the Pels Center of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Structural Biology. Dr. Muir is the Chair of the Department of Chemistry at Princeton.

In 2011, Dr. Muir joined the Princeton Faculty as the Van Zandt Williams Jr. Class of ’65 Professor of Chemistry. In 2015, Professor Muir became the Chair of the Department of Chemistry. He has published over 150 scientific articles and has won a number of honors for his research, including; the Burrough Wellcome Fund New Investigator Award, the Pew Award in the Biomedical Sciences, the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow Award, the Leonidas Zervas Award from the European Peptide Society, the Irving Sigal Award from the Protein Society, the 2008 Vincent du Vigneaud Award in Peptide Chemistry, the 2008 Blavatnik Award from the New York Academy of Sciences, the 2008 Distinguished Teaching Award from The Rockefeller University, the 2012 Jeremy Knowles Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry and a 2013 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society. Dr. Muir is the recipient of a MERIT Award from the US National Institutes of Health and is a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Curriculum Vitae

Staff

Associate Research Scholar

Hometown: Green Bay, WI
PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 2010, Organic/Peptide Chemistry

Zack is developing novel chemical biology tools to interrogate epigenetic phenomena, specifically in the regulation of histone methyltransferases. He is also researching synthetic approaches to tie peptidyl knots, which could have far-reaching implications for the burgeoning field of shoe-based nanotechnology.

Recently Zack has discovered that he shares >80% of his genome with that of the prestigious platypus, and so he has been working hard to elucidate what aspects of himself can be considered most platypus-like. Suggestions are welcome.

Lab Manager / Senior Researcher
Barbara was born and bred in north Jersey but wanted to see the world.  So she ventured far from home and attended the University of Scranton in PA for her BS in Bio/Math. Deciding that PA was too far away from NJ for her, she came home and pursued her Ph.D. at UMDNJ-Rutgers, where she studied chromatin regulation in response to DNA damage in the laboratory of Nancy Walworth. She continued her studies in the laboratory of Jim Broach during his time at Princeton as an ACS fellow. Barbara came over to the dark side of Science (The department of Chemistry) where she used budding yeast to explicate the role of inositol phosphates in the cell in the laboratory of Dorothea Fiedler. Currently, Barbara has returned to and is actively pursuing her research interests in Chromatin Biology. In her spare time, she likes listening to music, especially live music, including Ben Folds, the Avett Brothers, and of course of the legends of pop music, the Beach Boys.
Assistant to the Chair
Phone: 609-258-5705        Fax: 609-258-6746
Assistant to the Chair
Tom Muir, Ph.D., Van Zandt Williams, Jr. Class of ‘65 Professor of Chemistry
and Associated Faculty in Molecular Biology
Department of Chemistry
Princeton University
327 Frick Chemistry
Princeton, NJ 08544

Hometown: Marion, TX
B.S. in Biology, The University of Texas at San Antonio
M.S. in Higher Education, Penn State, in progress

Sarah hails from Denver, Colorado by way of umpteen places in Texas, Nevada, and California. She has worked as a research assistant in pharmacology and biochemistry at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, as well as plant physiology and molecular biology at UTSA and the University of Texas at Austin.  Before joining the chemistry staff at Princeton, Sarah was the owner and formulator of a natural bodycare business (mainly natural soaps), with products sold nationwide.

When she isn't posing her children on real alligators, Sarah enjoys writing, stand-up comedy, gardening, and knitting.

Post-Doctoral Researchers

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Hometown: Razlog, Bulgaria
Ph.D. Physical Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011

Galia is using designer chromatin and biophysical tools to investigate the effects of histone post-translational modifications on chromatin structure. On occasion, she may be heard explaining the advantages of solid-state NMR and/or cheering for her favorite Celtics.

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Hometown: Manville, New Jersey
PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2013, Chemistry

Glen is interested in using designer chromatin to characterize the activity of various transcription factors. He enjoys singing both in and out of the lab and is the self-proclaimed ‘songbird of his generation’. It is worth noting that several members of the lab have voiced concerns regarding the accuracy of this nickname.
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Hometown: Wieren, Germany

PhD, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, 2014, Chemistry

Felix is using designer chromatin to study recently discovered posttranslational marks and their interplay with more traditional histone marks such as ubiquitination, methylation and acetylation. Quite frequently he enjoys talking about the sweet sides of life.

Post-Doctoral Researcher
Jeffrey is from the Netherlands and obtained his master and PhD from the University of Groningen under the guidance of Prof. Gerard Roelfes. There he worked on the development and construction of artificial metalloenzymes. In the Muir lab he changed gears to work in the field of chromatin, and he is interested in deciphering the role of post-translational modifications found on histones.
When he’s not in the lab, you will find him together with his camera, since one of his passions is photography.
Post-Doctoral Researcher
Hometown: Nanjing, China PhD, Iowa State University Stephen finds it cool to understand the code bacteria use for communicating among themselves (quorum sensing signaling) and then hack into their system. You might find Stephen singing to himself when he does dishwashing late at night in the lab or playing tennis on the court during the weekends. You are welcome to say hi and join him.
Post-Doctoral Researcher
Hometown: Blayney, NSW Australia PhD, University of Sydney, 2014, Chemistry. Rob is trying to understand the various roles of chromatin architectural proteins using designer chromatin arrays. Outside of the lab, Rob enjoys perfecting his family’s recipe for bloomin’ onions, and burdens himself with the task of keeping the lab up-to-date with global cricket news.
Post-Doctoral Researcher
Hometown: Augusta, GA Last degree: Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin Katharine works on employing chemical biology tools to investigate mechanisms by which oncohistone mutations can be “detoxified" as a way to treat brain tumors.  Outside the lab, she enjoy working on crossword puzzles, playing with her dog, and preparing for the impending zombie apocalypse.
Post-Doctoral Researcher
JD was born and raised in New Orleans and received his BS from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. JD performed his doctoral work at the California Institute of Technology under the supervision of David Tirrell, where he developed and applied new methods for time-resolved proteomic analysis of biological systems. In the Muir lab, JD is exploring the function of recently discovered histone posttranslational modifications using a combination of protein semisynthesis, proteomic, genetic, and biochemical techniques. In his free time, JD enjoys rock climbing and playing the ukulele, although usually not at the same time.
Post-Doctoral Researcher
Hometown: Ipswich, UK.
Antony obtained his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Bristol in 2015 working with Dek Woolfson on the design and functional evaluation of novel protein folds. In the Muir lab, he is interested in examining the effects of histone post-translational modifications on chromatin assembly and accessibility. Outside of the lab Antony enjoys playing and watching sport, including following the mighty Tractor Boys (Ipswich Town Football Club).
post-Doctoral Researcher
Hometown: Nghe An, Vietnam
Hai received his B.S. and M.S. in chemistry from the University of Tokyo, and his Ph.D. from the Scripps Research Institute under the supervision of Professor Phil Baran. Hai discovered that as he's moving east, he's had opportunities to deal with bigger molecules. In Muir lab, Hai is amazed at how simple kDa level of molecules can be synthesized, at the same time, trying hard to find chemdraw structures in group meeting presentations. Currently, Hai is interested in developing synthetic tools to study the nucleosome acidic patch.

Graduate Students

Graduate Student, Molecular Biology, 6th year
Hometown: Richland, WA B.S., Biochemistry, University of Washington Geoff's research interest in the Muir lab is developing and applying new methods for accelerated biochemical analysis of chromatin and chromatin-associated proteins. He is getting used to the humidity of the East Coast.
Graduate Student, chemistry, 5th year
Hometown: El Paso, TX B.S., Chemistry, California Institute of Technology Luis is a joint student between the Muir and Yang labs in the Princeton Chemistry department. He aims to combine the chemical biology and biophysical tools developed in these two groups to investigate the real-time conformational dynamics of chromatin/protein interactions at a single-molecule level. However, currently he is coming to terms with the fact that being a joint student means double the meetings, without double the pay.  
Graduate Student, chemistry, 5th year
Hometown: New York, NY B.A., Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University After spending four years in Baltimore, the “Greatest City in America” according to its park benches, graduate school has taken Adam closer to home. His research focuses on detailing the mechanism of protein trans-splicing and developing split-intein based chemical tools.
Graduate Student, chemistry, 5th year
Hails from: China B.S. of Chemistry, Peking University, 2012 Aishan's research is currently focused on the quorum sensing of S. aureus, especially the activation mechanism of a histidine kinase in the system. As Aishan has been working with Boyuan in her first year of graduate school, she has been given a nickname, "Girluan". She usually say that "Chinese kung fu" is her hobby; however, since Aishan gradually has gotten used to how people make fun of each other in this lab, she developed a new hobby: making fun of herself.
Graduate Student, chemistry, 4th year
Hometown: San Jose, CA B.S., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz Lina is interested in investigating crosstalk interactions between histone post-translational modifications. Since moving to the East Coast, she is still trying to understand the concept of "seasons".
Graduate Student, chemistry, 4th year
Hometown: Ithaca, NY B.S., Chemistry, Cornell University Eva is on a quest to prove that histidine is the coolest phosphorylated amino acid, especially when it's found in histones. (Go Phosphohisti-team!) She grew up in a region of upstate NY where people hang out atop waterfalls, and she gets really excited when people comment on her "Ithaca is Gorges" t-shirt.
Graduate Student, molecular biology, 4th year
Hometown: Charlotte, NC BS in Chemistry from UNC-CH, MS in Chemistry from UNCC Ana is interested in using cyanobacteria to investigate whether inteins are not merely selfish genes, but serve a greater purpose. She enjoys baking cakes, though she herself does not eat cake. Luckily, the rest of the Muir lab does.
Graduate Student, molecular biology, 4th year
Home town: Monterey, California Undergraduate: B.S. in Microbiology from the University of California Santa Barbara Josef is interested in determining the effect of cancer-associated histone mutations on the installation of PTMs within the chromatin regions in which they are located. He believes there is no love more sincere than the love of food.
MD/PhD student, Rutgers and Princeton program, 3rd year
Hometown: Rockaway, NJ B.S. Biology, Physics, and Cognitive Science, The College of New Jersey Krupa is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of human disease, specifically in cancers associated with histone mutations. She’s happy to find that nerdy science puns abound in the Muir lab. She could tell you a joke involving Cobalt, Radon, and Ytterium, but it would be CoRnY.
Collaborating Graduate Student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Landweber Lab
Hometown: Singapore B.A., Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University Leslie applies a combination of bioinformatic and biochemical techniques to understand how chromatin is organized in an unusual group of organisms called ciliates. Prior to graduate school, he was immersed in the ultra-competitive food industry, having been enrolled in culinary school and eventually becoming certified as a pastry chef in 2012. Since then, he has come to his senses and now serves the greater good of Science.
Graduate Student, chemistry, 2nd year
Hometown: Queens, New York
B.S., Chemistry, New York University
As the last remaining member of the phosphohisti-team, Michael plans to stage a pHis revival in the lab. Specifically, he is interested in the role pHis plays in mammalian cell biology and is convinced that he will find it on chromatin. It is well known in the Muir lab that if you leave your desk for a particularly long lunch break, there is a good chance Michael will move his stuff in before you return.
Graduate student, chemistry, 2nd year
Hometown: Knoxville, TN B.S., Chemistry and Communication, Boston College Sara is interested in applying high-throughput techniques, specifically the DNA-barcoded mononucleosome library, to probe the effects of PTMs on chromatin-associated processes. And, for those days when 70% ethanol isn't enough, she may have a smuggled stash of moonshine from Tennessee. Or, it could be water; you won't know until you try.  
Graduate Student, chemistry, 1st year
Hometown: Orwigsburg, PA B.S., Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh Brad is interested in the crosstalk between histone modifications and their effect on gene expression as well as the development of new uses for inteins. As an undergraduate, Brad was a member of the Pitt football team for a year where he was a placekicker. He intends to use this skill to claim the Muir Lab record for longest field goal.

Undergraduate Students