Current Lab members
Marcy J. Balunas, Ph.D.
Katie Mc Bride, M.S.
Research Staff and Lab Manager
B.S. Microbiology - 2016 University of Tennessee, Knoxville
M.S. Microbiology - 2018 University of Tennessee, Knoxville
My career in science has taken me all over the place- from working in a food-pathogen detection lab in high school, to monitoring radioactive wastewater at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to studying the human gut microbiome. Now in Dr. Balunas' lab I am helping culture bacteria of interest in our search for novel natural products. Additionally, I am responsible for a lot of day-to-day operations as well as safety, general organization, ordering, and morale (that last one I made up, but I like to think it's true...). Outside of the lab you can find me walking my dog, bingeing the latest HBO-melodrama, or trying to learn the rules to a new board game.
Kojo Acquah, Ph.D.
Kojo received his PhD in chemistry from the University of Cape Town in 2021 with a thesis focused on tuberculosis drug discovery from marine invertebrates and South African actinomycetes. He received his MPhil and BSc in Chemistry from the University of Ghana. Kojo is interested in using metabolomics tools to identify and isolate bioactive specialized metabolites involved in host-microbe interactions.
Dulce Guillén Matus, Ph.D.
I’m an oceanographer interested in the chemical ecology of marine microorganisms. I joined the Balunas lab in 2022 after earning my PhD in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD. My research focuses on the ecological roles of specialized metabolites from bacterial symbionts in marine invertebrates. I’m trying to gain insights into the interactions between host, environment, and microbiome that drive the evolution of bacterial specialized metabolism.
Jungmoo Huh, Ph.D.
I got my B.S. in College of Pharmacy in Sungkyunkwan University and got a M.S. and Ph.D. (2018) from the College of Pharmacy in Seoul National University. I worked for 2 years (Nov. 2020- Oct. 2022) at the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR), University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS. Now I am recently joined UofM here (Nov.2022-present)! I mainly worked on isolation, structural identification, method validation, and HPLC and/or MS analysis. In my spare time, I like watch sports, movies, and drama these days.
Ph.D. student - Cellular and Molecular Biology
Gillian graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2021 with a BS in Biochemistry and minor in Sociology. She worked in Dr. Bryan Davies’ lab as an undergraduate student and research technician developing protein therapies against multi-drug resistant pathogens. Gillian is co-advised by the Balunas lab and Lyssiotis lab and is generally interested in using mass spectrometry-based metabolomics to investigate the tumor microenvironment.
Hobbies include: bouldering, drag shows, and living a Gen-Z life.
Ph.D. student - Medicinal Chemistry
Ph.D. candidate - Microbiology & Immunology
Ph.D. Rotation Student - Microbiology & Immunology
Ph.D. Rotation Student-Biological Chemistry