People

IonelPopa

FLAGROMANIA Ionel Popa 1pCV
Principal Investigator
Email: popa@uwm.edu
Phone: 414-229-5086
Room: KEN 3180

Ionel Popa received his B.Sc. degree in Chemical Engineering from Gh. Asachi Technical University in 2005 and his Ph.D. in Physical and Analytical Chemistry from University of Geneva in 2010, under the direction of Prof. Michal Borkovec. He then joined the group of Julio M. Fernandez at Columbia University to study protein biophysics, where he held the positions of Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate Research Scientist. Since fall 2015, he joined the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he currently holds the rank of Associate Professor.

 


Flag_of_the_United_States Annie Eis
Research Specialist
Email: eisal@uwm.edu
Phone: 414-229-2296
Room: KEN 4020

Annie Eis received her BS degree in Urban Horticulture from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and her MS degree in Plant Pathology from The University of Nebraska at Lincoln. The research bug bit hard in graduate school, so with limited research opportunities in the plant sciences at the time, Annie accepted a Research Assistant position in Maternal/Fetal Medicine with Dr. Les Myatt at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Finding medical research to be very rewarding, upon relocating to Wisconsin with her family, she joined a Neonatology research group at the Medical College of Wisconsin as a Research Associate. Shifting gears once more, Annie  joined Dr. Ionel Popa’s research group in March 2016 and supervises the molecular biology and protein expression.


luaipic-qzykp1

isrealflag Luai Khoury
Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Email: khoury@uwm.edu
Phone: 414-229-2296
Room: KEN 4039

Luai Khoury is a postdoctoral research scientist in Popa Lab. His current research interests involve development of protein hydrogel for biomedical applications. Luai Khoury received his B.Sc. (2010) and M.Sc. (2011) and Ph.D. (2016) in Biomedical Engineering from Ben- Gurion University. His Ph.D. project focused on the development of gold nanoparticles in order to harvest, concentrate and detect low molecular weight (LMW) biomarkers for disease diagnosis in collaboration with Prof. Joseph Kost and Prof. Giora Enden. He likes to travel, and talk with people about food and science.


Smrithika Subramani
Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Email: ssubra@uwm.edu
Phone: 414-229-2296
Room: KEN 4028

Smrithika Subramani is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Popa Lab working on magnetic tweezers to unravel protein dynamics. A major part of her work will also involve development of FRET spectroscopic technique with the Raicu group. She completed a Masters in Physics, focusing on sensor based applications of graphene nano-structures. Her PhD (at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-organization, Göttingen) involved extensive research on the dynamics of biomimetic structures. She developed techniques to construct complex networks using microtubule-kinesin assemblies in vitro.


Narayan Dahal
Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
Email: npdahal@uwm.edu
Phone: 414-229-2296
Room: KEN 4020

Narayan Dahal completed his Bachelor and Master’s degree in physics from Tribhuvan University, Nepal in 2011. After having three years of experience in teaching high-school physics, he joined the Physics department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as a graduate student in Fall 2014. Currently, Narayan is working on the surface chemistry and magnetic tweezer measurements.

 


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Joel Nowitzke
Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
Email: nowitzk2@uwm.edu
Phone: 414-229-2296
Room: KEN 4028

I joined the physics department as a graduate student in 2014 after receiving my BS in Physics from St. Cloud State University in 2013. I am currently working on single molecule magnetic tweezer experiments along with assisting Luai with protein hydrogels. I have many interests in physics ranging from astronomy/gravitational waves down to single molecule mechanical systems. I am an avid bowler and have been bowling most of my life with a high game of 299. I enjoy movies, reading, and bonfires even if it is a sub-zero night during the Minnesota winter.


 Sabita Sharma
Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
Email: sabita@uwm.edu
Phone: 414-229-2296
Room: KEN 4020

I joined the graduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Fall 2017 after I got my B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree in Physics from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. I recently joined Popa Lab, and I am working on BSA hydrogels. In my free time, I like to take a walk, watch movies or read novels.

 

 


Bình Phan
Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
Email: binhphan@uwm.edu
Phone: 414-229-2296
Room: KEN 4020

Bình Phan graduated from the Illinois Wesleyan University in 2019, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Physics and a minor in Philosophy. His B.S. thesis was on terahertz absorption spectra of silicate cosmic analog dusts. He joined UWM in Fall 2019 as a graduate student and is currently assisting Popa lab in research while finishing up his coursework. In his free time, Bình enjoys practicing calligraphy (Eastern and Western), reading books (his favorite genres are historical fiction and nonfiction, fantasy, and anything written by Kurt Vonnegut), and cooking. If you ask Bình to describe himself in a few words, his response would be “I like being confused.”


 Marina Slawinski
Undergraduate Student
Email: slawins6@uwm.edu
Phone: 414-229-2296
Room: KEN 4020

Marina is an incoming freshman who plans to major in Biomedical Engineering. Through the UR@UWM Summer Research Program, she will have the unique opportunity to learn from Dr. Popa and his team about how BSA protein hydrogels behave under an applied force as well as their potential biomedical applications.

 

 


Flag_of_the_United_States Daniel Collison
Undergraduate Student
Email: drcsr@uwm.edu
Phone: 414-229-2296
Room: KEN 4020

I’m currently a freshman majoring in physics with an emphasis on astronomy. I work with Dr. Khoury on protein based hydrogels. Currently I’m working on dual covalent cross-section binding of hydrogels in metallic solutions. I’m the oldest of five siblings who I love to spend time with. I also enjoy working out, camping, hiking and spending time with my friends and family.

 


Flag_of_the_United_States Kimberly Dood
Undergraduate Student
Email: keosborn@uwm.edu
Phone: 414-229-2296
Room: KEN 4020

I’m a senior majoring in biochemistry and minoring in physics. I will be working with Annie Eis in the lab. After graduating, I plan to get my master’s in biomedical engineering. Before COVID-19 I usually wasn’t home. If I wasn’t out studying, I was out socializing. I’m an avid dancer, I play strategic board games and Magic, I fancy the rugged outdoorsy life, and I generally love being around people.

 


Naomi RaicuFlag_of_the_United_States Naomi Raicu
Undergraduate Student

Email: neraicu@uwm.edu 
Phone: 414-229-2296
Room: KEN 4020

Naomi Raicu is an incoming freshman majoring in Physics. She has interned for Popa lab since her junior year in high school. Her past projects include working with members of the lab to engineer various polyproteins and using magnetic tweezers to study their unfolding mechanisms. In the coming year, she plans to focus more on instrument development as she loves computer programming and making things. Naomi hopes that working in Popa Lab this year will help her find her specific passion within the realm of physics.


 

ALUMNI

mexico Olivia Gloria – was undergraduate student, left as graduate student (MD) at Marquette University, School of Dentistry

Armenia Gevork Seifert – was undergraduate student, left as graduate student (MD) at American University of the Caribbean, School of Medicine

ukraine Kirill Shmilovich – was undergraduate student, left as graduate student (PhD) at University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering