Current Scholars




Dr. Derick D. Jones Jr.

IRACDA Postdoc: UIC College of Pharmacy | Antibiotic Discovery/Community Engagement | Brian T. Murphy

PhD: University of North Carolina at Greensboro | Medicinal Biochemistry| Nadja B. Cech

BS: North Carolina State University | Biological Sciences

Pronouns: they/them

Hometown: Greenville, North Carolina

My research focuses on bringing science to the community and culture to the STEM classroom. I am interested in understanding the communication systems of some of the most aggressive, multi-drug resistant infections, and how to use the complexity of nature to bring healing. My career goal is to become a faculty member and increase the visibility of the unheard communities.  I make music. I use music as an escape some of the darkest realities and help me stay focused. I am a Halloween Baby!

Murphy Lab

Dr. Britta E. Rued

IRACDA Postdoc: UIC College of Pharmacy | Microbiology | Michael Federle

PhD: Indiana University | Microbiology | Malcolm Winkler & David Giedroc

BS: University of Wisconsin-River Falls | Biology

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Racine, Wisconsin

My interests center around environmental sensing in pathogenic bacteria, specifically focusing on quorum sensing in Streptococcal species. I am also interested in how bacteria respond to the host and the factors they produce during colonization. My career goal is to be a professor at a university where I can teach and perform cutting-edge research. My hobbies include baking, drawing, and playing video games.

Federle Lab




Dr. Kelsey L. Alexander

IRACDA Postdoc: UIC College of Pharmacy | Natural Products Chemistry | Jimmy Orjala and Alessandra Eustaquio

PhD: University of California, San Diego | Chemistry | William Gerwick

BS: Point Loma Nazarene University | Chemistry/Biology

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Placentia, California

My research focuses on natural product discovery from cyanobacteria which produce a diverse array of bioactive compounds. I am interested in characterizing new compounds for their therapeutic potential. My professional goal is to be a professor at a university where I can teach and mentor both in the classroom and in a research lab. My hobbies include surfing, longboarding, scuba diving, snorkeling and photography.

Eustaquio Lab

Dr. Christopher A. J. Craddock

IRACDA Postdoc: UIC College of Pharmacy | Biomolecular Sciences | Alexander (Shura) Mankin and Nora Vazquez-Laslop

PhD: University of Chicago | Cell and Molecular Biology | Jonathan P. Staley

BS: Northeastern Illinois University | Biology/Interdisciplinary Studies

Pronouns: he/him

Hometown: Fort Washington, Maryland

I have always had an interest in the regulation of gene expression, particularly at the post-transcriptional level. Having studied the spliceosome as a grad student, I have an affinity for RNA and ribonucleoprotein machines. My research as a postdoc will focus on the regulation of gene expression at the level of translation by another ribonucleoprotein machine: the ribosome. My professional goal is to be a professor at a primarily undergraduate institution, working to expand access to STEM careers. Outside of the lab, I wrangle two children, occasionally take photographs, spend a fair amount of time making playlists, and complain a little too much about the Chicago Bulls’ front office.

Mankin/Vazquez-Laslop Lab

Dr. Elizabeth Kaweesa

IRACDA Postdoc: UIC College of Pharmacy | Ovarian cancer | Joanna Burdette

PhD: University of Florida | Chemistry | Sandra Loesgen

MS: Oregon State University | Chemistry | Sandra Loesgen

BS: St. Edward’s University | Biochemistry

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Kampala, Uganda

My research interests include screening natural products for anti-cancer activity and investigating their mechanism of action. My professional goal is to teach, mentor the next generation of researchers, and foster more representation of the underrepresented in academia and research. I enjoy singing, travelling, hiking, sight-seeing, visiting art galleries, and event planning.

Burdette Lab

Dr. KaReisha Robinson

IRACDA Postdoc: UIC College of Medicine | Anatomy & Cell Biology | Sarah E. Lutz

PhD: Rush University | Biomedical Sciences | Lena Al-Harthi

MS: Northwestern University | Biotechnology | San Ming Wang

BS: Bradley University | Biochemistry

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

My research focuses on characterizing Wnt/β-catenin signaling in multiple sclerosis. My interest in the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in neuroinflammation developed as a PhD candidate. My career goal is to become a professor and have my own laboratory. My hobbies include listening to music, cooking, exercising, and dancing!

Lutz Lab