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Featured Researchers


December 2014

Dr Alan ChenDr. Alan Chen

Living Learning Community Leader

Dr. Chen serves as an advisor to students through the Chemistry Living Learning Community.  In Dr. Chen’s words, “For those who want it, this program is trying to encapsulate some of the advantages of being in a small, liberal arts university within the behemoth, public university framework."  [More



Dr Hua ShiDr Hua Shi

Molecular Best in Show

Dr. Hua Shi speaks about his aptamers as though they were prized poodles competing in the Westminster dog show.  He describes the process of SELEX as a nuanced breeding program to generate aptamers with desired traits and binding ability.  From the most prized aptamer isolates, he uses PCR to make more copies or “offspring”, and later creates more complex composite aptamers. [More



July 2014

Dr Prash Rangan headshotDr. Prashanth Rangan

Pew Scholar

The Rangan Lab is a’ buzz with excitement and the commotion isn’t coming from some flyaway Drosophila samples.  Rather the clamor is over Dr. Prashanth Rangan being named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. His lab will receive $240,000, valuable funding for his research into the inner workings of the Drosophila germ cell. [More



Dr Daniele FabrisDr Daniele Fabris

Expanding the Scope of Mass Spec in Early Phase Drug Discovery

I met with Dr. Fabris, a senior faculty member here at The RNA Institute to discuss his research program that concentrates on “targets” or potential drug candidates for HIV.  Now, in collaboration with Dr. Cara Pager, he is also exploring HCV and Polio.  He explained to me how he believes that RNA has enormous potential both as a direct therapeutic and target to be modified via small molecule based drugs.  [More



April 2014

Dr. yigit working with studentsDr. Mehmet Yigit

A Pure Gold Experience

Dr. Mehmet Yigit is a new faculty member whose lab focuses on the synthesis and use of theranostic nanomaterials to prevent and image disease progression.  He concentrates on the engineering of bio-molecular and chemical sensors using DNA/RNA aptamer and nanoparticle conjugates.  Amid his intensive research and teaching schedule, Dr. Yigit also offers his time to help educate children in the greater Albany community. [More]



Dr. Belfort working with students Dr. Marlene Belfort

Mentor Extraordinaire

Dr. Marlene Belfort’s mentoring philosophy is to nurture students by teaching them independence of thought and confidence.  Her students describe her as unreservedly generous with her time and advice regarding career options and expectations.  “What young scientists really need to learn is how to think independently,” says Dr. Belfort.  To do this, she creates a laboratory environment where mistakes are viewed as a learning opportunity so students can freely “engage in an exploration.”  [More...]




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