The Center for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy is run by a team of talented researchers, engineers, and students, led by Dr. Stanley Opella.

You can send an email to a team member by clicking on his/her name.

Stanley Opella

Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD
Director, NIH Center for NMR Spectroscopy and Imaging of Proteins at UCSD

Stanley Opella was born in Summit, NJ. He obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Kentucky in 1969. His Ph.D. was received from Stanford University in 1974, where he studied proteins in solution by NMR spectroscopy with Oleg Jardetzky and Harden McConnell. He was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT 1975−1976 in the group of John Waugh, where he performed research involving solid-state NMR spectroscopy. He was on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania from 1976 to 2000 and is currently Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego, where his research is focused on the development of NMR and its application to proteins. The Opella lab research centers on obtaining high-resolution structures of intact, large membrane proteins in their native environment. Professor Opella has served as editor in chief for the Journal of Magnetic Resonance for 13 years and published over 200 research papers.

Sang Ho Park

Project scientist, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD

Dr. Park has over 20 years of experience of full-time biochemical research with a broad background in biochemistry and NMR spectroscopy. He has expertise in molecular biology to express, purify and refold the functional membrane proteins including G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and in NMR spectroscopy to perform and evaluate the experiments. His primary research interest focuses on developing NMR sample preparation and experimental methods for structure determination of GPCRs in their native phospholipid bilayer environment to understand their structure-function relationships and to develop the GPCR-targeted medicines.

Anna De Angelis

Associate Project Scientist, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD

Dr. De Angelis is interested in membrane proteins and NMR Spectroscopy, and her research focuses of studies of G-protein-coupled receptors by solid-state NMR. She was born in Italy and obtained her B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry at the University ‘La Sapienza’ of Rome, Italy, and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at UC Irvine. Anna is responsible for organizing the collaborations and service programs of the NIH Center for NMR Spectroscopy and Imaging of Proteins at UCSD, and is responsible for the Center’s training, outreach and dissemination activities.

Ratan Rai

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD

Dr. Ratan Rai received his Ph.D. from Center of Biomedical Research/ Integral University, India in 2014. His graduate research has been focused on structural study of absolute native collagen interface, hydration study of bacteriophage Pf1, development of two dimensional (2D) NMR Methods for quantification of body fluids.  His current research interests are in solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR), including pulse sequence development, non-uniform sampling and application to study membrane proteins and dynamics.

Luis Basso

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD

Luis obtained his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Physics at University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. During his Ph.D., he spent one year in the laboratory of Prof. Benoît Roux, University of Chicago, investigating the unfolding pathway of the Kv1.2 potassium channel embedded in lipid bilayers by free energy molecular dynamics simulations. His research focuses on studying the interactions of membrane peptides and membranes proteins with lipid bilayers by a wide range of biophysical methods such as electron spin resonance, static and time-resolved fluorescence, circular dichroism, isothermal titration calorimetry and differential scanning calorimetry. He joined the Opella lab as Visiting Scholar to conduct research on solid-state NMR of membrane-interacting and membrane-spanning peptides from the Spike glycoprotein of SARS coronavirus. Since fusion peptides and transmembrane domains of viral proteins play essential roles in viral entry, their structural elucidation is crucial to understand the mechanism of peptide action.

Thach (Cody) Can

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD

Cody grew up in Hanoi, Vietnam before coming to the US for graduate school. He received a Master in Physics from Florida State University, and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from MIT in the laboratory of Robert Griffin. In the Opella lab, Cody is developing solid-state NMR spectroscopy methods to investigate the interactions between the G-protein-coupled receptor CXCR1 and its ligand IL-8.

Sabrina Berkamp

Graduate Student Researcher, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD

Sabrina Berkamp received both her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Master’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences from Utrecht University, the Netherlands. She performed her Master’s research in a lab that studied immune evasion by Herpes viruses and wrote a Master’s thesis on biophysical methods to study Intrinsically Disordered Proteins. She joined the Opella lab in 2011. Her PhD research focuses on the study of the chemokine Interleukin-8. She is particularly interested to study the structural and dynamical changes in IL-8 when it binds to the G Protein-Coupled Receptor CXCR1. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, learning new languages and reading.

Zheng Long

Graduate Student Researcher, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD

I came to the US in 2006 to attend Penn State University to study chemistry and molecular biology. I am interested in protein NMR spectroscopy, and I am very passionate about the study of challenging proteins. The Opella lab provided a great environment for me to study the structure and function of 7-transmembrane domain receptor proteins using NMR spectroscopy. I love my research!


Graduate Student Researcher, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD

Jasmina received her B.S. in Chemistry at the University of California, San Diego, following which she joined the Opella lab as a graduate student. She is working on the GPCR project and is interested in studying the interactions of the G-protein coupled receptor CXCR1 with its associated G-protein.

Jiaqian (Emily) Wu

Graduate Student Researcher, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD

Jiaqian Wu received her bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry both in Nanjing Tech University, China and at the University of Sheffield, UK. She joined the Opella Lab in 2018. Her MS research focuses on mercury transporter proteins and on optimization of membrane protein samples for solid state NMR. She is currently working on the transmembrane alpha-helical MerFt protein and using it to understand the sample-dependent causes of line broadening in magnetically aligned solid state NMR spectra.

Youjeong (Yui) Na

Undergraduate Research Associate, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD

Yui is a passionate third year pharmacological chemistry major at UCSD. She is interested in studying ligand binding interactions of membrane proteins and is currently working on Neurotensin Receptor 1 (NTR1). Yui’s goal is to obtain structural information of the NTR1 protein with NMR spectroscopy. She is grateful that she can learn beyond the textbook in the Opella lab.

Lily Can

Lab Mascot

Lily is an 8-year old Pomeranian canine and comes from the Francis Bitter Magnet Lab at MIT. Highly communicative, she will wag her tail when results are publication-worthy. She enjoys walks and cuddles and brings joy to the Opella lab.

Rasheed I. Al Kotob

Web Applications Developer

Rasheed provides website design and maintenance services for the Center for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy & Protein Imaging.  He joined the team in the summer of 2016 and has enjoyed working closely with members of the team to share their impressive work with the rest of the world online. In addition to working with Dr. Opella’s team, Rasheed provides web development and digital communications consultation services to a number of faculty and labs around UC San Diego including, but not limited to, Dr Elizabeth Winzeler at the School of Medicine, The Weibel Lab at the Jacobs School of Engineering, and EPARC (Exercise and Physical Activity Resource Center) at the Qualcomm Institute. He is also an Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Health Data Exploration Project at Calit2, and is a Chancellor’s Interdisciplinary Collaboratory Fellow for the CORE Project at the School of Medicine. Rasheed is currently working towards his undergraduate degree in NanoEngineering with a focus in Materials Science through the Jacobs School of Engineering at UCSD and is due to graduate in the Spring of 2018.

Former Lab Members

Megan (Mignon) Chu

Graduate Student Researcher, Department of Biology, UCSD

Megan is a graduate student researcher in the Department of Biology of the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program. She graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry/Cell Biology from UCSD. Her current research is in studying the structure and dynamics of the membrane protein TcdE found in pathogenic strains of Clostridium difficile using solution- and solid-state NMR. Outside of the lab, Megan’s extracurricular activities include training for marathons and volunteering for the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. She is also involved in the grad life on-campus, serving as one of the graduate student representatives for the biology department as well as sitting on the Academic Judicial Committee and the University Centers Advisory Board.

Jae-Heon Kim

Undergraduate Research Associate, Department of Engineering, UCSD

Jae-Heon is a fourth year undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering. He is  also a passionate student who strives to research proteins. He is working on overexpressing and characterizing proteins, and making Nanodiscs. In the Opella laboratory he has learned how to produce Membrane Scaffold Protein, TEV Protease, and Dimeric Membrane Scaffold Protein. He feels very grateful that the Opella lab has offered me this great research opportunity. He is looking forward to learn more new expertise.

Katie Parker

Administrative Assistant

Katie provides executive-level administrative support for Stanley Opella and the members of his research group in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCSD.  Some of her responsibilities include assisting with grant applications and reports, as well as the management of various fund accounts, lab related events and travel coordination, and is responsible for day-to-day office management. Prior to joining Dr. Opella’s team, she spent three-years working for a local logistics center handling product quality control, inventory management, and international shipping.  In 2009, She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in History emphasizing in Late-antiquity. “Go Bears!”

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