Protein Acrobatics Group

Group 2012
Group 2013
Group 2014

Current Members

Sivaraj (Shiv) Sivaramakrishnan, PI



Rizal Hariadi, Postdoctoral Associate

Rizal received his Ph.D. in applied physics from Caltech for his dissertation on "Non-equilibrium Dynamics of DNA Nanotubes." His scientific interest lies at the interface between DNA nanotechnology and molecular biology, in particular about the role of geometrical organization on the collective behavior of protein motors. For additional information, please visit Rizal's website.


Ruth Sommese, Postdoctoral Associate

Ruth received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Stanford University on "Understanding the molecular mechanisms of cardiomyopathy-causing mutations in sarcomeric proteins." She is interested on connecting basic molecular mechanisms to cellular signaling processes.


Tejas Gupte, Postdoctoral Associate

Tejas received a MSC-PhD in cell biology from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS-TIFR), Bangalore, India studying the process of mitochondrial membrane fusion. Following this he worked with John Mercer on understanding the molecular mechanism of inherited cardiomyopathy caused by single amino acid substitutions in tropomyosin. Now, as a Career Development Fellow, he looks forward to combining biochemical and cell biological approaches to understand cellular processes.


Rabia Malik, Graduate Student

Cell and Developmental Biology. Rabia graduated from Cornell University in 2007 with a B.A. in Biochemistry. She is currently building FRET sensors to detect activation of enzymes that participate in cell signaling.

Carter Swanson, Graduate Student

Biophysics Program. Carter graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2010 with a B.S. in Biochemistry. He is interested in engineering protein function as a true protein acrobat. Although he believes it's "irresponsible horseplay" to do flips alongside one's protein.


Mike Ritt, Research Assistant

Mike graduated from Michigan State University in 2010 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Mike is currently working on engineering proteins to regulate autoinhibition in enzymes. In his time away from the lab, Mike enjoys hockey, music and, thinking about being back in lab.


Ansley Semack, Research Assistant

Ansley recently graduated from the University of Michigan in May 2014 with a B.S. in Biology. She is currently working with Rabia to explore GPCR signaling pathways within cells. Ansley is an avid sailor, competing throughout the year with her dad in Detroit and across the country. Go Blue!


Mario Cale, Undergraduate Student

College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Biophysics, B.S., 2015. Mario is an enthusiast philosopher. He likes eggs, loves sweets, but absolutely abhors brussels sprouts. He also has zero spice-tolerance. Mario can be found at the bench working alongside Rizal on DNA origami or coding on Mathematica.


Patrick Comer, Undergraduate Student

College of Engineering, Biophysics, B.S., 2016. Patrick is also a UROP member. He is currently working with Mike on developing tools to shed insight into neuronal signaling. For the rest us of who are watching Patrick develop as a young scientist under Mike's mentorship, we are struck by the similarities in their personalities and characteristics. Some of us believe that they were twin brothers separated at birth.


Abhinav Appukutty, Undergraduate Student

College of Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, B.S., 2017. Abhi (rarely goes by Abhinav) is currently working with on DNA origami.


Past Members


Barath Udayasuryan, Master's Student

College of Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, M.S., 2013; B.Tech. Biotechnology, Anna University in India. Barath successfully completed his Masters in May 2013. Good luck Barath!


Arvind Narayan, Undergraduate Student

College of Engineering, Biophysics, B.S., 2016.


Brandon Vargo, Undergraduate Student

College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Biophysics, Minor - General Philosophy, B.S., 2014.

Will Wang, Undergraduate Student

Ross School of Business, Business, B.B.A., 2012. After working as a Research Assistant in the Susan Steinberg Lab at Columbia University, Will has decided to go to University of Pittsburgh Medical School.

Terrence Tigney, Undergraduate Student

College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Molecular and Cell Biology, B.S., 2015.

Kendal Noonan, Undergraduate Student

College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Neuroscience, B.S., 2013.