Feigenson Lab

Gerald Feigenson

Jerry is a Professor in the Cornell Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. He is the Director of Graduate Studies for the Cornell Field of Biophysics. He received a B.S. in Chemistry from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1968, while learning about research in the surface chemistry laboratory of Sydney Ross, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1974 in the NMR group of Sunney Chan. He joined the Cornell faculty in 1974, after brief postdoctoral study at Oxford University in the fluorescence laboratory of George Radda. He has been a Visiting Professor of Physics at Keio University in Japan with Kazuhiko Kinosita, a Visiting Scholar at Scripps Institution of Oceanography with Vic Vacquier, and an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association.

Rebecca Simpson

PhD student Field of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology. BS in Chemistry, BA in Mathematics, University of Arkansas, (2013).

Rebecca is interested in the interactions that govern phase behavior. She is using fluctuation-based methods to quantify membrane rigidity and line tension. Rebecca is also interested in protein-lipid interactions and the effect of GWALP peptides on phase behavior.

Yi Wen

PhD student, Field of Biochemistry, Molecular & Cell Biology.

Yi Wen works on the joint project between Gerald Feigenson's and Volker Vogt's lab. She is interested in how retroviral particle assembly is driven by multimerization of the Gag protein at the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane, and how the membrane behavior affects retroviral assembly. Using the Rous Sarcoma Virus Gag protein as a model, she is studying Gag assembly on asymmetric giant unilamellar vesicles(GUVs). The GUVs exhibit an asymmetric distribution of lipids across the inner and outer leaflets of the bilayers to mimic biological membranes.

David Ackerman

PhD candidate, field of Biophysics. B.A. in Physics, Math and Integrated Sciences from Northwestern University (2010).

David studies membranes via Molecular Dynamics simulations. His current focus is to analyze phase separation and phase properties of multiple component lipid mixtures. In particular, he is interested in the interactions and transitions that govern phase behavior for a mixture as it goes from macroscopic to nanoscopic phase separation.

Michael Weiner

PhD candidate, field of Physics; B.S. in Physics, Yale University, 2011.

Michael models membranes using Molecular Dynamics. He is especially interested in modeling asymmetric membranes and their phase behavior. He is also interested in the use of coarse-grained models.

Milka Doktorova

PhD candidate, Department of PBSB, Weill Cornell Medical College and Field of Biophysics, Cornell University.

Milka works on a joint project between Jerry Feigenson's and Harel Weinstein's labs. She is interested in membrane asymmetry and its effects on interleaflet coupling and protein-membrane interactions.

Thomas Torng

Biology and Chemistry double major, concentrating in biochemistry, class of 2015.

Thomas is using a 3-dye analog of Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer to determine the phase boundaries of the 4-component DSPC/DOPC/SOPC/Chol lipid system to construct a quarternary phase diagram. Currently, he is trying to determine the right-hand phase boundary between the 1-phase Lo region and the 2-phase Lo+Ld region at low concentrations of cholesterol (less than 0.15 mole fraction).

Jacky Tsai

Postdoctoral associate; PhD, Cornell Universit.y

Jacky’s research is focused on the phase behavior of four-component lipid systems. He is using fluorescence microscopy to study line tension between coexisting liquid-ordered (Lo) and liquid-disordered (Ld) phases.

Nimit Sohoni

Computer Science and Chemistry double major, class of 2016.

Nimit is investigating the phase boundaries of the DSPC/DOPC/DLPC/Cholesterol system by making up GUVs at various compositions. He is interested in biochemistry and computational biology.

Kai Yang

Visiting Scholar, Field of Biophysics, Molecular & Cell Biology.

Kai received his Ph.D. in Soft Matter Physics from Nanjing University in 2009, and now he is an associate Professor of Soochow University, China. He is interested in studying protein-lipid interactions by molecular dynamics, especially the effect of GWALP peptides on the bending behaviors of lipid bilayers.

Thais A. Enoki

Exchange visitor graduate student

PhD candidate, Field of Biophysics - Program in Physics, University of Sao Paulo – Brazil.

Major in Physics - São Paulo State University (2008); Master's degree in Biophysics - University of Sao Paulo (2010)

Thais is studying the partition properties of a transmenbrane peptide (GWALP23) between Lo and Ld phases, in macro and nanoscale systems, (DSPC or bSM/DOPC/Chol ) and (DSPC or bSM/DOPC/Chol), respectively. She used Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET), a high resolution tool, to determine the peptide partition coefficient, since it presents an intrinsic probe (TRP). In addition, she is interested in studying asymmetric GUVs, specially investigation of the roles played by inner and outer leaflet alignments. In her PhD program, she is also studying the interaction between antimicrobial peptides and model membranes.

Past members

Aaron Troy

Biology and History double major, class of 2016.

Sanjula Wickramasinghe

Biology and Chemistry double major, class of 2015.

Graduate student at University of Pennsylvania

Shih Lin (Lynda) Goh

PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology.

Postdoc at University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester

Jonathan Amazon

PhD in Biophysics.

Postdoc at Janelia Farm

Sarah Kim

Biology and Chemistry double major, class of 2013.

Graduate student at Johns Hopkins University (Program of Molecular Biophysics)

Susan Duan

Chemistry major, class of 2013.

MD-PhD student at Weill Cornell Medical College

Fred Heberle

PhD in Biophysics.

Research Scientist
Biology and Soft Matter Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Bredesen Center, University of Tennessee

Robin Petruzielo

PhD in Physics.

Agnes Scott College

Thalia Mills

PhD in Physics.

FDA Physicist

Tatyana Konyakhina

PhD in Biophysics.