Landers Group People 

Front Row (Left to Right): Jingyi Li, Francisco Lara, Yiwen Ouyang, Jenny Lounsbury, Natalie Coult, Jessica, Mackness, Grace LeDuc, Qian Liu
Middle Row (Left to Right): Brian Poe, Kyudam Oh, Gabriela Duarte
Back Row (Left to Right): James Landers, Brett Melnikoff, Dan Leslie, Josh Higginson, Kristin Hagan, Carmen Reedy, Briony Strachan, Shanti Nambiar, Kerui Xu

Current Members

Graduate Students

Jenny Lounsbury

5th-year Ph.D. Candidate

2007-Present: Graduate student, University of Virginia
2007: M.S. Forensic Science, University of New Haven
2005: B.S. Chemistry, Utica College

E-mail Jenny

  My research focuses on sample preparation and DNA amplification processes involved in forensic DNA typing. Sexual assault samples are unique samples in that the two cell types usually present, male sperm cells and female epithelial cells, can be readily separated. However, the male DNA from the sperm cells is normally outnumbered by the female DNA from the epithelial cells, so it is imperative that as many sperm cells as possible are recovered. Part of my work focuses on improving the recovery of sperm cells from a cotton swab matrix, while simultaneously lysing the female epithelial cells.
  Another aspect of my research focuses on expediting DNA extraction and amplification. A phase-less DNA purification method, which does not require any type of silica-based solid phase, is used to prepare samples for direct transfer to PCR in approximately twenty minutes.  DNA amplification time can be reduced using specially modified polymerases in combination with the use of a microfludic device, which significantly lowers sample and reagent volume. These changes allow overall thermal cycling times to be decreased to as little as forty minutes.

 Brian Poe

5th-year Ph.D. Candidate

2007-Present: Graduate student, University of Virginia

2006: B.S. Biochemistry, Virginia Tech
2006: B.S. Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech

E-mail Brian

  In our lab, we work towards developing microfluidic devices for rapid, inexpensive and portable genetic testing. I have been developing PCR-based assays for pharmacogenetic testing for warfarin therapy initiation. To house this assay and others, I fabricate and operate microfluidic devices in glass and polymeric materials.

Jingyi Li
4th-year Ph.D. Candidate

2008-Present: Graduate student, University of Virginia
2008: M.S. Chemistry, University of Minnesota
2006: B.S. Chemistry, Tianjin University (China)

E-mail Jingyi

   I am trying to develop a novel, label-free, visual detection method for polymeric molecules, such as DNA. Magnetic beads aggregate in a rotating external magnetic field when interacting with human genomic DNA and other polymers. Only a small amount of magnetic beads is required for detection and the interaction between beads and analyte is limited only by the surface chemistry. Quantitative information can also be extracted from these experiments. All of these merits make this technique simple, but versatile and specific for a variety of polymeric analytes.

Yiwen Ouyang

3rd-year Ph.D. Candidate

2009-Present: Graduate student, University of Virginia

2009: B.S. Chemistry, Wuhan University (China)

E-mail Yiwen


  Instead of using a traditional glass substrate, I use transparent
polyester sheets to construct the channels using toner as the adhesive to bond the sheets. Since the fabrication process is inexpensive and quick, polyester-toner chips are an ideal candidate for disposable microfluidic devices. I am currently working on integration of dynamic solid phase extraction and IR-PCR amplification on a single polyester-toner chip. At the same time, I am also trying to adapt IR-mediated thermal cycling for multi-chamber amplification reactions on a single polyester-toner chip.

Briony Strachan

3rd-year Ph.D. Candidate

2009-Present: Graduate student, University of Virginia
2009: M.Sci. (Hons.) 1st Class - Forensic & Analytical Science, University of Huddersfield (UK)
2005: B.A. (Hons.) Upper 2nd - Film & Media Studies, University of Stirling (UK)

E-mail Briony

  I am currently developing a label free method for the detection and quantitation of specific DNA sequences in a simple, cheap, rapid and low-tech manner. Utilizing streptavidin-coated paramagnetic particles, a rotating magnetic field and optical imaging DNA can be detection through hybridization to oligonucleotides adducted to the bead surface. Hybridization causes the beads to aggregate, visually confirming the presence of a specific sequence in atto-molar quantities. This presents an ideal solution for diagnostic testing and food and water safety screening in resource limited areas as well as providing swift information in criminalistics and pharmaceuticals.

Kerui Xu

3rd-year Ph.D. Candidate

2009-Present: Graduate student, University of Virginia

2009: B.S. Chemistry, Peking University (China)

E-mail Keru


  I'm working on the application of microfluidic circuits, in which a microfluidic device is manipulated as an electronic circuit device, based on the physical analogy between electric current and fluid flow. Microfluidic circuits have been investigated as potential tool for flow control in microfluidic devices in our lab (Leslie, et al. 2009) and I am going to seek more advantages of it. My latest project is to develop a non-contact sampler circuit based on microfluidic capacitor.

Kyudam Oh

4th-year Ph.D. Candidate 

2008-Present: Graduate student, University of Virginia

2006: M.S. University of Pennsylvania
         B.S. Sungkyunkwan University (Korea)

E-mail Kyudam


 My research is mainly focused on droplet-based microfluidics for biomedical applications.  Many chemical and biological processes such as DNA amplification, protein expression, enzyme reaction, and cell growth can be easily compartmentalized inside single droplets which are further manipulated (mixing, merging, splitting, and sorting etc.) for any application on the same microchip. In addition, I am trying to miniaturize and integrate the function of the genetic analyzer into a portable unit the size of the mobile equipment such as a cellular phone using low power microwave heating inside micro-channels and chambers.

Dan Nelson

2nd-year Graduate Student

2010-Present: Graduate student, University of Virginia
2010: B.S. Chemistry - Colorado State University

E-mail Dan

  My undergraduate work focused on applying microfluidics to aerosol analysis, specifically separating carbohydrates using microchip capillary electrophoresis with electrochemical detection. Here at UVA, I am working on the separation and isolation of circulatory tumor cells (CTCs) from whole blood on a microfluidic device using acoustic waves. Acoustic waves have the ability to focus particles based on size, and we are trying to use this as a way to focus CTCs and then remove them from whole blood samples. I am also working with Kyudam on the formation of droplets in a microfluidic device for single cell isolation and PCR amplification.

Qian Liu

2nd-year Graduate Student

2010-Present: Graduate student, University of Virginia

2009: B.S. Material Chemistry, NanKai University (China)

E-mail Qian



  Microchips made from transparency sheets and laser printer toner are cheap, disposable and easy to make (only takes several minutes to fabricate), in comparison to traditional materials such as glass. Despite these merits, these microchips suffer from leakage due to the porosity of the toner. I'm working on developing an optimal toner to act as the adhesive between layers through the study of the various brands and colors of toner cartridges.

Kimberly Jackson

1st-year Graduate Student

2011-Present: Graduate student, University of Virginia

2011: B.S. Chemistry, Virginia Tech

E-mail Kim

Hillary Sloane

1st-year Graduate Student

2011-Present: Graduate student, University of Virginia

2011: B.S. Chemistry/Biochemistry, University of Virginia

E-mail Hillary

Undergraduate Studnets
Zorik Keshishian, Hussein Alshammari, Jonathan Armstrong, Stephen CronkRebecca Dudley, Jacob Lee, and Paul Riehl.

Former Members

Graduate Students
Huijun Tian, Ph.D.
Nicole Munro, Ph.D.
Amy Biesler, M.S.
Andrea Gerstl, M.S.
James Palmer, Ph.D.
Kelley Wolfe, M.S.
Joshua Saunders, M.S.
Claire Givens, M.S.
Braden Giordano, Ph.D.
Rachel McConnell, M.A.
Michael Orlando, M.A.
Chris Easley, Ph.D.
James Karlinsey, Ph.D.
Joan Bienvenue, Ph.D.
Katie Horsman, Ph.D.
Lindsay Legendre, Ph.D.
Jian Wen, Ph.D.
Jessica Norris, Ph.D.
Daniel Marchiarullo, Ph.D.
Ling Huang, Ph.D.
Daniel Leslie, Ph.D.
Kristin Hagan, Ph.D. 
Carmen Reedy, Ph.D. 

Postdoctoral Fellows
Dr. Zhili Huang
Dr. Lianji Jin
Dr. Michael Breadmore
Dr. Qirong Wu
Dr. Yien Kwok
Dr. Guihua Yue
Dr. Mary Powers
Dr. Weidong Cao
Dr. Jennifer Dian-Monahan
Dr. Michael Roper
Dr. Christelle Guillo
Dr. Susan Barker
Dr. Perrti Viskari
Dr. Erkin Seker

Dr. Carol Price
Dr. Francisco Lara 
Dr. Murali Ghatkesar

Sabbatical Researchers
Prof. Dan Morris (Rose-Hulman)
Prof. Timothy Strein (Bucknell)
Prof. Mitchell Johnson (Duquesne)
Prof. Brian Augustine (JMU)

International Researchers
Shou Mei Wu, Mariana Surmeian, Perihan Caglar, Nurgul Malcik, Izaskun Lacunza, Pablo Lujan, Gabriela Duarte.

Undergraduate Students
Abigail Couch, Dana Dicks, Alex Dahlgren, Wayne Lueng, Imee Garcia-Arcibal, Shadi Kouresh, Kymberly Forrest, Benjamin Hassan, Samir Ibrahim, Casandra Hernandez, Catherine Balchunas, Spencer Allen, Meade Spratley, Megan Frisk, Katherine Koen, Janeen Oberlander, Natalie Evans, Noah Prescott, Erika Stiene, Chrystal Lopez, David Finkler, Brittany Riggle, Sarah Ebmeier, Josh Higginson, Natalie Coult, Grace LeDuc,  Abigail Pulsipher, Chris Ferenc, Greg Weingart, Nikhil Khicha, Sameer Kaiser, Linda Lee, Nathan,  Westcott, Sarah Linke, John Wass, Saumil Vaghela, Alex Greene, Carleen Morris, Cecilia Jiang, Ji Lim, Travis Hartberger, Katherine Jarosz, Helina Cunniffe, Whitney Meier, Vicky Wilde, Erin Ebaugh, Patrick LeDuc, Farley Will, Sarah Croessmann, Shanti Nambiar, Grete Karuso, and Jessica Mackness, Michael Do, Brett Melnikoff, Daniel Miranian, and Arjun Ramesh.

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