Lab Personnel

Megan E. Filbin, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Along with teaching CHE 4310 Biochemistry I, I lead an NIH-funded undergraduate research group. Working alongside my undergraduate research assistants, I am looking at how ribosome function is directly manipulated to allow spatially segregated translation within regions of the neuron.

I am also passionate about inclusion and equity in STEM. I co-founded MSU Denver’s annual Women in STEM Conference and I currently serve on the ASBMB’s Women in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Committee. I am an affiliate faculty member in the RNA Bioscience Initiative at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus with a focus on providing opportunities for undergraduates (particularly those who have been historically excluded from STEM) to participate in advanced research and discover pathways to science careers. I am also a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee within the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at MSU Denver.

Current Members

John Manalastas, B.S. Health, Leisure & Exercise Science 2014 | Biochemistry 2022

I am currently working on identifying the roles of unstructured proteins that regulate local ribosomal protein synthesis in neurons. This involves mutagenesis, cloning, recombinant protein expression and purifying these cytoplasmic proteins. The ability of these proteins to regulation translation are measured via in vitro luciferase and pull-down assays. I’m a biochemistry major and planning to pursue a career in research and/or medicine.

Nathan Nowling, B.S. Biochemistry 2018 | Biology 2021

My current research involves looking at the putative structure of a suspected intrinsically disordered protein using NMR spectroscopy and elucidating its role in regulating translational control of developing axons in neuronal cells. I am collaborating with the Vögeli lab at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. My research combines: sub-cloning, recombinant protein purification, and NMR analysis. The ambiguous but highly specific nature this protein utilizes to stall translation has insight into questions about the process of regulating translational machinery. I have two Bachelors Degrees one in Biochemistry the other in Biology. I plan to continue my education into graduate school to pursue a research-based career.

Julie Lee Biology 2022

I am working on a joint project with Liheng Zhou. We are identifying important nucleotides in a viral 3’ cap-independent translation enhancer (CITE) using the luciferase gene and bioluminescence as a reporter for translation. I am currently a junior at MSU Denver majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry and Piano performance. I am planning to graduate in December 2022 and attend medical school. 

Liheng Zhou Chemistry 2022 | Biology 2022

Our goal is to investigate how mutations in viral 3′ cap-independent translation enhancer (CITE) impacts the synthesis of a luciferase protein using mutagenic PCR, making mRNA and measuring the amounts of translated luciferase protein via bioluminescence. I plan to attend medical school after graduating from MSU Denver.

Zach Zimmerman ACS Chemistry 2022

I am working on a project focusing on the synthesis, purification, and development of new synthetic techniques involving Selective 2’-Hydroxyl Acylation analyzed by Primer Extension (SHAPE) probes, specifically in relation to 2-methylpyridine-3-carboxylic acid imidazolide (NAI) and 2-aminopyridine-3-carboxylic acid imidazolide (2A3). These probes will then be used to identify secondary structure motifs in flexible or unpaired regions of RNA sequences. I’m majoring in Chemistry, and I plan to graduate in May 2022. After graduation, I’ll be attending CU Boulder’s graduate program with a focus on organic and biological chemistry.

Amy Argabright Biochemistry 2023

I am currently working alongside Nathan to examine the effects of intrinsically disordered proteins on translation inhibition. I just joined the research team so, within that context, I am focusing on increasing my fluency in processes which includes PCR, plasmid purification & recombination, restriction enzyme digests, electrophoresis, spectrophotometry and cell cultures. I am a senior at MSU Denver majoring in biochemistry. I hope to pursue a career in research whether it’s a PhD candidacy or industry.


Jami Parker, B.S. Biochemistry 2021

Jami graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry in the spring of 2021. She has accepted a position as the Director of Product Development and R&D at UMBO, a Denver-based functional mushroom start-up company.

Elizabeth Spear, B.S. Biochemistry 2019

Elizabeth graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry in the fall of 2019. She is currently a first-year graduate student in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine.

Scott-Wesley Bean, B.S. Biochemistry 2018

Scott-Wesley graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Biochemistry in the fall of 2018, and earned top honors in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. He is currently working as a scribe in the Denver metro area as he prepares to apply for medical school.

Jorge Chalit, B.S. Biochemistry, B.A. Psychology 2018

Jorge graduated with dual B.S. in Psychology and Biochemistry in the spring 2018. He is currently a medical scribe in the Emergency Department at Swedish and Sky Ridge Hospitals. Along with DJing, producing music and publishing articles with Groove Medical, Jorge plans to pursue a career in psychiatric medicine and neuroscience research.

Laura Baquero Galvis, B.S. Biology 2017 

Laura graduated with a B.S. in Biology in the fall of 2017. She is currently a Professional Research Assistant in the lab of Dr. Sujatha Jagannathan in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine. She starts graduate school in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program at the University of Washington in the fall of 2021.

Isaiah Jackson, B.S. Biochemistry 2017 

Isaiah earned his B.S. in Biochemistry in 2017. He is currently a Lab Technician for Molecular Products Inc. He plans to apply for M.D./Ph.D. programs with the goal of earning a Ph.D. in Astrophysics.

Dr. Liz Shields, B.S. Business Administration 2010 | Biology 2016 | Pharm.D. 2020

Graduating Cum Laude from Metro in the spring of 2016, Liz earned her second Bachelor’s degree, in Biology. She completed her Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Colorado, Skaggs School of Pharmacy in 2020. Liz is currently a resident pharmacist at Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, UT. Her goal is to move back to Colorado after her residency to work as an inpatient clinical pharmacist.

Evan Morrison, B.S. Chemistry & Philosophy 2016

Evan earned a double-major in Chemistry and Philosophy in spring 2016. He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Molecular Biology Program at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine, in the lab of Dr. Olivia Rissland.

Cesar Garcia, B.S. Chemistry 2016

Cesar graduated in the fall of 2016 with a B.S. in Chemistry with a concentration in Criminalistics. He currently a Lab Technologist II in Research & Development at ADA Carbon Solutions, now Advanced Emissions Solutions (ADAES). He plans to continue working at ADAES with the goal of becoming a lab manager.