Research Assistant

Advancing our collective scientific understanding and expanding its value by applying chemical and biological research principles to design and execute complex, globally-relevant research projects.

Education

Education
Jan 2013 - Dec 2015

Ph.D., Chemistry (anticipated)

Jackson State University

Research: Developing gold nanoparticle-coated liposomal drug delivery systems for controlled, combined anti-cancer and anti-bacterial photothermal and chemotherapy

Advisor: Dr. Paresh C. Ray

Jan 2012 - Aug 2013

M.S., Chemistry

Florida Atlantic University

Thesis: Neuroprotection from induced glutamate excitotoxicity by Conus brunneus conopeptides in a stroke-related model.

Advisor: Dr. Frank Marí

Aug 2011 - Dec 2011

Ph.D., Pharmacognosy (Conc.: Pharmaceutical Biotechnology) (transferred)

University of Illinois at Chicago

Research: Worked to validate a mechanism of bacterial acquired antibiotic resistance

Advisors: Dr. Alexander S. Mankin and Dr. Nora Vasquez-Laslop

Aug 2005 - Dec 2010

B.S., Chemistry (Minor: Biological Sciences), Magna Cum Laude

University of Alabama in Huntsville

Research: Isolated, characterized, and modeled small molecule inhibitors of a major cysteine protease in Trypanosoma brucei

Advisor: Dr. William N. Setzer

Work History

Work History
Jan 2013 - Present

Graduate Research Assistant

Jackson State University, Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Responsibilities

  • Design, develop, and execute nanomedicine-based research projects
    • Chemical synthesis, UV-Vis and Fluorescence spectroscopy, Fluorescence imaging, TEM imaging, DLS analysis, Raman spectroscopy, laser source irradiation
    • Cell culture, bacterial culture, sterile technique, cell-based assays
  • Analyze, evaluate, and report results by writing and preparing manuscripts for publication
  • Maintain laboratory equipment and manage (bio)hazardous waste
  • Manage ordering, receiving, and inventory
  • Cooperate, collaborate with colleagues and organize team meetings
  • Mentor and guide new undergraduate and graduate students

Achievements

  • Developed an efficient gold nanoparticle-coated liposomal drug delivery system for controlled, combined anti-cancer photothermal and chemotherapy
  • Formed and nurtured connections and collaborations with researchers in the local region, and nationally and internationally
  • Published 5 co-authored research journal articles (13 citations), and 2 first-author articles in progress
  • Published 1 co-authored book chapter
  • Presented research at 5 local, regional, and national meetings
  • Received 3rd Place Graduate Poster Presentation Award (13th Southern School on Computational Chemistry and Materials Science, Jackson, MS, Aug 2013)
  • Received 4th Place Graduate Poster Presentation Award (Dr. Richard Sullivan Symposium, Jackson, MS, Apr 2014)
  • Defended independent & doctoral research proposals (Nov 2014)
  • Passed all graduate area comprehensive examinations (Mar 2014)
Jan 2014 - May 2014

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Jackson State University, Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Responsibilities

  • Taught 27 undergraduate chemistry students the fundamental tools, techniques, and mathematics-based analysis of chemical research
  • Prepared weekly lessons plans and answer keys
  • Held regular open office hours for students
  • Graded assignments (quizzes, laboratory reports, exams)
  • Maintained safety and discipline in the laboratory
  • Completed several of the laboratory experiments prior to teaching
  • Participated in weekly meetings with supervisor and colleagues
  • Proctored exams for another lab section and for lecture portion of class

Achievements

  • Achieved approximately 90% student success rate
  • Advised, mentored, and tutored students with learning, behavioral, or personal challenges which hindered their success
  • Designed an original short laboratory quiz
  • Designed an original Chemical Kinetics course syllabus
Jan 2012 - Aug 2013

Graduate Research Assistant

Florida Atlantic University, Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Responsibilities

  • Developed and executed a marine natural product-based research project for isolation and characterization of neurologically protective peptides for treatment of stroke
    • Size-exclusion and High Performance Liquid Chromatography, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption / Ionization Mass Spectrometry, Nano Drop
    • Primary cell collection and culture, immortalized cell culture, sterile technique, cell-based assays, Western blot analysis
  • Analyzed, evaluated, and reported results
  • Maintained laboratory equipment and managed (bio)hazardous waste
  • Cooperated, collaborated with colleagues in Dept and in Medical College
  • Prepared, edited, and proofread thesis for publication

Achievements

  • Defended Master's Thesis before a public audience and a 4-member expert committee (Jul 2013)
  • Published Master's Thesis (Dec 2013; purl.flvc.org/fcla/dt/3362331)
  • Isolated and characterized 4 naturally-occurring peptides with potential neurological protection activity in an glutamate excitotoxicity induced stroke model

Jan 2012 - Dec 2012

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Florida Atlantic University, Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Responsibilities

  • Taught 2 sections of approx. 25 students per section for 2 semesters
  • Taught undergraduate chemistry students the fundamental laboratory and computational tools, techniques, and mathematics-based analysis of chemical research
  • Maintained safety and discipline in the laboratory
  • Prepared weekly lessons plans, answer keys, and quizzes
  • Held regular open office hours for students
  • Graded assignments (quizzes, laboratory reports, exams)
  • Posted documents, grades and attendance information using Blackboard online learning platform
  • Completed all (10) laboratory experiments prior to teaching
  • Participated in weekly meetings with supervisor and colleagues
  • Proctored 2 of 4 exams for lecture portion of class

Achievements

  • Achieved approximately 90% student success rate
  • Advised, mentored, and tutored students with learning, behavioral, or personal challenges which hindered success
  • Designed original short laboratory quizzes for each experiment

Aug 2011 - Dec 2011

Graduate Research Assistant

University of Chicago at Illinois, Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

Responsibilities

  • Collaborated with other graduate students to carry out molecular biology and microbiology-based experiments for validation of a proposed mechanism of bacterial antibiotic resistance via a frame shift in an inducible resistance gene
    • Bacterial culture, sterile technique, MIC and bioluminescence- based viability assays
    • Primer design, polymerase chain reaction, gel electrophoresis, electroporation, DNA transformation

Achievements

  • Determined minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 2 antibiotics in S. aureus
  • Presented and defended research at a public Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology meeting of approx. 100 people

Aug 2011 - Dec 2011

Graduate Teaching Assistant

University of Chicago at Illinois, College of Pharmacy

Fundamentals of Drug Action III, Teaching Assistant

Responsibilities

  • Assisted lecture professors by making copies of presentation slides, handouts, and exams and by initiating and maintaining microphone and distance-learning video and audio communication with a satellite location
  • Attended 1/3 classroom lectures (5 weeks, 2X per week for 50 min)
  • Acted as liaison between approx. 250 students, 10 lecturers, and  course administrator for issues of grades, course schedule and student expectations
  • Proctored all 4 course examinations

Achievements

  • Ensured electronic copies of all class materials were obtained from lecturers 2-3 weeks in advance
  • Cooperated with colleagues in copy center to ensure printing was completed 2-3 days in advance
  • Troubleshooted issues that periodically arose due to in-room or telecommunications
May 2009 - Jul 2011

Undergraduate Research Assistant

University of Alabama in Huntsville, Dept. of Chemistry

Responsibilities

  • Collaborated with graduate students to carry out natural products research
    • Flash column chromatography, Thin-Layer Chromatography, Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry, High Performance Liquid Chromatography, Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy
    • Enzyme-based fluorescence assays
    • Computational modeling of protein-small molecule interactions
  • Acquired basic chemistry laboratory skills
  • Maintained common equipment
  • Assisted in editing/proofreading manuscripts

Achievements

  • Published 4 research journal articles (13 citations)
  • Isolated and characterized small molecules from tropical plant extracts obtained during field collections in Costa Rica cloud forest with potential anti-trypanosomal activity
  • Determined chemical composition of several essential oil extracts
Aug 2009 - Dec 2010

Undergraduate Teaching Assistant

University of Alabama in Huntsville, Dept. of Chemistry

Responsibilities

  • Taught 1-2 sections of approx. 25 students per section for 3 semesters
  • Taught undergraduate chemistry students the fundamental laboratory tools, techniques, and mathematics-based analysis of general chemical and organic chemistry research
  • Maintained safety and discipline in the laboratory
  • Prepared weekly lessons plans, answer keys, and quizzes
  • Held regular open office hours for students
  • Graded assignments (quizzes, laboratory reports, exams)
  • Posted grades and attendance information using Angel and Blackboard online learning platforms

Achievements

  • Achieved approximately 90% student success rate
  • Advised, mentored, and tutored students with learning challenges which hindered success
  • Designed original short laboratory quizzes for each experiment

Professional Certification & Training

  • CITI Responsible Conduct of Research (updated Jun 2015)
  • Fire Hazard Training (updated Mar 2015)
  • (Bio)Hazardous Waste Disposal Training (updated Mar 2015)

Professional & Volunteer Activities

2014 Nov 10-11                                          NSF Site Inspection, Jackson State University, Graduate Co-coordinator

2014 Feb 28                                                 8th Annual CSET Research Symposium, Jackson State University, Poster Judge

2014 Mar 18-19 & 2013 Mar 21-22       The Mississippi Science and Engineering Fair - Region II, Hosted by Jackson State

                                                                         University, Judge

Honors & Awards

Aug 2013                  3rd Place Graduate Poster Presentation Award, 13th Southern School on Computational Chemistry

                                    and Materials Science, Jackson, MS

Apr 2014                  4th Place Graduate Poster Presentation Award, Dr. Richard Sullivan Symposium, Jackson, MS

Jul 2010                   Phytochemical Society of North America Student Travel Award, 51st Annual Meeting of American

                                   Society of Pharmacognosy/Phytochemical Society of North America, St. Petersburg, FL

Dec 2010                 Magna Cum Laude, University of Alabama in Huntsville

2006-2010              Dean's List, University of Alabama in Huntsville

2005-2009              University of Alabama in Huntsville Foundation Presidential Scholarship (full tuition and fees)

Professional Organizations

2014 Jan - present             Graduate Student Association, Jackson State University, Member

2012 Oct - 2013 Aug          College of Science Graduate Association, Florida Atlantic University, Dept. of Chemistry &

                                                  Biochemistry Alternative Representative

2009 - present                     American Chemical Society, Member

2008 - present                     Phi Kappa Phi, Member

2006 - present                     Alpha Lambda Delta, Member

Research Presentations

  • Liposome-nanoparticle hybrids for combined cancer therapy applications. Crouch RA* and Ray PC. 248th ACS National Meeting, San Francisco, California, Aug 10-14, 2014.
  • Liposome-nanoparticle hybrids for combined cancer therapy applications. Crouch RA* and Ray PC. Symposium in Honor of Dr. Richard Sullivan, Jackson, Mississippi, Apr 25, 2014.
  • Synthesis of liposome-nanoparticle hybrids for biological applications. Crouch RA* and Ray PC. 13th Southern School on Computational Chemistry & Materials Science, Jackson, Mississippi, Aug 1-2, 2013.
  • Isolation, characterization, and bioactivities of prenylated isoflavonoids from Rhynchosia edulis. Vogler BWG*, Ogungbe IV, Hill GM, Crouch RA, Nagarkoti M, Haber WA and Setzer WN. 50th Anniversary Meeting of the Phytochemical Society of North America, Waikoloa Beach,  Hawaii, Dec 10-15, 2011.
  • Trypanosome cysteine protease inhibition by (-)-bornyl esters. Ogungbe IV*, Crouch RA* and Setzer WN. 51st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Pharmacognosy & Phytochemical Society of North America, St. Petersburg, Florida, Jul 10-15, 2010.
  • Anti-rhodesain activity of natural products in plants. Ogungbe IV*, Crouch RA and Setzer WN. 61st Southeastern Regional ACS Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct 21-24, 2009.
  • Chemical compositions of the leaf and bark essential oils of Verbesina turbacensis from Monteverde, Costa Rica. Crouch RA*, Washington VD, Haber WA and Setzer WN. 61st Southern Regional ACS Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct 21-24, 2009.

Research Publications

  1. Shi Y, Pramanik A, Tchounwou C, Pedraza F, Crouch RA, Chavva SR, Vangara A, Sinha SS, Jones SJ, Sardar D, Hawker C and Ray PC. Multifunctional biocompatible graphene oxide quantum dots decorated magnetic nanoplatform for efficient capture and two-photon imaging of rare tumor cells. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2015 May 27; 7(20): 10935-43.
  2. Chavva SR, Pramanik A, Nellore BPV, Sinha SS, Yust B, Kanchanapally R, Fan Z, Crouch RA, Singh AK, Neyland B, Robinson K, Dai X, Sardar D, Lu Y and Ray PC. Theranostic graphene oxide for prostate cancer detection and treatment. Part Part Syst Charact. 2014 Dec 01; 31(12): 1252-9.
  3. Ogungbe IV, Crouch RA and Demeritte T. (-) Arctigenin and (+) pinoresinol are antagonists of the human thyroid hormone receptor ß. J Chem Inf Model. 2014 Nov 24; 54(11): 3051-5.
  4. Fan Z, Yust B, Nellore BPV, Sinha SS, Kanchanapally R, Crouch RA, Pramanik A, Chavva SR, Sardar D and Ray PC. Accurate identification and selective removal of Rotavirus using a plasmonic–magnetic 3D graphene oxide architecture. J Phys Chem Lett. 2014 Sept 04; 5(18): 3216-21.
  5. Kanchanapally R, Fan Z, Wesley W, Nellore BPV, Crouch RA, Sinha SS, Pramanik A, Chavva SR and Ray PC. Chapter 9: Detection of Melamine from Food in Parts per Quadrillion Level Using Functionalized Graphene Oxide-Gold Nanoparticle Hybrid SERS Platform. Food Poisoning. Ed: Paresh C. Ray. Nova Sci Pub Inc., 2014: pp. 239-54.
  6. Ray PC, Fan Z, Crouch RA, Sinha SS and Pramanik A. Nanoscopic optical rulers beyond the FRET distance limit: fundamentals and applications. Chem Soc Rev. 2014 Sept 07; 43(17): 6370-404.
  7. Crouch RA. Neuroprotection from induced glutamate excitotoxicity by Conus brunneus conopeptides in a stroke-related model. Thesis (M.S.)—Florida Atlantic University, 2013: 98 pp
  8. Ali NA, Al-Fatimi MA, Crouch RA, Denkert A, Setzer WN and Wessjohann L. Antimicrobial, antioxidant, and cytotoxic activities of the essential oil of Tarchonanthus camphoratus. Nat Prod Commun. 2013 Mar 23; 8(5): 683-6.
  9. Ali NA, Crouch RA, Al-Fatimi MA, Arnold N, Teichert A, Setzer WN and Wessjohann L. Chemical composition, antimicrobial, antiradical and anticholinesterase activity of the essential oil of Pulicaria stephanocarpa from Soqotra. Nat Prod Commun. 2012 Jan 01; 7(1): 113-6.
  10. Ogungbe IV, Hill GM, Crouch RA, Vogler B, Nagarkoti M, Haber WA and Setzer WN. Prenylated isoflavonoids from Rhynchosia edulis. Nat Prod Commun. 2011 Nov 01; 6(11): 1637-44.
  11. Ogungbe IV, Crouch RA, Haber WA and Setzer WN. Phytochemical investigation of Verbesina turbacensis Kunth: trypanosome cysteine protease inhibition by (-)-bornyl esters. Nat Prod Commun. 2010 Aug 01; 5(8): 1161-6.