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Beckman Scholars




VU Beckman Scholar: Shinawi Tesniem

B.A., Chemistry (anticipated), 2012, Vanderbilt University
Born and raised in Murfreesboro, TN. Tesniem arrived in Nashville in 2008 to matriculate at Vanderbilt University. She began her research in Professor David Cliffel’s laboratory in 2009, experimenting with fluorescent dyes and their effects on cellular metabolism. She has utilized the multianalyte microphysiometer, developed in the Cliffel laboratory, to make simultaneous electrochemical measurements of extracellular metabolites. She studied analytes central to the chemical energy cycle, glucose, lactate, oxygen, and pH in order to determine the effects of nucleic acid stains and mitochondrial binding dyes on the metabolism of pheochromocytoma and macrophage cells. In addition to her research in the Cliffel laboratory, she enjoys participating in and coordinating community service events at Vanderbilt University.


VU Beckman Scholar Mentor: Prof. David Cliffel, Department of Chemistry

David Cliffel received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the University of Dayton in 1992. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1998 from the University of Texas at Austin under the direction of Professor Allen J. Bard focusing on scanning electrochemical microscopy and fullerenes. He then joined the research group of Professor Royce W. Murray at the University of North Carolina as a postdoctoral associate working on the electrochemistry of monolayer protected clusters. David started in the Department of Chemistry at Vanderbilt University as an assistant professor in 2000, and was promoted to associate professor in 2007. He has secondary appointments in the Department of Pediatrics and with the Diabetes Research and Training Center and the Integrative Cancer Biology Center within VUMC, and is a faculty fellow in the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education, and a member of the Steering Committee in the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering where he oversees the Biomolecular Nanostructures Laboratory Facility. At Vanderbilt, Cliffel’s research group concentrates on the electrochemical analysis of nanoparticles and of biological cells. The group has explored catalytic properties of monolayer protected platinum clusters, electron transfer kinetics of nanoparticles using scanning electrochemical microscopy, and antibody recognition of monolayer protected clusters, and has developed the multianalyte microphysiometer for metabolic measurements and toxicology.


VU Beckman Scholar: Charlie Xie

B.A., Chemistry, Biological Sciences(anticipated), 2012, Vanderbilt University
B.A., Biomedical Engineering, 2013, Vanderbilt University Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Charlie began his studies at Vanderbilt University as an undergraduate in 2009. In 2010, he began his research experience under the direction of Ellen Fanning, contributing to studies of protein interactions in the initiation of SV40 DNA replication. In addition to performing research through the VU Beckman Scholars Program, he enjoys taking peaceful walks in nature and playing badminton, ping-pong, and foosball.


VU Beckman Scholar Mentor: Ellen Fanning, Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Fanning studied chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and began research there in biochemistry and genetics with Dr. Oliver Smithies. She continued research on protein-DNA interactions with Dr. Benno Mueller-Hill and Dr. Walter Doerfler at the University of Cologne, where she earned an undergraduate Diplom and doctorate. She joined the molecular genetics group at the University of Konstanz with the goal of determining how proteins separate parental DNA strands and coordinately replicate the two strands in human cells and how the process is regulated. As the model system for these studies, she began utilizing a DNA tumor virus mini-chromosome and human cell extracts. In 1981 she was recruited to the Institute for Biochemistry at the University of Munich as a tenured professor, and 1995 to Vanderbilt University as a Stevenson Professor. The Fanning Lab continues to use the viral model system to study the structure and function of human DNA replication proteins, with the long term goal of understanding the interplay between DNA replication and repair pathways to maintain genomic integrity and of uncovering the strategies used by viruses to manipulate these pathways for their own propagation. The Fanning Lab has been the research home of many undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral researchers from around the globe, and enjoys research collaborations with colleagues.

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