Pictured above, the 2012 Branchini Bioluminescence Research Group. Members from left to right: Milton Garrett III '14, Professor Bruce Branchini, Tara Southworth, Justin Rosenberg, Danielle Fontaine, Curran Behney, Yumi Kovic '14.
Tara Southworth, B.S., Senior Research Technician
Received a B.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology from University of Connecticut in 1996 and a post-baccalaureate Certificate in Diagnostic Genetic Sciences. I have previous experience in solid tumor research, cytogenetics, and molecular genetics. Some projects I am working on are examining a proposed domain rotation of luciferase and determining the bioluminescence properties of mutants of P. pyralis and L. italica luciferases. Outside of the lab, I enjoy running with my dog, reading sequels based on Jane Austen’s books, and spending time with my two sons.
Danielle Fontaine, M.A., Research Technician
B.A. in Molecular Biology from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania in 1999 and M.A. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Boston University in 2002. I was a laboratory instructor for introductory biology labs as well as anatomy and physiology lab coordinator at Boston University. My current research focuses on determining the properties of P. pyralis mutants and creating a “turn on” biosensor for biothiols present in blood plasma. Outside of lab I enjoy reading, being outdoors, salt and freshwater fishing and sports.
Justin Rosenberg, B.A., Research Technician
B.A., Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology (BCMB) from Connecticut College. The BCMB program allowed me to perfectly blend my interests in both chemistry and biology. As an undergraduate, I performed research under Professor Marc Zimmer, studying firefly luciferase through computational modeling and analysis. Current research involves studying firefly luciferase domain rotation, characterizing luciferase substrate analogs, and examining enzyme crystal structures for potential site-directed mutagenesis. During the academic year, I teach science at the Norwich Free Academy in addition to organic chemistry labs at the college. Outside of lab I like to spend time at the beach, swimming, fishing, and boating, playing lacrosse and sculpting.
Curran Behney, B.A., Research Technician
B.A., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Drew University, 2010. As an undergraduate, I researched structural analogues of the chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin. I joined the bioluminescence research group in early 2011 and worked on a project demonstrating the acyl-CoA synthetase activity of cross-linked luciferase. Since then, I have collaborated on a project aimed at elucidating the mechanism of bioluminescence in the marine worm Chaetopterus variopedatus. Outside of lab, I enjoy spending time outdoors and on the water.
Milton Garrett III, B.A. Connecticut College ‘14
I am a Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology major (BCMB) with a pre-med track. I joined Dr. Branchini’s research group in the summer of 2012 and am excited to join the lab. I’ve previously worked with Professor Stanton Ching, for two years and conducted an independent study on synthesizing manganese oxide nanoparticles via a one pot reaction with various di-alcohols. I am a member of the college’s pre-health club and have completed the Paramedic Internship Program with Lawrence and Memorial Hospital. My goals after attaining an undergraduate degree are to enroll in a medical school and specialize in Endocrinology. I enjoy working in a lab environment and learning new things. Outside of lab I love to play/watch any sports, play apples to apples and taboo with friends, and play the piano.
Yumi Kovic, '14, Undergraduate Research StudentI am an undergraduate student at Connecticut College currently undertaking a Biochemistry major with aspirations to attend medical school after college. I have been a part of the Bioluminescence Research Group since the beginning of the 2011 summer. For the past year I have been working on a project exploring the characteristics of novel luciferin analogs. These characteristics include sustained light emission, for some over an hour, and a variety of colors emitted through bioluminescence. Besides being in lab, I like to spend my time exercising, researching random topics on Google, volunteering with the paramedics at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, and as of lately teaching myself to cook (no fires yet!).
Dr. Bruce Branchini
Hans and Ella McCollum '21 Vahlteich Professor of Chemistry
Phone: (860) 439-2479