Adriana Avila-Flores,PhD.
Principal Investigator

Ph.D. – Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
M.S. – University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, SPAIN
B.Sc. – Autonomous University of Madrid, Madrid, SPAIN

I graduated from the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain with a M.S. in Organic Chemistry.  Afterwards, I worked two years for a Biotechnology company in Bilbao, Spain. In 2010, I joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Kansas State University to pursue my Ph.D. degree. My first postdoctoral experience was also at Kansas State University, in Dr. Gerald Reek’s laboratory. Then, in 2015, I joined Dr. Easley’s laboratory at Auburn University for a second postdoctoral experience before starting my tenure-track in Biological Sciences.


Adriana Avila Flores

Graduate Students


Nitish Kunte, M.S.
Ph.D. Student

Current Project:
1. Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Capsules (BAPCs) as a delivery system for mRNA vaccines in murine model.
2. BAPCs mediated oral RNA interference in Popillia japonica.

Why he joined the lab?:
Masters dissertation projects introduced me to the field of nanotechnology. This elevated my passion for nanomedicine and inspired me to work on non-toxic biomaterials for gene delivery.


Erin McGraw
Ph.D. Student

Current Project:
1. Design and synthesis of a new peptide nanoparticle that is biochemically similar to the mammalian cell membrane.

2. Using a new combinatorial system of lasers and nanoparticles to deliver molecules through fungal cell walls.

Why she joined the lab?:
I joined this lab as an undergraduate and decided to continue with my graduate studies under Dr. Flores. I enjoy the multidisciplinary nature of my projects and getting to explore combinatorial delivery methods.


Jack Pate
Ph.D. Student

Current Project:
1. Laser-assisted delivery of molecules in fungal cells.

Why he joined the lab?:
The research in this lab is highly multi-disciplinary, which will lead to a broader post-graduation opportunities.


Tosin Akinsipe
Ph.D. Student

Current Project:
1. Comparative analysis of nanoparticle toxicity.

Why he joined the lab?: At the start of my PhD program, I took the nanomedicine class offered by Dr. Flores and I was fascinated by how much positive impact the application of nanotechnology portends for medicine. I was motivated to join her lab.

Undergraduate Students


Xavier Streety
Undergraduate Researcher

Current Project:
Synthesizing branched peptides with covalently attached fluorophores

Why he joined the lab?:
I joined the group because I was interested in applications of peptide chemistry and found the challenge of synthesizing and testing the properties of nanoparticles to be exciting.


Kevin Kajevic
Undergraduate Researcher

Current Project:
1. Peptide HPLC purification.

Why he joined the lab?:
I joined this lab because I was very interested in what nanoparticles are and how they could be used in a scientific and medical setting.

Lab Technicians


Matthew Westerfield
Research Assistant

Current Project:
Biodistribution of BAPCs in mice models

Why he joined the lab?:
I joined the lab to learn new research skills. This lab will give me many opportunities to improve my understanding of nanoparticles and immunology.

Previous Lab Members

Emilee Middleton
Matthew Gunn
Kevin Kajevic
Brittany Duck (currently at Heersink School of Medicine)
Xavier Streety (currently at Graduate student Vanderbilt University)
Robert Connor
Austin Marsiglio
Sidney Bailey
Martin Brown
Andrew Hoyt
Hannah Skipwoth
Ashleigh Lewis
Katie Bert
Jonathan Roberts (currently at Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine)
Taylor Putman
Sarah Hicks
Sheniqua Glover
William Jacks
Daniel Udochi
Samuel Yarbrough