GSO Officers 2020-2021

Kenneth Onyedibe, President Kenneth Onyedibe, President

Ken is in his fourth year in the Immunology and Infectious diseases training group working in Dr. Herman Sintim’s lab in the Purdue Institute for Drug Discovery. His research work has contributed to the discovery of novel antibiotics and combinations against highly fatal methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin resistant Enterococci (VRE) and multidrug resistant Enterobacteriaceae. Recently, cyclic dinucleotides (CDNs) have also emerged as important signaling compounds in both bacteria and immune cells. His second research focus is on using proteomics, transcriptomics and other chemical probes to unravel unique CDN targets and to identify inhibitors of CDNs as new generation antimicrobial and immunotherapy agents. Thus, his career goal is the discovery of novel immune response modulators and potent weapons against fatal and untreatable multidrug-resistant infections. Ken received his Medical degree from the University of Ilorin as well as a Post Graduate diploma in Infectious Diseases from the University of London. He enjoys adventures (scientific, social and outdoors!) and in his spare time, he loves to play tennis, travel, meet new friends and watch movies.  As the PULSe GSO President, Ken hopes to break all barriers and maintain a strong relationship between the PULSe program and the entire student body. He would be very happy to wade through any issues that PULSe students might have. Do feel very free to reach out!

Chandnee Chandrasekaran, Vice President Chandnee Chandrasekaran, Vice President

I am a fifth year PULSe student in the Integrative Neuroscience Training group. I work in Dr. Chris Rochet’s lab in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology. My work focuses on molecular mechanisms underlying alpha synuclein neuropathology in Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injury. Outside of the lab, I love listening to music, singing, cooking and playing board games. By joining the GSO, I would like to support the PULSe program, listen to and address fellow PULSers’ concerns and feedback.


Akansha Maheshwari, Secretary Akansha Maheshwari, Secretary

Akansha is a third-year graduate student in the Molecular Signaling and Cancer Biology Training Group. As a part of Christine Hrycyna’s laboratory in the Chemistry Department, her research focuses on the structural and biochemical elucidation of yeast ICMT methyltransferase (Ste14), with the aim of further developing inhibitors for ICMT in mutated-Ras driven cancers. Outside of work, Akansha likes to spend her time dabbling in pottery and painting along with the occasional therapeutic urge to cook up different dishes and test them out on her family and friends. She also has been training to run a 5k by the end of 2020! As Secretary, Akansha looks forward to working diligently so as to relay campus ongoings, professional development events, awards and achievements back to the students via the PULSe newsletter. Her drive would be present to help students feel that they are heard and to create something which they can read and unwind with! Always feel free to reach out to her with any questions!

Vinay Menon, Treasurer Vinay Menon, Treasurer

Vinay is a fourth year PULSe student in the Chemical Biology training group. He works in the lab of Dr. Jean Chmielewski in the Chemistry Department which focuses on designing novel therapeutics against HIV, malaria, and bacterial infections. His research is centered around developing peptide-based antibiotics against multidrug resistant bacteria, such as MRSA. Outside of the lab, he enjoys going to movies and practicing martial arts. As the PULSe GSO Treasurer, Vinay hopes to increase transparency and communication between the GSO and the student body. 

Lauren Willbanks, Treasurer Lauren Willbanks, Treasurer

Lauren is a second year PULSe student in the Biotechnology Training Group working in Dr. Elizabeth Parkinson’s lab under the Chemistry department. Her research involves using molecular genetic tools to probe the regulation of antibiotics in the genus Streptomyces. Outside the lab, Lauren enjoys listening to an ever-expanding list of podcasts, cooking elaborate meals, and minigolf. As Student Activities Coordinator, Lauren hopes to foster an environment of inclusivity and community throughout the PULSe student body. 

Veronica Heintz, Science-in-Schools (SiS) Coordinator Veronica Heintz, Science-in-Schools (SiS) Coordinator

Veronica is a sixth-year PULSe student in the Microbiology, Immunology, and Infectious Diseases training group and a member of Dr. Doug LaCount's lab in the Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Department. Her research focuses on identifying human-viral interactions critical for Ebola and Marburgvirus infection. As Coordinator for Science in Schools, she hopes to encourage graduate students to share their passion and love for science with the next generation of young scientists. Feel free to contact her with any questions you have about PULSe, Science in School, or her research.

Samantha Tinsley, First-Year Mentoring Chair

Samantha Tinsley is a fourth year PULSe student in the Molecular Signaling and Cancer Biology training group working in Dr. Brittany Allen-Petersen's Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences. Her research focuses on the role PP2A-B56α in acinar-to-ductal metaplasia and the initiation of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Outside of working in lab, Sam is a netflix enthusiast that binges a concerning amount of television while hanging out with her dog, Millie, and Cat, Jade. She also enjoys the occasional social excursion with friends and is always available for anyone who needs a buddy for coffee breaks. Moving into her third year as the First-Year Mentoring Chair, she hopes continue to foster meaningful connections for incoming students that could lead to valuable connections in their future careers by planning events and guiding discussions between the mentor-mentee pairs.

Nicole Anderson, Social Media and Publicity Chair Nicole Anderson, Social Media and Publicity Chair

Nicole is a second year graduate student in the Immunology and Infectious Diseases training group working in Dr. Matthew Olson's lab. Her research focuses on understanding the complex signaling pathway of redundant and non-redundant functions of transcription factors STAT3 and BATF in CD4 T helper cells. As the social media chair, she hopes to create an interactive environment through various forms of social media to display the diversity of the PULSe program. 

Andrew Asberry, Seminar Chair Andrew Asberry, Seminar Chair

Andrew is a fourth year PULSe student in the Molecular Signaling and Cancer Biology training group. He works in Dr. Chang-Deng Hu’s lab under the Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacy department. Andrew’s academic areas of interest are molecular biology and biochemistry. He has experience in industry working in a high throughput biochemistry laboratory for a biotechnology company in Indianapolis. Now, he is studying the role of PRMT5 in therapy resistance and disease progression in prostate cancer. Outside of work, Andrew enjoys spending time with friends, music, cars, travelling, and cooking. Feel free to contact him with any questions you have about Purdue, PULSe, or MCMP! (Or anything else, too!)

Marianne Maresh, PGSG Senator Marianne Maresh, PGSG Senator

Marianne Maresh is starting her 5th year in the Immunology and Infectious Disease training group under the supervision of Dr. Darci Trader. Her research is centered around new techniques to expedite the drug discovery process by creating assays to screen one-bead-one-compound libraries in which hits can be prioritized from the initial screen. As the PULSe Senator, it is Marianne’s goal to ensure all voices from the program are heard and that changes in policy around campus benefit all graduate students. By attending monthly Senate meetings, Marianne is able to hear about new campus policies regarding healthcare, campus safety, and even parking and transportation. Marianne was born and raised in Michigan and received her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. If you have questions or concerns about happenings on campus, don’t hesitate to contact her at

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