Lab Alumni

Graduate Students

Matthew Michel (AGC) (05/2020 -05/2022)

Matthew completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Davis in 2016.

After graduation, he worked in the Davis area, first at a seed pathology lab and then running a small genotyping laboratory for an alfalfa breeding program. His experience in agriculture and love of the outdoors led him back to UC Davis to pursue a master’s degree in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry.

Matthew’s primary research interests have to do with the toxicological and environmental fates of chemicals used in industry. He wants to help industries mitigate the effects of environmental pollutants and prevent toxic actions from occurring.


Riccardo (Ricky) Romersi (PTX) (05/2021 -05/2022)

Ricky received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Environmental Science from Duke University in 2021, where he also conducted research with Dr. Joel Meyer. His research focused on neurodegeneration and Parkinson’s Disease development in response to environmental exposures in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Ricky is pursuing his Ph.D. at UC Davis and is interested in studying the uptake and metabolism of environmental contaminants and aspires to ultimately conduct research and teach as a professor.

In 2022, Ricky switched to the Applied Physiology M.S.Ed. program at the University of Miami.

Outside of research, Ricky is an avid cyclist who loves to eat, despite not being a great cook.


Amara Pouv (PTX) (05/2019 – 05/2022)

Amara received her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Cell Biology and Physiology from California State University at Long Beach where she worked with Dr. Douglas Pace on temperature sensitivity and metabolic state prediction capabilities of the aerobic enzyme citrate synthase in larval sea urchins. She also did a summer internship in the Hamdoun Lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego developing a protocol to culture white sea urchins from egg to sexual maturity.

At UC Davis, Amara graduated in 2021 and received her Master’s degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology.  In the future, she envisions to continue her academic career in a related PhD program and later work for a governmental agency like the EPA or NOAA to help protect, manage and restore the oceans.

Aside from doing Immunoassays and PCRs all day, Amara likes to paint, bake, and snuggle her cat Maya.


Undergraduate Students

Nathan Tang (05/2022 – 01/2023)

Nathan is a rising senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology. He joined Dr. Nicklisch’s lab to discover and get a better grasp of the field, gain more research experience and laboratory skills, and familiarize with the different instruments and techniques used in biotechnology. After getting his Bachelor’s, he hopes to pursue a career in a biotechnology company.

In his free time, Nathan enjoys spending time with friends, playing sports and any kind of games, and cooking.

Lily Hinh (11/2021 – 12/2022)

Lily received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Davis in Spring 2022. Through personal interest and curiosity in toxicology, she joined Dr. Nicklisch’s lab to learn more about the field and gain experience in research. She is currently working in the Nicklisch Lab as a lab assistant, assisting on current projects and acquiring laboratory skills and techniques. She hopes to pursue a future career as a Physician’s Assistant.

In her free time, Lily enjoys singing, dancing, drawing, cooking, and putting checks on her bucket list.


Teresa Sanchez (07/2021 – 12/2021)

Teresa is an undergraduate student majoring in Animal Science. She was accepted into the NSF CAMP Program the
Spring Quarter of 2021.

In the Nicklisch’s lab, Teresa works alongside graduate student Amara Pouv assisting on molecular biology techniques to analyze honeybee drug transporters. The goal of this project is to clone, express and purify honeybee P-glycoprotein and other drug efflux transporters.

Teresa also works together with graduate student Angela Encerrado on summarizing all known biomonitoring data on levels of pesticides and other environmental chemicals detected in honeybees, their nutrients, and products (e.g., honey, wax, pollen, nectar, royal jelly, etc.).

In her free time,  Teresa likes to take long walks, do some karaoke, or freestyle dancing. She also enjoy watching documentaries on Kanopy, YouTube videos, and FaceTiming family and friends.


Aishwarya Bhusal (06/2021 – 12/2021)

Aishwarya is an undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She transferred from the Los Rios Community Colleges to UC Davis in Fall of 2019.

She joined the Nicklisch lab in June 2021 and has been working with graduate student Matthew Michel on the UC Kinetic Transportal database project. In this project, she is assisting in data collation and extraction from a plethora of scientific articles on interactions between ABC/SLC transporter proteins and environmental chemicals such as pesticides, plasticizers, flame retardants, PFAS, PCBs, etc. Aishwarya is also designing and updating the Nicklisch Lab webpage using WordPress.

Duringh spare time, you can find me biking around Davis, hiking, watching movies, trying to learn something new, cooking, or spending time with loved ones!


Cristela Samaniego (03/2019-03/2021)

Cristela Samaniego graduated from UC Davis in 2021 with a double major in Cognitive Science with Neuroscience Emphasis and Environmental Toxicology.

Her research interests are within the scope of neurotoxicity and medicine. Her particular interest is in understanding the role of ABC-type transporters, specifically  P-glycoprotein, in chemotherapy-induced peripheral neurotoxicity (CIPN) in cancer patients.

Cristela’s project in the Nicklisch Lab was on the strategic design of experiments (DOE) for cloning of P-glycoproteins from unsequenced and unannotated genomes by parsing online genome and proteome databases and designing gene-specific and degenerate primer based on homology sequence alignments.


Oscar Monzon (02/2019-03/2021)

Oscar Monzon graduated from UC Davis in 2021 majoring in Environmental Toxicology.

His research interest is in using yeast as a powerful toxicological model organism to assess and understand molecular interactions of environmental chemicals with transport proteins from human and other organisms.

Oscar’s project in the Nicklisch Lab was on optimizing S. cerevisiae and P. pastoris cultivation and expression media for high-yield mammalian protein expression. He generated a comprehensive literature synthesis on current methods and protocols for functional ABC transporter and other membrane protein expression.


Jinwon Leem (04/2020-12/2020)

Jinwon “Jin” Leem graduated from UC Davis in 2021 majoring in Environmental Toxicology. After finishing her degree in ETOX, Jin successfully applied to industry and is currently a Chemist at Pentagon Technologies (Hayward, CA).

Her project in the Nicklisch Lab was to conduct a comprehensive literature synthesis and generate a database on all environmental chemicals identified in honey bees, honey, nectar, pollen, bee bread, propolis, royal jelly, bee venom and wax. The goal of this project was to understand which of the current-use pesticides applied to bee-pollinated crops in CA can possibly accumulate and be measured in bees and their products.

In her free time, Jinwon enjoys hiking, listening to the music and driving around.


Lucero “Lucy” Espinoza (01-03/2020)

Lucy graduated from UC Davis in 2020 majoring in Environmental Toxicology.

Her project in the lab was to assist the graduate student Amara Pouv in plasmid preparations and bacterial cultivations for molecular biology applications.

Lucy further generated a literature search and summary of articles published on environmental chemical interactions with drug transporters between the years 1990 and 2020.


Anika Agrawal (04-06/2019)

Anika Agrawal graduated from UC Davis in 2019 majoring in Environmental Toxicology (PI: Gary Cherr).

Anika used the lab as campus satellite lab during the Spring Quarter for her research on methods for identifying microplastic ingestion in marine organisms at Bodega Marine Laboratory.



Sahadeva “Saha” Singh (09-12/2019)


Anthony Vega (02-09/2019)