Bioluminescence Research Group 2019
2019 Research Group, left to right, Brian Huta, Danielle Fontaine, Dawn Kohrt, Bruce Branchini, Allison Racela, Isabel Orbe, and Ben Fort.
Danielle Fontaine, M.A., Research Technician
B.A., Molecular Biology, Susquehanna University, Pennsylvania, 1999; M.A. in Cell and Molecular Biology, Boston University, 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 creating new P. pyralis mutants and characterizing a newly cloned luciferase. Outside of lab I enjoy reading, gardening, salt/freshwater fishing, and chasing my son around!
Brian Huta, Ph.D., Research Technician
Ph.D., Chemistry, Syracuse University, 2014
B.S., Molecular and Cell Biology; Chemistry, University of Connecticut, 2009
My previous research experience includes the total synthesis of the retinal analog, 8,16-methanoretinal, as well as the cloning, expression, purification, and characterization of membrane, soluble, and antibody fusion proteins. In the Branchini lab, I have been fortunate to work on the purification of new luciferase mutants and the synthesis of luciferin analogs to be tested with those mutants. Outside of the lab, I enjoy reading, astronomy, sports, and spending time with my wife.
Allison Racela '22, Undergraduate Research Student
I am a rising sophomore at Connecticut College majoring in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology. I began working with the Branchini research group in May of 2019, and I am currently involved in testing the activity and intensity of Luciferin variants in live cells. Other than working in the lab, I enjoy running, skiing, and spending time with my friends on campus.