Dr. Sean Moran

Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, 2014-present.

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009-2013

Ph.D., Columbia University, 2008

M.Phil., Columbia University, 2006

M.A., Columbia University, 2003

B.Sc., McGill University, 2001



Sean Moran is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at SIUC (2014-present). He received his B.Sc. in Biochemistry from McGill University in 2001. He did his graduate work with Brian Gibney at Columbia University in biophysical/bioinorganic chemistry with an emphasis on thermodynamics and protein design. Afterwards, he did his postdoc with Martin Zanni at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focusing on vibrational labeling and 2D IR spectroscopy of proteins. The Moran lab at SIUC combines these interests in a wide range of projects aimed at understanding the structures and dynamics of complex biopolymers, including enzymes, DNA/RNA, and biomaterials.


Sean’s hobbies include playing the guitar, watching other people play the guitar, and complaining. He also loves cats. As a Connecticut native, he roots for the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, the UCONN Huskies, and the Hartford Whalers (RIP).


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We currently have no post-doctoral researchers. If you are curious about open positions, please inquire with Dr. Sean Moran at smoran@chem.siu.edu.

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Graduate Students

Sunil Basnet

Sunil is from Jhapa, Nepal. He received both a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from Tribhuvan University. He joined the lab in Fall 2018. Some of his hobbies include sketching with charcoals and reading/writing literature.

Poornima Wedamulla

Poornima is an international student from Sri Lanka. She received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka. Some of her hobbies include trying new foods, listening to music, and watching cricket matches.

Hannah Lepird

Hannah is a M.S. student in Biochemistry from Michigan. She started research as an undergraduate in the group and remained after receiving her B.S. in Biochemistry in May 2018. In her free time she enjoys, reading, hiking, going to the gym, and playing video games.

Tayler Hill

Tayler is a fourth year PhD student whose research focuses on using FTIR and 2D IR spectroscopic techniques and site-specific labeling to understand ultrafast vibrational dynamics in enzyme active sites. She is also interested in dynamical differences between thermophilic enzymes and mesophilic analogues.  She received her B.S. in chemistry and biochemistry from SIU in 2014, and received the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to support her studies in 2015. 

Outside of lab, she enjoys visiting national parks, playing with her cats, cooking, and watching football (Geaux Saints!).

David Price

David is a 4th year PhD student whose research focuses on using IR spectroscopy to gain insight into biomolecular structure and dynamics by examining the vibrational coupling within molecules. Of particular interest are aggregating nucleic acid sequences as well as membrane proteins. David received his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Evansville in Evansville, IN in 2014. 


David's hobbies include golfing, cooking, hiking and following the St. Louis Cardinals and Blues. David is currently deciding where to lend his NFL fandom after being abandoned by the St. Louis Rams in 2016.


Additional graduate positions available through SIU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

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Undergraduate Students 

Savannah Randles


Katherine (Katie) Helme

Katie is a senior undergraduate studying biophysics. Some of her hobbies include painting and music. Her favorite animal is the red panda and she has a pet gecko name Aristotle.


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Lab Alumni

Joanna (Asia) Hughes

Asia spent a little over a year with us in the Moran Lab. She recently accepted another Postdoctoral Researcher position at the EPFL LSU in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Asia got her B.Sc. in Chemistry from Technical University of Wroclaw in Poland in 2014. She did her graduate project with Alex Jones at Manchester University in England, where she investigated magnetic field effects in biological and chemical systems with the main focus on instrument development. In addition to working on the enzyme project, she will contribute to other work, which includes using 2D IR for structural studies of biomolecular aggregates, including nucleic acids and amyloid peptides relevant to disease.

Asia’s hobbys include cooking, painting and getting angry when the laser alignment takes more time than expected. As a foreigner, she knows nothing about American football and doesn't support any team.


Kaitlyn Hutson

Kaitlyn received her B.S. in Microbiology May 2019. 


Brian Kettell

Brian (AKA Old Spice) graduated in May 2018 with his B.S. in Chemistry. He is current attending graduate school at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where he is working to obtain a PhD in chemistry. 


Blaze Rightnowar

Blaze graduated in May 2019 with his B.S. in chemistry. He is currently attending graduate school at Oregon State University where he is working towards earning his PhD. His hobbies include studying classical and 20th century philosophy and playing video games. 


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