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Thahani Shifna studied chemistry at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, where she studied the anti-fungal activity and isolation of a kaurane diterpenoid extracted from the root of Austeroeupatorium inulifolium, an invasive plant, under the direction of Professor Veranja Karunaratne, and also studied the bioactivity of the invasive plant Ageratina riparia in collaboration with Professor Karunaratne.  At Loyola with Professor Becker, she is currently developing an efficient synthesis of peptidomimetic cyclobutanones as enzymatic inhibitors.  She is also designing and synthesizing bisubstrate ligands for GNAT N-acetyl transferase enzymes and new tetrazole-based inhibitors of the bacterial enzyme DapE as potential new antibiotics.  



Graduate students at LUC. The Becker lab is looking for highly motivated students who love the thrill of scientific discovery with interests in medicinal chemistry, organic synthesis, and human health. Please contact Daniel Becker ( to learn more about current openings and opportunities.  Researchers in the Becker lab investigate topics at the interface of synthetic chemistry and biology with a focus on human health and disease. Our highly interdisciplinary projects include training in synthetic organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry, as well as in silico methods of computational docking and modeling.