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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.  


Sebastian Flieger earned his B.S. in Biochemistry at North Central College in Naperville, and his M.S. in Chemistry, with Distinction, at DePaul University in Chicago.  He has been employed since 2015 as a Product Development Chemist at Stepan in Northfield, where he has worked on fabric softeners, laundry, personal care, and polymer chemistries and their industrial applications.  Sebastian will be earning his Ph.D. alongside his work at Stepan.


TJ DiPuma earned his B.S. in Biochemistry at Loyola University Chicago and has joined the Becker Lab to complete his Master’s degree in Chemistry.

Dr. Marlon Lutz earned his B.S. in Chemistry at Loyola University Chicago, then went on to earn his M.S. in Chemistry with Honors in Organic Chemistry and Supramolecular Chemistry.  Dr. Lutz earned his Ph.D. with Distinction in 2018 also from Loyola in the areas of Organic Process Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Flow Chemistry, and Supramolecular Chemistry.  Dr. Lutz is currently employed as a Process Chemist in Biosynthetic Technologies with the Heritage Group in Indianapolis, and previously he worked as a Process Development Chemist at Regis Technologies in Morton Grove.


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.