Meet the Team

Postdoctoral Scholars

Arash Firouzbakht

Started: Oct 2023


Arash was born and raised in Ahvaz, a southern town in Iran, before moving to Tehran to attend Sharif University of Technology for his undergraduate studies. There, he grew an interest in biochemistry and biophysics, leading him to the Chemistry program in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Under Prof. Martin Gruebele, he studied intrinsically disordered proteins using various biophysical methods such as spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations. In UNC, Arash is going to harness protein design to both answer fundamental biophysical questions about the mechanism of membrane transport and develop membrane proteins with desirable transport properties. When he is not in lab, he enjoys running and backpacking.

Postdoctoral positions may be available. Please email to enquire.

Graduate Students

Vincent (Vinnie) Silverman

Started: Jan 2023


Awards: T32 CBI Training Fellowship

Vinnie grew up near New Haven, Connecticut before moving to Pittsburgh, PA to attend Carnegie Mellon University. As an undergraduate, he worked with Dr. Ryan Sullivan on projects using LC-MS to identify and degrade pollutants in various environmental samples. After graduating in 2020, Vinnie moved back to Connecticut to work at Sanofi in Meriden. At Sanofi, Vinnie got his first exposure to biological chemistry working on process development for COVID-19 and seasonal flu vaccines. After two years, Vinnie moved to North Carolina to work on understanding the protein-protein interactions responsible for food allergies. When he's not in the lab, Vinnie spends most of his time playing board and trading card games. 

Nolan Jacob

Started: Nov 2023


Nolan is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For undergraduate studies, he attended The Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania. Here he studied intrinsically disordered proteins under Dr. Scott Showalter. He used NMR and Fluorescence Anisotropy to understand interactions between transcription factors involved in insulin production. After graduating, Nolan moved to North Carolina where he is now interested in studying ligand-gated channel proteins. Outside of research, Nolan enjoys hiking and swimming.

Start your PhD with us! Positions for graduate students available!

Undergraduate Students

Arora Rohrbach

Major: Chemistry


Arora is currently a sophomore from Durham, NC studying biochemistry with minors in neuroscience and creative writing. She hopes to go to graduate school to further study protein function with pharmaceutical applications. Outside the lab, she likes to travel, knit, and go ice skating!

Celeste Reeves

Major: Chemistry and Medical Anthropology

Packard Summer Research Fellow (2023)


Celeste is a rising junior who is majoring in chemistry and medical anthropology. She is a proud Durhamite (Durham, NC) and loves to explore new food joints around the city. In her free time, she likes to bake, write, or hone her photography skills. In the future, Celeste wishes to continue her studies in chemistry to help solve problems in the realm of medicine. 

We have opportunities available for undergraduate students to gain hands-on experience in the lab! Please inquire!