Biographical Sketch

Jai Shanata, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Faculty Director of Cornell College's pre-health sciences program (Dimensions), is an organic chemist who specializes in chemical biology. Jai teaches courses in Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry (Chemical Principles), and an advanced topics course in pharmacology and chemical biology. His lab’s research focuses on the application of organic chemistry and biophysical methods to understand the role that cell membranes play in drug side effects and off target effects by applying single-molecule studies of ion channels in planar lipid bilayers. Jai’s long-term research goal is to facilitate personalized medicine, especially health decisions regarding the interaction of nutrition and drugs. Jai enjoys conversations about philosophy of science and loves advising students about graduate programs and careers in the sciences and health sciences. Click here to contact Jai.

Academic History

  • Ph.D. in Chemistry, Caltech, 2011
  • B.A. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Philosophy, and Chemistry (triple major), Cornell College, 2005

Prior Position

  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Loyola University New Orleans, 2011-2014

Courses Taught

  • Chemical Principles I Lecture (CHE 121)
  • Chemical Principles II Lecture (CHE 122)
  • Chemical Principles I Lab (CHE 121)
  • Organic Chemistry I Lecture (CHE 225)
  • Organic Chemistry II Lecture (CHE 326)
  • Organic Chemistry Laboratory (CHE 327)
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Problems (BMB 485)
  • Reading and Conversation in Chemistry (CHE 512; ¼)

Faculty-Student Research

The Shanata lab uses a variety of techniques, with a focus on single-molecule electrophysiology in planar lipid bilayers, in order to determine the role that various components of cell membranes play in mediating the effects of drugs and diet. Specific interests include elucidating how cholesterol and drugs indirectly impact ion channel function with the long-term goal of predicting and controlling drug side effects and off target effects. Other interests include: solubility and structure-function studies of a variety of small molecules, including PAHs, and philosophy of science.

Publications

Presentations

#Designates undergraduate coauthor

  • Systematic Characterization of Resveratrol in Planar Lipid Bilayers by Single-Molecule Studies. With Maddie A. Ball#, Gabriela M. Galeano#, Gordon Research Conference on Bioorganic Chemistry, June 10th, 2015, Andover, NH. 
  • Systematic Characterization of Drugs and Cholesterol in Planar Lipid Bilayers by Single-Molecule Studies. With Gabriela M. Galeano# and Shane C. Sepac#, Gordon Research Conference on Ion Channels, June 9th, 2014, South Hadley, MA.  
  • Characterization of the Combined Effects of Cholesterol and Drugs on Lipid Bilayer Physical Properties. With Gabriela M. Galeano# and Shane C. Sepac#, Gordon Research Conference on Bioorganic Chemistry, June 13th, 2013, Andover, NH.  
  • Pulling back the curtain on extractions: Visualizing the partition equilibrium. With Ha Van T. Nguyen# and Peter M. Nguyen#.  Oral presentation at the 245th National American Chemical Society Meeting (CHED), April 9th, 2013, New Orleans, LA.  
  • Visualization of the partition equilibrium of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. With Ha Van T. Nguyen# and Peter M. Nguyen#. 245th National American Chemical Society Meeting (CHED), April 8th, 2013, New Orleans, LA.  
  • Characterization of dietary fatty acids and cholesterol in lipid membrane and hydrophobic environments. With Gabriela M. Galeano# and Alexander M. Houston#. 245th National American Chemical Society Meeting (BIOL), April 7th, 2013, New Orleans, LA.

Grants

as PI

  • “Systematic Determination of the Combined Impact of Dietary Fatty Acids and Cholesterol on Lipid Bilayer Physical Properties”, Louisiana Board of Regents Research Competitiveness Subprogram, contract #LEQSF(2013-16)-RD-A-10, (Jun. 2013 – May 2014)  
  • “Quantitative Measurement of Charged Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Water and in the Presence of Oil Dispersants”, Louisiana Board of Regents Supervised Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), contract #LEQSF-EPS(2013)-SURE-88, (June 1, 2013 – May 31, 2014)  
  • Several internal awards for student-faculty research and faculty travel at Cornell College.  
  • Several internal awards for student-faculty research and course development at Loyola University New Orleans. 

Service to the Cornell Community

  • Dimensions Faculty Director (Feb. 2016 – present)
  • Diversity Statement Drafting Committee, Chair (Jan. – Feb., 2016)
  • Dimensions Operations Committee, Co-Chair (Sept. 2015 – present)
  • Diversity Committee, Member (Sept. 2015 – present)
  • Rise Up Advisor (Aug. 2015 – present)
  • Faculty Advisor to Rho Zeta Omicron (Aug. 2015 – present)
  • Active participant in new science building design (July 2015 – present)
  • Dimensions Faculty Co-Director (July 2015 – Feb. 2016)
  • ACM Institute on College Futures, Attendee (June 22 – 23, 2015)
  • College Futures Working Group (Spring 2015 – present)

Academic/Professional Awards and Achievements

  • Carl Storm URM Gordon Research Conference Fellowship (Jun. 2013)
  • Graduate Dean’s Award for Outstanding Leadership (Jun. 2011)
  • National Institutes of Health Training Grant (Jun. 2006 – Jun. 2008)
  • Philosophy Honors Thesis (Defended May 10th, 2005)
  • Phi Beta Kappa (inducted Spring 2004)
  • William Fletcher King Scholar (2001 – 2005)
  • Latin American Educational Foundation Scholarship (2001 – 2002)

Memberships

  • American Chemical Society
  • Biophysical Society
  • National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions