Jai Shanata is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Cornell College and Faculty Director of Dimensions: The Center for the Science and Culture of Healthcare. He holds a Ph.D. from Caltech in Chemistry and a BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Philosophy, and Chemistry from Cornell College.
Shanata has been teaching full time at Cornell College since 2014. He primarily teaches General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry and his research applies Physical Organic Chemistry and electrophysiology to understand the physical properties of cell membranes.
During his Ph.D., Shanata applied single-molecule studies to ion channels expressing unnatural amino acids in an effort to determine the binding behaviors of various neurotransmitters and drug molecules on the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.
Shanata began his independent lab at Loyola University New Orleans in 2011, where he also taught through spring of 2014. Since then, Shanata and his research students at Cornell College have been studying how components of human diet, including cholesterol and drugs, impact ion channel function with the long-term goal of predicting and controlling drug side effects and off target effects. Their interdisciplinary research applies physics and chemistry to a biological model system by performing single-molecule electrophysiology in planar lipid bilayers.
Shanata, and his wife, statistician Brandi Shanata (2005, Mathematics/Statistics and Sociology) live in Mount Vernon with their daughter.