Ken Halvorsen

Senior Research Scientist | Principal Investigator

khalvorsen [at]

Ken started his own lab at The RNA Institute at UAlbany in 2013. His professional life began as a mechanical engineer for a fuel cell company, took a sharp turn to ski bum in Jackson Hole, WY, and another sharp turn to grad school at BU. Intending to go back to industry, Ken was instead sucked into a postdoc by grad school lab mate and friend Wesley Wong. He spends his career learning through failure and agonizing over whether he is a scientist or an engineer. Ken tinkers with everything from DNA to the Centrifuge Force Microscope to the Lego kits his children play with.

PhD, Biomedical Engineering | Boston University, Boston, MA, USA

BS, Mechanical Engineering and Physics | Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, USA 


Arun Richard Chandrasekaran

Research Scientist

arun [at]

Arun is from Madurai, India where he spent most of his life playing cricket. He moved to the US for grad school with Prof. Ned Seeman at NYU. In the lab, he works on biosensing using DNA nanoswitches, and random stuff with DNA nanostructures. He likes writing poetry and science, singing, and enjoys watching horror movies.

PhD, Chemistry | New York University, New York, NY, USA.

MTech, Nanoscience | University of Madras, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

BSc, Zoology | The American College, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India.


Lifeng Zhou

Postdoctoral Associate

lzhou2 [at]

Lifeng’s research focuses on the design of nanoscale molecular robots, mainly those constructed using DNA. Outside the lab, his favorite sports are table tennis and softball.

PhD, Mechanical Engineering | The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.


Jibin Abraham Punnoose

Postdoctoral Associate

jabrahampunnoose [at]

Jibin joined Halvorsen lab in January 2018 as a Postdoctoral Associate. He received his doctoral degree in Chemistry from Kent State University where he studied the folding dynamics of multiple DNA G-quadruplexes from single-stranded DNA through single-molecule optical tweezers. He is currently working on the development of a wireless, bench-top Centrifugal Force Microscope which can be used for high throughput single-molecule force measurements.  

PhD, Chemistry | Kent State University, Kent, OH, USA.


Andrew Hayden

Research Support Specialist

ahayden2 [at]

BS, Bio-instrumentation | University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, NY, USA.


Vibhav Valsangkar

Graduate Student (co-advised by Jia Sheng)

vvalsangkar [at]

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Kristina Alejos

Undergraduate Researcher

kalejos [at]

Biology, Class of 2020.


Thomas Banco

Undergraduate Researcher

tbanco [at]

Biology, Class of 2020.


Lillie Carnell

Undergraduate Researcher

lcarnell [at]

Biochemistry, Class of 2021.


Cassandra Cavaliere

Undergraduate Researcher

ccavaliere [at]

Biology, Class of 2020.


Ruju Trivedi

Undergraduate Researcher

rtrivedi [at]

Biology, Class of 2020.

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Javier Vilcapoma

Undergraduate Researcher

jvilcapoma [at]

Biology, Class of 2020.