Group News

Fall 2019
Walter Drake defends his thesis titled “Regulating the stabilities of NOD1 and NOD2, 2 innate immune receptors, with sugars and chaperones.” CONGRATS DR.DRAKE!!

Stephen Hyland’s University Graduate Scholars Fellowships is renewed.

Kristen DeMeester, Hai Liang, Andrea Zhou and Kimmie Wodzanowski publish their protocol for metabolic labeling of the bacterial cell wall in Current Protocols in Chemical Biology. Congrats!

Catherine and Elizabeth D’Ambrosio attend the Great wall symposium in Paris, France. Elizabeth gives a talk on her research.

Summer 2019
Klare Lazor defends her thesis titled ” Synthesis of peptidoglycan saccharides and molecular probes to investigate innate immune signaling.” CONGRATS DR.LAZOR!!!!

Ben Prather leaves to pursue a PhD in Chemistry at LSU. Good luck Ben!

Geneva Crump joins CBI.

Ashley Brown, Walter Drake, Klare Lazor, Elizabeth D’Ambrosio, Stephen Hyland and Kimmie Wodzanowski present posters at NIH glycoscience day.¬† Ashley and Kimmie give elevator talks on their research. Elizabeth wins best poster.

Klare Lazor passes her 2nd committee meeting!

Ashley Brown gives talk on her research at HHMI in Janelia farms.

Spring 2019
Catherine receives tenure and is promoted to full professor. CONGRATS CATHERINE!!!!

Elizabeth D’Ambrosio, Kimmie Wodzanowski, Stephen Hyland and Walter Drake present posters at the 12 annual FCBIS conference at the NIH. Walter gives a talk on his research.

Kimmie Wodzanowski , Walter Drake, Klare Lazor, and Elizabeth D’Ambrosio present posters at NYAS chemical biology year end symposium in NYC. Elizabeth gives a talk on her research.

Andrea Zhou presents a poster and Siavash Mashayekh gives a talk on his research at the ACS national meeting San Diego.

Ashley Brown presents a poster and and Andrea Zhou gives a talk on her research at ASBMB in San Diego.

Kristen DeMeester wins the Theodore Wolf Prize in Physical and Life Sciences for her dissertation!

Kristen DeMeester defends her thesis: Synthesis of bioorthogonal muramyl glycans that illuminate and track bacterial peptidoglycan. Congratulations Dr. DeMeester!!!!!!! ūüôā

Elizabeth, Siavash, Walter, Ashley and Ophelia publish a review article on NOD like receptors in Bioorganic medicinal chemistry letters. Congrats guys!

Kimmie Wodzanowski presents her work at the UD microbial symposium at the University of Delaware.

Klare Lazor published her work on methyl N, O-hydroxylamine muramyl glycans in ChemBioChem. Congrats Klare!

Will Bowman, Ha Thi Thu Le and Stephen Hyland join the lab.

Kimmie Wodzanowski and Geneva Crump pass their candidacy exams!!

Fall 2018
Jason Burch defends his thesis: Bacterial Carbohydrates trigger Candida albicans virulence. Congrats Dr. Burch!!

Elizabeth, Ashey and Ophelia pass their candidacy exams!!

Klare Lazor presents her work at the 16th annual Discovery on Target conference in Boston, MA.

Summer 2018

June 29: Hai Liang defends his thesis “Metabolic labeling of the carbohydrate core in bacterial peptidoglycan via the Pseudomious Putida cell wall recycling enzymes AmgK and MurU and its applications.” Congrats Dr. Liang!!!! Check out the pictures under albums

Catherine and Kristen DeMeester attend the 2018 Bioorganic Gordon Research Conference. Catherine serves as discussion leader for the chemical biology in drug discovery session and leads the women in chemistry power hour.

Kristen DeMeester serves as co-chair organizer for the 2018 Bioorganic Gordon Research Seminar.

Catherine and Elizabeth D’Ambrosio present research at the New England Glycochemistry meeting in Boston, MA.


Spring 2018

Zach Jones graduates with his B.S. in biochemistry, and is off to pursue an MD/PhD at Vanderbilt University. Congrats and good luck!!

Catherine is named a 2018 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar. Thank you to the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation for this honor.

Elizabeth D’Ambrosio presents her research at the NYAS Chemical biology year-end symposium in NYC

Hai Liang and our collaborators publish their work on elucidating the mechanism of action for macrolactone antibiotic Albocycline. Congrats!!!

Walter Drake  and Kimmie Wodzanowski present their research at the 11th annual frontiers in chemsitry and biology interface symposium at the University of Pennsylvania

Kristen, Wally, Siavash, Zach and Dan present posters at the 2018 ASBMB national meeting in San Diego. Catherine and Klare both gave talks. Zach won best undergraduate poster in the metabolism, bioenergetics, lipids, signal transduction and pedagogy category. Congrats Zach!

Kristen DeMeester is awarded the University of Delaware dissertation fellowship. Congrats Kristen!

Klare Lazor is a awarded the University of Delaware doctoral fellowship. Congrats Klare!

Walter Drake publishes his work on NOD2 post translational modification monitoring using CETSA in the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes. Congrats Wally!

Kimmie Wodzanowski Joins the group. Welcome!


Fall 2017

Geneva Crump joins the group. Welcome!

Jason Burch publishes his work on molecular recognition of peptidoglycan fragments by adenylyl cyclase protein Cyr1 in ACS Infectious Diseases. Congrats Jason!

Catherine is selected by the University’s Francis Alison Society to receive the 2017 Gerard J. Mangone Young Scholars Award

Yiben Wang publishes his work on using Peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase B (PatB) to bioorthogonally label bacterial peptidoglycan in JACS. Congrats Yiben!!


Summer 2017

August 3rd: Amy Schaefer defends her thesis ‚Äú Interaction requirements for an innate immune receptor and bacterial cell wall fragments‚ÄĚ Dr. Schafer is off to Siemens Healthcare as a biochemist.

July 25th:¬† Yiben Wang defends his thesis ‚ÄúCharacterization and application of peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase B (Pat B) utilizing N-acetylcysteamine derivatives‚ÄĚ!!¬† Whoot, Whoot!!!¬† Dr. Wang is off to the University of New England where he will be an assistant lecturer.

July 24th:¬† Sandy Hou defends her thesis ‚ÄúA Sweet modification of NOD2, an innate immune receptor involved in Crohn‚Äôs disease‚Ä̬† Congratulations!! Dr. Hou.¬† Sandy is off to a postdoc at Arizona State University with Dr. Karen Anderson.

Amy Schaefer publishes her work on NOD2 stabilization by HSP70 in ACS Biochemistry. Congrats Amy!

Kristen DeMeester gave a talk at the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Graduate Research Symposium, at PSU Oregon.

Way to go!!!  Amy Schaefer and James Melnyk published our work in collaboration with the M.G. Finn Laboratory at Georgia Tech!  Check out their work on the ligand specificity of NOD2 in ACS chemical Biology

Thomas Harmon, a junior biochemistry major, joined the group.

Klare Lazor presents her research at the Carbohydrate Gordon research conference. She gave a poster talk and served as a session co-chair at the GRS on Saturday before the GRC.

Ian Clark, a high school student, is volunteering in the laboratory this summer!

Catherine and Kristen attend the Bioorganic Gordon Research Conference. Kristen will serve as co-chair for the 2018 bioorganic research conference

June 8th:¬† Mackenzie Lauro defends her thesis ‚ÄúMolecular recognition of muramyl dipeptide by NOD2 and its implications in Crohn‚Äôs disease and innate immunity‚ÄĚ.¬† Dr. Lauro will start her Senior scientist position at Merck in July.¬† Congratulations!


Spring 2017

The image ‚Äúdividing bacterial cell‚ÄĚ from Hai and Kristens Nature Communications paper is chosen to be displayed as part of the 2017¬†art in science¬†event

Mackenzie Lauro and Hai Liang win first and thrid place, respectively, in the Joel Silver graduate research symposium at the University of Delaware

Walter Drake, Kristen DeMeester, and Amy Schaefer presented their research at the 10th annual frontiers in chemsitry and biology interface symposium at the University of Delaware.  Catherine co-chaired the meeting with her colleague, Brian Bahnson.

Hannah and Zach present their research at the ASBMB national meeting in Chicago

The Group travels to Washington, D.C. to present their work at the NIH Glycoscience Day.  Catherine gave a talk and Kristen won the Water’s poster award!  Great job, Kristen!  

Members of the Leimkuhler Grimes Lab participate in the Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis at the riverfront in Wilmington, DE. 

Labeling bacterial cell ‚Äújacket‚ÄĚ! After three years of hard research, Hai and Kristen successfully developed a new method to remodel and label on the bacterial peptidoglycan carbohydrate backbone and their manuscript is published in¬†UDaily¬†and¬†Nature Communications!

Catherine is named a Sloan Research Scholar.  Thank you to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for this honor. 

Kristen DeMeester is selected as a co-chair for the 2018 Bioorganic Gordon Research Seminar. 

January 27th:  James Melnyk defends his thesis on the synthesis and characterization of NOD2 ligands on January 27th. Check out the pictures of his defense and celebration under Albums. James is off to sunny San Fransisco to work with Professor Kevan Shokat and cheer for the 49ers.  

Amy Schaefer and Hai Liang receive the University of Delaware dissertation fellowship for 2017-2018. Thank you to the University of Delaware for supporting our research projects.

Mackenzie Lauro and Yiben Wang are appointed as student co-organizers of the 10th annual frontiers in chemistry and biology interface (CBI) symposium 

Matt Jensen and Ophelia Ukaegbu join the group. Welcome!


Fall 2016

Elizabeth D’Ambrosio and Ashley Brown joined the group.  Welcome!!!

Siavash Mashayekh is appointed as a Bioorganic development lab fellow.

Ching-Wen Hou and Mackenzie Lauro published a viewpoint on the importance of the innate immune system in ACS infectious diseases.

Mackenzie Lauro published her work identifying the residues responsible for binding of MDP to NOD2 in ACS infectious diseases. Congrats Mackenzie!!

Walter Drake and Klare Lazor passed their candidacy exam!  Woot Woot!

Yiben Wang is awarded The University of Delaware’s Interdisciplinary Science Center Preceptor Fellowship for the fall 2016 semester

Mackenzie Lauro presented her research (talk) at the Eastern Analytical Symposium


Summer 2016

Members of the Leimkuhler Grimes Lab presented their research at the National ACS meeting in Philadelphia. Yiben Wang, Mackenzie Lauro, Amy Schaefer and Jason Burch presented posters. Kristen DeMeester, Hai Liang, and Ching-Wen Hou were selected to give talks. Catherine presented the labs work at the Young Academic Investigator Symposium.

Hannah Watsyk, Matthew Hurlock, and Zach Jones presented their work and the Undergraduated Summer Scholars poster session.

Ching-Wen Hou presented a poster on the O-GlcNAcylation of Nod2 at the Proteoglycan Gordon Research Conference.

June 2016:

Kristen DeMeester gave a talk on her research labeling the bacterial cell wall at the Bioorganic Gordon Research Conference.

Klare Lazor (poster) and Kristen DeMeester (talk) presented their work at the NISBRE conference in Washington D.C..

Klare Lazor presented a poster on her research at the NIH Glycoscience day. 


Spring 2016

Amy Schaefer and Kristen DeMeester presented there research at the Joel L. Silver symposium. Kristen took first place and Amy was third. Congratulations!!!

Klare, Kristen, Amy, Jenna, and Wally present their research at the CBI conference.

Jason Burch, Mackenzie Lauro, and James Melnyk presented posters at the e Delaware ACS section Student/Industry Poster Session and Colloquium.

Tyler Heiss has decided to purse chemical biology graduate studies at UC Irvine next fall. 

Congratulations to Hannah Wastyk for receiving the 2016 Goldwater Scholars Award!

Members of the Leimkuhler Grimes Lab present their research at the 2016 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) in San Diego.¬† Jason and Hai received travel awards from the ASBMB to attend the meeting (Thanks, ASBMB!).¬†¬†Hannah¬† Wastyk receives best Undergraduate Poster Award ‚Äú‚ÄúBiochemical Characterization of the Interaction between Innate Immune Receptor Nod2 and its Chaperones.‚ÄĚ‚ÄĚ!¬† Way to go Hannah!!! Tyler Heiss received an honorable mention for his poster.¬†Hai Liang was selected to give a talk ‚ÄúBacterial Cell Wall Remodeling to Study the Production of Immunoactivating Fragments‚ÄĚ.

Mackenzie Lauro and Yiben wang presented their work at ACS national meeting in San Diego. Both Yiben and Mackenzie received travel awards from the ACS. (Thanks, ACS!)

Mackenzie Lauro and Jason Burch published a review on the effect of Nod2 on the microbiota in Crohn’s disease in Current Opinions in Biotechnology. 

Walter Drake and Klare Lazor passed their cumulative exams.

The lab receives a NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award recognition to support our work on the molecular recognition of bacterial cell wall fragments by yeast and humans.  Thanks to the NSF for their support!  Read more in UDaily

Hai Liang and Amy Schaefer presented their work at the Delaware IDeA conference. 


Fall  2015

Sandy (Ching-Wen) Hou was selected to give a talk on Nod2/post-translational modifications at the 24th Annual Philadelphia Infection and Immunity Forum. Congratulations Sandy! Amy Schaefer and Jason Burch also presented their work.

Congratulations to Kristen DeMeester on passing her first committee meeting.

Sandy (Ching-Wen) Hou published her work describing the O-GlcNAc modification of NOD2 in Glycobiology. Congratulation Sandy!!!!

Amy Schaefer presents her work at the 2015 Northeast Regional IDeA Conference in Maine.


Summer 2015

 Vishnu Mohanan defended his thesis characterizing the interaction between NOD2 and HSP70 on August 5th. Congratulations Dr. Vishnu Mohanan, the first PhD from the Leimkuhler Grimes Lab.  Check out the pictures of his defense and celebration under Albums.   He is off to a postdoc in the Xavier Laboratory at the BROAD Institute.  

James Melnyk published his work on a new synthesis of MDP in JACS. He showed that modifications to MDP can tune the stability of Nod2 in a cell.  Congratulations Jim!!!

Congratulations to Jenna Deibert for passing her qualifying exams

James Melnyk presented his research at the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Graduate research symposium

Catherine presented the labs work at the Carbohydrate Gordon Research Conference.

Catherine presented the groups research at DuPont.

Brice Ludwig and Christine Banos are rotating with our lab for the summer.


Spring 2015

Sandy (Ching-Wen) Hou was selected to give a talk on Nod2/post-translational modifications at the New York Academy of Sciences Chemical Biology meeting. Way to go, Sandy!  Mackenzie Lauro and Yiben Wang also presented their research

Mackenzie Lauro and Sandy (Ching-Wen) Hou present their work at the Glycobiology Interest Group (GIG) Poster Session, Johns Hopkins.    

Yiben Wang and Kristen DeMeester presented their research at the NIH & FDA Glycosciences Research Day. 

James Melnyk presents his work at the Philadelphia Organic Chemistry Club (POCC) and receives seconds prize for best poster!  Great job, Jim!

Undergraduate Lauren Genova received the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Undergraduate Student Award.

The Mizutani Glycoscience Foundation funds our collaboration with the Zachara group to investigate post-translational modifications of Nod2. Thanks you!

Catherine was given the Cottrell Scholar Award in recognition for her efforts as both a teacher and as a research group leader.  Thanks to the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement for their support!  Read more in UDaily

James Melnyk receives a Graduate Scholars Competitive Award from the University of Delaware!  Way to go Jim!

The Grimes lab receives a UDRF-SI to support our collaboration with the Polenova Research Lab.  Read more in UDaily.

Kristen DeMeester passed her cumulative exams

Undergraduate Lauren Genova received three awards from the University of Delaware: Quaesita Drake Scholarship, Merck Index Award, and James A. Moore Undergraduate Award in Organic Chemistry.  Great work, Lauren!

The Grimes group’s research was featured in the Delaware News Journal.

Members of the Leimkuhler Grimes Lab present their research at the 2015 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) in Boston (check out the pictures).¬† Mackenzie, Yiben, Lauren and Sandy all received travel awards from the ASBMB to attend the meeting (Thanks, ASBMB!).¬†¬†Sandy (Ching-Wen Hou) receives best Thematic Poster Award ‚ÄúPosttranslational Modifications‚ÄĚ!¬† Way to go SANDY!!!

Walter Drake, a biochemist, joins the group.  Welcome!

Klare Lazor and Jenna Deibert joined the Grimes group.  Welcome!

Hai Liang gave a talk at the 2nd annual UD Microbial Systems Symposium.  Yiben, Kristen, and Amy presented posters.


Fall 2014

Amy Schaefer, Hai Liang, Ching-Wen Hou (Sandy), and Jason Burch all passed completed their first committee meetings.

Lauren Genova received winter session funding for the University of Delaware Undergraduate Research Program from the Donald W. Harward Fellowship.

Yiben received the Elizabeth Dyer Excellence in Teaching Award. Congrats Yiben!

 Our work on the generation of bacterial cell wall fragment libraries is funded as part of the new COBRE to discover new therapeutic probes.   The COBRE is lead by Professor Joe Fox.    


Summer 2014

The group went on a picnic to Lum’s Pond to celebrate summer (check out the pictures)!

All three undergraduates, Lauren Genova, Tyler Heiss, and Joseph Piccotti present their research at the annual undergraduate research symposium in Clayton Hall (check out the pictures).  

Vishnu’s manuscript is featured on UDel Daily! Way to go Vish!

New first year graduate students, Walter Drake and Klare Lazor, have arrived at UD early to rotate in the lab!  Welcome!

Catherine is named a 2014 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences!  

Tyler Heiss and Lauren Genova will preform research in our laboratory throughout the summer as HHMI Undergraduate Research Scholars.

Joseph Piccotti, a junior at Albright University, will perform research in the lab this summer as an REU student!  We are excited to have such an excellent group of undergraduates in the lab this summer!!

Congratulations to Vishnu Mohanan for being awarded a Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research.  

Vishnu Mohanan has published the groups second paper!!! Congratulations Vishnu. 

Congratulation to Doug Kenny and Luke Oostdyk for receiving their B.S. Chemistry

Congratulations to Yiben Wang for winning the graduate student Excellence in Teaching Award.

Kristen DeMeester presented her research at the Third Annual Area-wide Glycobiology Poster Session at John Hopkins          University

Kristen DeMeester and Mackenzie Lauro presented their research at the Seventh Annual Frontiers At The Chemistry-Biology Interface Symposium at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy


Spring 2014

Doug Kenny and Lauren Genova presented posters at the ASBMB Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego.

Hai Liang, Ching-Wen Hou (Sandy), Jason Burch, and Amy Schaefer have completed their cumulative exams!

Luke Oostdyk has decided to pursue biochemistry graduate studies at the University of Virginia, and Doug Kenny will pursue chemical biology graduate studies at Harvard University next fall.

Lauren Genova has received summer funding through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) program.

Congratulations to Vishnu Mohanan on passing his PhD candidacy exam!


Fall 2013

We are happy to have CBI rotation student Nathan McDonald working in our lab.

Congratulations to Yiben Wang, Mackenzie Lauro, and James Melnyk for passing their first committee meetings!


Summer 2013

The group has new t-shirts.  Check them out!

We are excited to announce that CBI rotation student Kristen DeMeester has started working with us!

The Grimes group attended the annual CBI symposium at the University of Maryland College Park. Vishnu Mohanan presented a poster at the meeting.

Vishnu Mohanan and James Melnyk presented at the NIH Glycobiology poster session.

Mackenzie Lauro and Amy Schaefer presented a poster at the annual Graduate Student Forum.

Vishnu Mohanan presented a poster at the Mid-Atlantic Glycobio-Interest Group.


Spring 2013

Catherine gave a talk at the Mid-Atlantic Glycobio-Interest Group.

Congratulations to Mackenzie Lauro, James Melnyk, and Yiben Wang for successfully completing their CUMES!

Mike Estephan, Annie Sanger, and Kathleen Seip all presented posters at the Undergraduate Research Poster Session.

Congratulations to Doug Kenny for receiving the 2013 Goldwater Scholars Award! (

Vishnu Mohanan passed his committee meeting!


Fall 2012

We are excited to welcome graduate students Hai Liang and Ching-Wen Hou (Sandy) to our group!

Congratulations to Annie Sanger for winning 3rd place in the ‚ÄúInterdisciplinary Undergraduate Research in Sustainability¬†¬† Prize‚Ä̬† (!

Lushanti De Zoysa Ariyananda  and James Melnyk published the labs first paper!  Way to go!  (

The group is excited to wear group t-shirts designed by dedicated organic post-doc Yu Liu!


Summer 2012

We are excited to announce that CBI rotation student Amy Schaefer has started working with us!

We are saddened to say goodbye to our dedicated biochemistry post-doc Lushanti, she is headed to Germany!

Catherine is awarded a University of Delaware Research Foundation grant:


Spring 2012

New visiting student Jason Burch has started working with us!

We welcome Dr. Yu Liu from the University of Maryland to our group. His expertise includes organic methodology development and transition metal catalysis, specialized in reactions applying diazocarbonyl compounds.

On January 24th, over thirteen faculty, including Dr. Catherine L. Grimes, whose research involve microbiology from various departments within the University of Delaware gave a brief presentation on their work. Posters were presented from our lab for the ‚ÄėMicrobial Systems Symposium‚Äô by Dr. Lushanti Ariyananda, James Melnyk, and Vishnu Mohanan.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Recent Posts