Erin S. Baker

Erin was born and raised on a farm/ranch in central Montana. She attended the same school in Winifred, MT from kindergarten to her senior year of high school where she competed in basketball, volleyball and track and played the flute in concert band and the baritone in pep band. She received her B.S. in chemistry and a minor in mathematics from Montana State University in Bozeman. At MSU, Erin performed undergraduate research in Eric Grimsrud’s lab using ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) and grew to love the structural separations possible with this technique. She pursued IMS even further during her Ph.D. research in Michael Bowers’ Group at the University of California – Santa Barbara where she evaluated DNA duplexes and quadruplexes by coupling IMS with mass spectrometry (IMS-MS) measurements. Erin then traveled to Tricities, WA where she was a post-doctoral researcher and then a scientist in Richard Smith’s group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. During this time, she evaluated multidimensional separations for high-throughput proteomic, metabolomic, lipidomic, glycomic and exposomic measurements and worked with different software groups to develop programs to assess the complex data. Erin has published >110 manuscript on applications and methods using IMS-MS to evaluate complex environmental and biological systems. In her free time, she loves camping, hiking, whitewater rafting and snuggling with her dogs.


James Dodds

James is a postdoctoral scholar in the Baker Lab and is currently developing analytical methods for quick solid phase extraction using both the Agilent RapidFire system and liquid chromatography prior to IMS-MS analysis. Applications of these methods are currently focused on studying perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and their isomeric diversity. He completed his B.S. in chemistry in 2013 at the University of North Georgia where he was an undergraduate researcher under the advisement of Dr. Dan Thompson focusing on developing an interface between a thermogravimetric analyzer and a single quadrupole mass spectrometer. He then went on to further study mass spectrometry with a focus on characterizing ion mobility separations under the advisement of Dr. John McLean at Vanderbilt University, where he obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry in 2018. In his free time James enjoys watching college football, eating at Taco Bell, and most importantly watching The Bachelor franchise.


Karen Butler

Karen was born and raised in Madison Heights, Virginia. She stayed in Central Virginia for her undergraduate education, receiving a B.S. in chemistry from Lynchburg College (now the University of Lynchburg). While at LC, she discovered a strong love for analytical chemistry, particularly separations science, mass spectrometry, and alternative sampling techniques. Following graduation from LC, she pursued her M.S. in forensic science (emphasis in drugs analysis and toxicology) at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she performed research under the direction of Dr. Michelle Peace focused on using SPME-GC/MS and SPME-DART-MS to characterize aerosol produced by electronic cigarettes. These research experiences ultimately led her to pursue a PhD at NCSU, where she continues to build her passion for mass spectrometry instrumentation and method development, especially when related to bioanalytical applications. When not in the lab, Karen enjoys knitting, karate, and spending time with her husband and her dog, Diesel.


Melanie Odenkirk

Melanie spent the first half of her childhood in New Jersey and her second half in Virginia. She stayed in state to complete her B.S. in 2018 at James Madison University (JMU) where she found her passion for mass spectrometry conducting undergraduate research with Dr. Christine Hughey. Besides her passion for chemistry, Melanie is a music lover and was in marching band for six years where she played clarinet and conducted the band. She is also a dog person, an avid game player and loves to cook!



Allison Stewart

Allison was born and raised in Raleigh, NC.  She received a B.S. in biology and an M.S. in chemistry both from UNC-Wilmington.  Allison worked as a Research Specialist for over a decade in the Biomolecular Discovery Group of MARBIONC at UNC-Wilmington before joining METRIC at NCSU in April 2018 as Lab Manager and Metabolomics Research Scientist.  Allison joined the Baker Lab in 2019 as a PhD student in analytical chemistry and her research interests include multi-omics investigations of the brain-gut connection.  Outside of her love for science, Allison enjoys music, fashion, traveling, reading, cooking, and spending time with her son.



Kaylie Kirkwood

Kaylie grew up in a small town outside of Cleveland, Ohio then moved to Wilmington, North Carolina in high school. She completed her B.S. in chemistry with a minor in biological sciences here are NC State University. She found her passion for biological mass spectrometry while conducting undergraduate research with Dr. David Muddiman on toxins associated with neurodegeneration using CE-MS. In her free time, Kaylie loves listening to music and podcasts, crafting, and spending time with family.



MaKayla Foster

MaKayla was born and raised in Oneida, New York. She completed her B.S. in chemistry with a minor in forensic science at SUNY Oswego. While at Oswego, she discovered her passion for analytical chemistry and HPLC. Following graduation from Oswego, she pursued her M.S. in chemistry at Rochester Institute of Technology where she performed research under Dr. Scott Williams focused on developing a colorimetric assay to detect counterfeit Tuberculosis medications and found her love for mass spectrometry. In her free time, MaKayla enjoys running, hiking and reading.


Caitlin Hodges

Caitlin is a senior pursuing a B.S. in Chemistry with a double minor in Forensic Science and Spanish. She is interested specifically in forensic chemistry and hopes to familiarize herself with mass spectrometry instrumentation and techniques in the lab. In her free time, Caitlin enjoys playing piano and watching Netflix.




Caroline Cottam

Caroline is a junior pursuing a B.S. in Chemistry. She is specifically interested in how to utilize mass spectrometry in the real world and enjoys working in the lab and getting hands on experience. When Caroline is not in the lab, she enjoys attending spin classes and traveling with friends.





Nancy Abdelrahman

Nancy is a junior pursuing a B.S. in Chemistry. She is specifically interested in cosmetic chemistry and hopes to utilize mass spectrometry instrumentation to better understand the formulation of certain makeup products and is interested in learning more techniques in the lab. Nancy is originally from Alexandria, Egypt and is fluent in Arabic and English. She enjoys reading, watching movies and most importantly spending time with family and friends.