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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 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.

Graduate Students:

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, hiking/kayaking, and spending time with her dog Stella.


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.

Michael Doyle


Michael was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana then later moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 2005. After receiving a B.A. in English from UNCG in 2011, Michael moved to Seoul, South Korea to teach English until 2016. Michael graduated with a B.S. in biochemistry from UNCG in 2018 and performed research in the lab of Nicholas Oberlies purifying novel cancer therapeutics from fungus. Michael enjoys philosophy, debate, and theorizing about the meaning of life from a literary, cultural, and scientific perspective. He is a huge fan of the Oxford comma and his lovely puppy, Beignet.


Jack Ryan


Jack was born and raised in Housatonic, Massachusetts, a small town about 15 minutes from the New York State border. He completed his B.S. in chemistry with a minor in history at Boston College. After graduating in 2018 he began working as a research associate at Proteostasis Therapuetics Inc., a biotechnology company located in Boston. At PTI Jack worked primarily as a member of the electrophysiology department, with a special focus on PTI’s drug development pipeline. In his free time Jack enjoys golfing, reading, cooking, and is an avid Boston sports fan.

Rebecca Beres


Rebecca was born and raised in Kirtland, Ohio, a small town about 45 minutes east of Cleveland. She completed her B.S. in Biochemistry at Ohio Northern University in May 2020.  While at Ohio Northern, she found her passion for analytical chemistry while conducting research with Dr. Christopher Spiese focused on detection of environmental molecules by analytical methods such as UPLC and LC-MS. Besides her passion for chemistry, Rebecca enjoys listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.


Anna Boatman


Anna grew up in Wisconsin and received her B.S. in Pharmacology/Toxicology and Biology from UW-Madison in 2013. She worked as a production chemist, project manager, and production planner at MilliporeSigma in Madison before starting grad school at NCSU in 2020. When she’s not in the lab getting excited about analyzing environmental toxicants, you can find her hiking, biking, and climbing around Raleigh and out in the mountains.


Jessie Chappel


Jessie grew up in Edwardsville, IL, a suburb 30 minutes east of St. Louis, MO. She attended undergrad at Greenville University were she double majored in biology and chemistry. During this time, she worked on a research project studying the neurological effects of the kava plant using a C. elegans model. While working on this project, she realized that her true interest is in data analysis, rather than conducting experiments. For this reason, she decided to pursue a PhD in bioinformatics, which she began at NC State in fall of 2020. Outside of school, Jessie enjoys reality TV, playing with cats, and trying new restaurants.


Undergraduate Students:

Nancy Abdelrahman

Nancy is a senior 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.



Gemma Grant

Gemma was born in Canada, raised in California, and later, North Carolina. She is a sophomore pursuing a B.S. in biology. Due to her passions for the environment, she is particularly interested in environmental toxicology and bioaccumulation. In her free time, Gemma enjoys hiking, painting, spending time with her loved ones, and camping.




Ashley Lamb

Ashley was born and raised in Cary, North Carolina.  She currently goes to NC State and is working towards a B.S. in polymer and color chemistry.  She found her passion for mass spectrometry in an organic chemistry class, and she will be doing an internship through the CMI in the Baker’s lab analyzing lipid types as a tumor develops.  In her free time, Ashley enjoys hiking, SCUBA diving, and bird banding.


Haley Ellis

Haley was born and raised in Wilson, North Carolina, and is pursuing a B.S. in human biology with plans to graduate in the fall of 2022. She was intrigued by the Baker group after learning of the different ways to incorporate aspects of human science into analyzing toxicity data in the environment. She enjoy spending time with friends, going to the river, and hanging out with her dogs, Olive and Piper.



Group Alumni

Dr. Karen Butler

Currently a Postdoctoral Associate at the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition


Chemistry PhD (2021)

Michael Christopher

Currently a Graduate Student at University of Florida

Biochemistry B.S. (2021)

Iliana Claudio

Currently a Graduate Student at Universidad Autonoma de Baja California

Biochemistry B.S. and Marine Sciences: Biological Oceanography B.S. (2021)

Caitlin Hodges

Chemistry B.S. (2020)

Caroline Cottam