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Associate Professor

Peter Kekenes-Huskey, Ph.D.

Department of Cell & Molecular Physiology

Research and Teaching Statement

Ph.D. Chemistry 2009
California Institute of Technology

B.S. Chemistry 2001
UNC Asheville

Peter Kekenes-Huskey, Ph.D. (PI) is an associate professor at Loyola University Chicago. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina Asheville (2001), which was followed by a Fulbright Fellowship to Germany, whereafter he obtained his Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology (2009). At UNC Asheville, he developed algorithms for the ab initio prediction of halogenated ethane decomposition rates as a Barry Goldwater Scholar with Bert Holmes and George Heard (UNCA). His Ph.D. research with William A. Goddard, III (Caltech) focused on developing Monte Carlo tools and molecular dynamics simulations. Peter complemented his studies with applied mathematics and computer science coursework from algorithm design to parallel computing, in fulfillment of National Science Foundation and Department of Energy Computional Science Graduate Fellowships. Following his Ph.D. work, he worked as a Staff Scientist at Arete Associates from 2007 to 2010, where he developed near-real time image processing and signal detection algorithms for defense applications. Returning to his passion for the physical sciences, he pursued postdoctoral studies with Professors Andy McCammon (Chemistry) and Andrew McCulloch (Bioengineering) at the University of California San Diego under support of American Heart Association and National Institutes of Health fellowships, to understand cardiac calcium signaling using molecular dynamics, partial differential equations and systems biology models.
In 2014, he began his independent career in the Chemistry Department at U Kentucky, where his lab studied multi-physics descriptions of molecular-driven events with macro-scale phenomena, with myriad applications in biological and nanoscale systems. His lab moved to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in 2019 to build an experimental complement to his computational research directions. As an independent investigator, he has been recognized for this work through becoming the first Maximizing Investigators' Research Award recipient at the University of Kentucky (Link) and being named as the Stritch School of Medicine's Senior Scientist of the Year (Link).

Postdoctoral Scholars

Xuan Fang, PH.D.

Ph.D. Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics, 2019
Illinois Institute of Technology

After graduating from Illinois Institute of Technology, Xuan joined the PKH lab in Jan, 2020. Having survived five brutal Chicago winters, he has developed a skill set in biochemical and biophysical characterization of proteins. His main research interest lies in the understanding of enzyme mechanisms on the molecular level, using both computational and experimental techniques. Outside the lab, Xuan is a big fan of basketball, beer, and Rock music. Fun fact, when time permits, Xuan also does micro home brew with his buddies. Best batch so far is a pineapple wheat ale with a really refreshing fruity taste (Recipe available upon request).

Audrey Kongmeneck, PH.D.

Ph.D. Theoretical Chemistry, 2022
University of Paris-Cité

After a PhD in theoretical chemistry and a postdoc at the University of Paris-Cité, Audrey went across an entire ocean to join the PKH lab in Oct. 2022. Her main research interests are focused on therapeutic target proteins, especially those with complex structures and functions, such as ion channels. To study these molecules, she mostly uses computational methods. Besides research, Audrey has many interests, the main ones involving drawing cartoons, and making home-made pastries.

Graduate Students

Emily Krueger

Integrated Biomedical Sciences PhD candidate

Emily Krueger graduated cum laude from Monmouth College with a B.A. in Biopsychology in May 2021. She is a graduate student in the Integrated Program for Biomedical Sciences PhD program. Her main research interest is understanding the relationship between microglia and the development of Alzheimer’s Disease using wet-lab and computational methods. Besides her academic and research interests, Emily enjoys living an active and engaging life in her hometown of Chicago.

Undergraduate Students

Joshua Bruno


Joshua Bruno is a sophomore majoring in biophysics at Loyola University Chicago. Josh was selected to work for PKH lab through Loyola University's First Year Research Experience (FYRE) from his interest in molecular physiology. In PKH lab Josh works under Bin Sun with the goal of quantitatively recording microglial morphologies present in brain tissue by use of image filtering techniques with Python.

Michael Muzupappa

Molecular Neuroscience

I am going to be a sophomore at Loyola this academic year, my major is molecular neuroscience. I was able to become a part of the lab through the FYRE program. My part in the lab is to evaluate the effectiveness of PCA on various microglia morphologies and determine if MACH filter effectiveness can be increased through PCA.

Rohan Sethi


Rohan is a sophmore majoring in Bioinformatics. Rohan started working in the PKH lab during his freshman year. In the PKH lab, Rohan is currently working on coding a model of negative feedback inhibition on the PI3K-Akt-PTEN pathway by implementing a Goodwin Oscillator in python. This model to investigate the kinetics of said feedback inhibition to potentiate immune cell anti-tumor pathways.


Peter Varughese, MPH

Reseacher Assistant

Peter Varughese is a graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with honors obtaining a Bachelors of Science (BS) in Biological Sciences and a Bachelors of Art (BA) in Psychology. During his undergraduate studies, he did research on ovarian cancer at UIC College of Pharmacy. After completing his Masters of Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in Epidemiology at Loyola University Chicago (LUC), he is working on using image detection to identify differences in microlgia morphology between patient's with Alzheimer's Disease and patient's without Alzheimer's Disease.

Geraldine San Ramon

Reseacher Assistant

Geraldine graduated from Loyola with MS Bioinformatics in Dec 2021. She also graduated with a BS Biochemistry and MS Biotechnology. She previously worked on reproductive genetics and has years of hands-on molecular lab experience. She’s currently working on MD simulation of proteins involved in LQTS. She likes to code and troubleshoot problems. On her days off, she likes to travel, hike, snorkel or just read.


Dylan Colli

BS Chemical Engineering

Tom Pace

Ph.D. student in Physics & Astronomy

Caitlin Scott

Postdoctoral Researcher (Currently Assistant Professor)

Bin Sun

Postdoctoral Researcher (Currently Assistant Professor)

Ben Chun

Postdoctoral Researcher (Currently Process Controls Engineer)

Kalyan Immadisetty

Postdoctoral Researcher (Currently Lead Bioinformatician)

Jeremiah Jacob-Dolan

BS Biochemistry and Biostatistics

Chisom Orizu

2022 Summer Intern