Lab Members

Current Members

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Jeannes Angelia

Graduate Student

My name is Jeannes Angelia, and I am currently pursuing a master's degree in Chemistry at California State University Fullerton. I obtained my bachelor's degree in Chemistry from the University of California Los Angeles in 2015. I spent six years doing analytical chemistry in the environmental and pharmaceutical fields, where I gained experience in trace metal analysis, radiochemical analysis, and pharmaceutical analysis. I felt a strong urge to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical field after seeing my grandparents suffer from dementia. In the future, I wish to be involved in the discovery and development of novel drugs that offer more effective treatments compared to currently available drugs. I am very excited to join Dr. Pecic’s lab as I can learn many things from his extensive experience as a medicinal chemist. I like to cook, bake, try new restaurants and tea spots, and travel in my free time.         

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​Xiaohui Weng

Graduate Student

Hi, my name is Xiaohui Weng and I am currently pursuing my master’s in chemistry at CSUF. I received my bachelor’s in chemistry from Fordham University. After that, I worked as a quality control chemist for a pharmaceutical manufacturer, where I performed HPLC and other assay testings on a daily basis. This opportunity allowed me to work with dietary supplements closely and inspired me to pursue research involving drug discovery. I am incredibly excited to join Dr. Pecic’s lab and learn the essentials of becoming a successful medicinal chemist. During my free time, I enjoy traveling, but since COVID, I have gotten more into crocheting and cuddling with my cat (if she lets me).

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Michael Gonzalez 

Graduate Student

My name is Michael Gonzalez and I am currently a graduate student pursuing a Master’s in Chemistry at California State University Fullerton. The concepts and applications are what started my interest in chemistry. Ideally, I plan on working as a medicinal researcher studying different drug therapeutics. I joined Dr. Pecic’s lab because his expansive knowledge in medicinal chemistry as well as current research correlate with my own goals. I have full confidence his guidance will expedite how I grow as a medicinal researcher. Currently, I also work as a server and barista at a local restaurant in the City of Brea. In my free time I like to watch anime, learn new skills, exercise, stay up to date with politics, and go to music concerts. 

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Damian Ventura

Graduate Student

Hello! My name is Damian Ventura. I worked on my bachelor’s and will pursue my master’s at CSUF. During my undergraduate time, I worked on computational/theoretical chemistry for two years under the guidance of Dr. Petit. The focus of my project was investigating the mechanism of light-driven alcohol-aryldiazoacetate systems. The two years of hard work resulted in my first publication and a presentation at the 2022 San Diego ACS Conference. Being a first-generation college student, I am so thankful to have reached this point of my academic career. After some time, I realized I still had so much to learn about the field that I love so much. Realizing that I loved doing research, I decided to pursue my master’s in the field of medicinal/organic chemistry with the ultimate goal of obtaining a PhD. Once I obtain my PhD, my vision for the future is to join industry and begin to work in the field of drug discovery and development. For now, I am very eager and excited to begin developing my hands-on skills in the lab and learn so much from my mentor Dr. Pecic. During my free time, I love to do a lot of things which include going to the gym, art museums, playing videogames, Magic: The Gathering, going to the beach, hiking, night clubs/bars, eating, and so much more!

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Ryan West

Undergraduate Student - MARC Program

I’m Ryan and I am a full-time student at Cal State Fullerton and MARC scholar. Short term, I am working to earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. Long term I plan to attend graduate school and earn a PhD in biochemistry. Ideally, I would like to do research in academia while also working alongside students to help them achieve their goals. I currently work as an instructional assistant at Santiago Canyon College where I work with students directly to guide them through their studies as well as logistical things like grading, organizing, and holding workshops. I am a parent of a thirteen year old and spend most of my free time watching her grow into an incredible individual. I recently transitioned to Dr. Pecic’s lab from a biochem lab and while many of the new techniques are new and faster, I am eager to learn some new skills and contribute to the lab as a whole. I am looking forward to design new drugs and small molecule inhibitors and know that this body of knowledge and the mentorship of Dr. Pecic will help me reach my future goals.

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Paulina Dole

Undergraduate Student

Hi, my name is Paulina Dole, and I am an undergraduate student at California State University, Fullerton pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry with a minor in English. After I graduate in 2025, my goal is to attend medical school and become a healthcare professional, potentially specializing in anesthesiology. My interest in medicinal chemistry sparked after gaining hands-on lab experience with synthesization experiments, so I’m very excited to contribute to Dr. Pecic’s research lab and develop my skills. On campus, I am a President’s Scholar, University Honors student, Dean’s Honors List student, Student Health Professions Association Board Member, President Scholar Student Association Board Member, and Titan Catholic member. Additionally, I worked as a student assistant in the CSUF Office of the President during my first year, and now, I work as a supplemental instruction leader for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Off campus, I love to play the piano and harp, bake, read, watch kdramas, try new foods, spend time with family and friends, and experience as much as I can!

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Tiffany Azusada

Undergraduate Student - LSAMP Scholar

Hi, my name is Tiffany Azusada and I am currently an undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry. While working full-time towards my degree, I am also working part-time as a guest advocate and obtaining my phlebotomy certification. Once I graduate from California State University, Fullerton, I plan on pursuing a career as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist where I’m able to combine my two interests of medicine and science. I have been interested in the medical field since I was young while interning as an EMT and chiropractor assistant. My love for chemistry grew after being introduced to amazing professors and being able to work hands-on in labs. Joining Dr. Pecic’s lab allows me to enhance my laboratory skills and get familiar with the scientific techniques and knowledge needed in my field. On top of my love for chemistry, I also enjoy golfing, exploring new places with my friends and family, and trying new food and drinks during my free time.

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Jasmine Chi

Undergraduate Student - SureA Program 2022

Hi, my name is Jasmine Chi, and I am currently a full-time student at California State University, Fullerton, pursuing a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry. As a kid, I’ve always had a love for science and when I was a sophomore in high school, my love for chemistry above other sciences grew. My senior year of high school I was lucky enough to take a career technical class in pharmacy. I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would because it wasn’t as hands on as I would’ve liked. I soon realized I wanted to be in the lab researching/making a drug. I don’t have a career goal just yet but after joining Dr.Pecic’s research lab I’m hoping to be exposed to more lab work in hopes of sparking a passion. In my free time, I enjoy binge watching a variety of different shows and I like to do all sorts of art, may that be painting, drawing, or crafting. 

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Renee Dicolen

Undergraduate Student

Hi, my name is Renee Dicolen and I am an undergraduate at California State University, Fullerton, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. In the future, I hope to work in the medical field and become a physician’s assistant. I am COPE health scholar, volunteering at Kaiser Permanente and provide direct patient care to postoperative patients. I wanted to explore other means of experience through working in a research lab. Joining Dr. Pecic’s lab provides the opportunity for exposure to working in a lab and developing important scientific techniques. Not only does this experience allow me to contribute to the scientific community, it allows me to help patients in a different light.  I look forward to contributing to Dr. Pecic’s lab as well as the scientific community.   

Hi! My name is Gina Kang, and I am a recent graduate from California State University of Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Chemistry. Currently, I am working as a medical scribe and phlebotomist at a private clinic, with the hopes of going to medical school. Through Dr. Pecic’s lab, I hope to gain a more hands-on experience with medicinal chemistry. With the encounters that I have had with patient care, I realize that many struggle with some form of cognitive decline, specifically Alzheimer’s. Seeing that Dr. Pecic’s lab emphasizes the interactions of pharmaceutical drugs with biochemistry in combatting this disease, I hope to gain more knowledge about not only the subject matter, but how this can aid in understanding the experiences and hardships these patients face. Aside from chemistry, some interests of mine include visiting different coffee shops and breweries, watching cooking videos, and spending time with friends and family. 

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Gina Kang

Postbac Researcher

Hello, I am Melissa Valenzuela, currently a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in  biochemistry. I plan on pursuing a career in the medical field as a laboratory pathologist. I am starting to realize that you do not need to be a medical field doctor or a pharmacist to help people, scientists can improve the way of life of many people. Joining Dr. Pecic’s lab has allowed me to strengthen my knowledge in science and laboratory techniques/skills. I am currently working on the SELEX project and in 2023 I will begin doing stem cell research at Stanford University as part of the Bridges to Stem Cell Research (BSCR) program. Being a part of Dr. Pecic’s lab and the BSCR program has allowed me to strengthen my love of science and has allowed me to examine other career opportunities. I spend most of my free time with my English Bulldog Blue, binge watching tv shows, or reading.

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Melissa Valenzuela

Undergraduate Student - BSCR Program