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Lab Members

Current Members


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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Leah Duong

Graduate Student

Hi, my name is Leah and I am currently pursuing my master’s in Chemistry at California State University, Fullerton. I got my bachelor’s in Chemistry at CSUF as well. I also minored in Criminal Justice and Mathematics. I found my interest in science when I got to college and my goal is to become a forensic scientist. During my undergrad, I had experience with analytical chemistry, which I enjoyed learning, yet I still have an urge to experience organic chemistry. I am super excited to join Dr. Pecic’s lab because I know I will learn so much from this opportunity and have more hands-on experience. During my free time, I enjoyed traveling to new places and trying out new food. I am obsessed with cute little cats and dogs so please show me photos of your pets if you have any.

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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).


Amanda Reyes

Graduate Student

My name is Amanda Reyes, and I am pursuing a master’s degree in chemistry at California State University, Fullerton. I graduated from CSUF with a bachelor of science in biology. After graduating, I worked in a medical diagnostics lab, where I was able to run real-time PCR on COVID samples. Through this work, I gained an appreciation for working in a lab and an interest in understanding the chemical processes involved with running medical diagnostic tests. I am working towards a career in pharmaceutical research involving drug discovery, development, and evaluation. Through Dr. Pecic’s lab, I hope to gain valuable technical skills, experience, and learn new ways to think independently and creatively. My outside interests include movies, musical theater, camping, and reading.

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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. 


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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Cassandra Yuan

Graduate Student

Hello! My name is Cassandra Yuan, and I am currently pursuing my master's degree in chemistry at California State University, Fullerton. I received my Bachelor's of Science in Microbiology and Biomedical Lab Sciences and minor in Chemistry from California State University, East Bay. At Cal State East Bay I was able to participate in undergraduate research in the CSUEB Pain Lab under the supervision of Dr. Ram Kandasamy. Dr. Kandasamy and Dr. Pecic have been collaborating on testing novel drugs synthesized in the Pecic Lab and evaluating their efficacy in in vivo models using behavioral pharmacology techniques in the CSUEB Pain Lab. In this collaboration, I was able to evaluate a few novel compounds in vivo, and found my interest in medicinal chemistry, specifically drug synthesis. Therefore, I decided to pursue my master's in chemistry and get hands-on experience in drug synthesis in the Pecic Lab. After graduation, I hope to work in the pharmaceutical industry focusing on research and development. In my free time, I enjoy reading, cooking, hiking, long walks on the beach, science museums, and card games.


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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Faye Yun

Undergraduate Student - URISE Scholar

Hello! I'm Faye, an undergraduate student working to earn her bachelor's degree in biochemistry at Cal State Fullerton. I began my journey in undergrad as a biology major because I had a strong interest in human physiology. Although I really enjoyed those courses, I grew to love my chemistry classes - especially the labs - and found that biochemistry was a much better fit for me. Life and healthcare at the molecular level is very interesting and I enjoy making connections between my two spheres. After graduation, I plan to join a chemistry or biochemistry PhD program and, ultimately, work full-time as a researcher. But, for now, I hope to grow as a student during my time in Dr. Pecic's lab so that I may begin to develop the skills I'd need in order to one day direct my own projects. In my free time I enjoy sports and exercise of any kind, especially rock climbing, yoga, and running. I also love finding new ways to engage my creative side with music and art.


Emily Zamora

Undergraduate Student

Hi, my name is Emily Zamora and I am currently an undergraduate student at California State University, Fullerton pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Spanish. After obtaining my Bachelor's degree in 2025, my goal is to attend Medical School and become a Dermatologist. My interest in dermatology arose due to my experience with acne. Having experienced insecurity and depression based on physical appearance made me want to become a dermatologist and help people feel secure and confident in their hair, nails, and skin. As a Dermatologist, I will have the opportunity to help those who need financial assistance, whether they are family or strangers. Helping those in need has always been one of the major goals I have set for myself in my career. As a result of having a stable income, I would be able to financially help many people. Another goal I would love to accomplish is to develop my own skin care line, and being part of Dr. Pecic's lab is a great opportunity for me to develop the skills I need in order to be successful with my own future project.

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Anesa Mesic

Undergraduate Student - SureA Program 2023

Hello! My name is Anesa, and I’m pursuing a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry at California State University Fullerton. I am driven to learn about new scientific explorations, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to further my research interests by joining Dr. Pecic's lab. Through my participation in this research, I hope to enhance my skill set and acquire knowledge that will support me in my future professional development. My aspired goal is to be a part of pharmaceutical field and participate in projects that will allow me to contribute to advancing human health. Beyond academics, I’m learning a new language and exploring the world of photography. 

Hi! My name is Adriana Rodriguez, and I am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at California State University, Fullerton. I have always been interested in science growing up and when deciding my major, I decided to study in the Biochemical pathway in order to have a wide variety of future career fields to explore. I have been interested in pursuing a career in pharmaceutical science, and thus, through this lab, I am hoping to expand my knowledge on medicinal chemistry. I am also excited to be able to apply concepts that I have learned in my classes to a hands-on laboratory experience. I am also hoping to learn how to gather research and expand my skills and knowledge to use throughout my professional career. During my free time, I enjoy binge-watching shows, reading, and spending time with friends and family. 

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Adriana Rodriguez

Undergraduate Student

Hello! My name is Heyam Zayed, and I am an undergraduate student at California State University of Fullerton pursuing my bachelor's degree in Biochemistry. After I graduate, I plan to go into the medical field with hopes of becoming a physician assistant. My interest in the medical field started in high school when I volunteered at St. Joseph Hospital and worked with the nursing staff to provide better care for patients. Along with being a full-time student I have been working as a pharmacy technician for about a year. I look forward to learning how pharmacology interacts with biochemistry to combat related diseases within the lab. Though Dr Pecic’s research lab, I hope to acquire the skills and knowledge resources that I will be able to use throughout my professional and educational career. Other than chemistry and medicine, in my free time I love to cook, bake, spend time with my family, and go to Disneyland.


Heyam Zayed

Undergraduate Student

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