People Past but not Forgotten

Upon graduation our students receive first-class up to date training and the right credentials sought by employers in the job market

Jesse Noar

2016 Ph.D. Microbiology—N.C. State University

2011-2013 NSF GRFP Fellow

B.A. Biology/Microbiology Cornell University

He is a employee of Medicago, Inc. since January 2017. Jesse’s BacterioFiles are always a good source of information

E-mail: jdnoar(at)

Jesse Noar grew up in some suburbs of New Jersey, but despite that has always been pretty fond of nature. He spent a good amount of time playing outdoors and reading about how things work.

In high school, an especially good biology teacher introduced Jesse to techniques of microbiological culture and told him to separate and identify the organisms in a mixed culture, which he found so enjoyable that he decided to make a career of studying bacteria.

In his undergraduate years at Cornell University, Jesse did well in his microbiology classes and also worked in several labs, gaining experience and research enough to complete an honors thesis. After graduating, he decided to remain in his current lab and gather enough data to publish his first scientific journal article.

With a few years’ worth of research experience under his belt, Jesse decided that it was time to aim for a PhD, and enrolled in the Microbiology graduate program at North Carolina State University, working in the lab of Dr. Bruno-Bárcena. Initially funded by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NCSU and from July 2011 by a NSF graduate research fellowship, he is currently researching a strain of diazotroph that has the potential to produce marketable quantities of hydrogen.

Walter Javier Sandoval Espinosa

2016 Ph.D. Microbiology—N.C. State University

2011 M.S.  Microbiology—N.C. State University

2009  Bachelor of Science, Biology – Universidad Nacional de Asunción (UNA) San Lorenzo, Paraguay

E-mail: wjsandov(at)

2009-2011 FULBRIGHT Fellow

2016 Kenneth R. Keller Award – NCSU

He is a Postdoctoral fellow – Balskus Group at Harvard University
Chemistry & Chemical Biology since January 2017

Walter was awarded in 2009 with a Fulbright scholarship.  He grew up in the city of Luque, near Asuncion, the Capital city of from Paraguay.

While he was an undergrad student, with a major in Biology, he also worked in the Quality Control department of a meat processing plant. This is where he got more interested in bacteria, his current major in grad school.

After obtaining his bachelor degree at the Universidad Nacional de Asuncion,  he was offered the possibility to study in several universities in the U.S. as well as in the U.K. He finally decided to come to North Carolina State University. His research is focused in second generation biofuel, specifically, producing biobutanol using a mutant strain of Clostridium with a non-food carbon source as the substrate. His aim is to improve the productivity of this biofuel so that it can become cost-competitive compared with fossil fuels. This, he says, will help society become more independent of petroleum, and all the geopolitical and contamination issues that this fossil fuel carries with it.

Besides science, he is also an amateur photographer who really enjoys the outdoors. From the highlands to the beach,  you might always find him taking pictures. He likes art in most of its expression. In the end, he says, science is a form of art.


Alicia Cox

2015 B.S. Microbiology—N.C. State University

She joined our lab until graduation on her senior undergraduate year.

She is a emplojee of Merck & Co., Inc. since January 2016

E-mail: acox(at)

Alicia is an outstanding scholar from Raleigh.  She grew up in the city of oaks where would like to receive graduate level education.

She has been the recipient of the summer 2015 research grant from the office of undergraduate research at NCSU.

In recognition of her high academic achievement, the Department of Microbiology and the College of Sciences have chosen her as the recipient of the Dr. Elizabeth S. Haas Memorial Research Endowment for Women in Microbiology for the 2015-2016 academic year.

IMG_1213Lorenzo Blanco

Visiting Senior Undergraduate (2015) student majoring in Agricultural Engineering by the Escuela técnica superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos y de Montes (ETSIAM) at Cordoba University, Spain

E-mail: lorenbm91(at)

Lorenzo is an quasi-Agriculture Engineer from Spain.  He will graduate from Cordova University and would like to receive graduate level education.

Satya Makwana

2012 M.S. in Microbiology – NC State University

2008 B.S. in Microbiology – NC State University

Presently Senior Production Technician
Diosynth Biotechnology, a part of Merck

E-mail: stmakwan(at)

Satya always believed that “It’s the little things in life that count.” And with that outlook, began his love for microbiology.

As an undergraduate Satya worked in research labs while maintaining good academic standing. In fact, one of the research labs he worked in was the Bruno-Barcena lab. There he gained experience in molecular biology, and bioprocessing.

Satya wanted to further his knowledge of bioprocessing and the pharmaceutical industry by working at the CMO Diosynth Biotechnology. Within a year of working there he was promoted to Senior Production Technician and took part in responsibilities including production, quality assurance, quality control, and validation. He also authored an SOP, and other cGMP documents.

After about 3 years of working in industry, Satya decided it was time to go back to school and begin his graduate career with the Bruno-Barcena lab. In the lab he studied a strain of solvent producing bacteria. The solvents produced by this bacteria has many industrial applications. He graduated as Masters of Science in Microbiology and plans to pursue a PhD degree upon completion of the Masters program.

Matthew Evans

2008 Ph.D. Microbiology—N.C. State University

E-mail: matthew.evans4136(at)

Dr. Matthew R. Evans, a Senior Associate Scientist in Quality Control (QC) Microbiology at Pfizer. Currently, he develops scientific methods; designs and conducts chemical and biological assays; writes validation and qualification protocols and reports and method assessments; writes and revises standard operating procedures (SOPs); reviews and validates data; trains and mentors analysts in new and existing procedures methods according to governmental regulations; and provides technical knowledge and support in order to troubleshoot and resolve scientific issues.

Humberto Heluane Ph.D.

1984 BS Chemical Engineering -National Univ. of Tucuman


He is an expert in process optimization with extensive experience in bioreactor operation and academic teaching.
Deiaa Gad el-rab M.S.  candidate to Ph.D. in Microbiology

2003 MS of Science in Agricultural Sciences Cairo University Egypt
Researcher Assistant  – Food Industry and Nutrition Division – National Research center. He was a visiting fellow from Egypt
Carolina_CaroCarolina Caro

2012 BS in Microbiology with a minor in Genetics.

E-mail: cpcaro(at)

CALS honors outstanding student with a 4.0 overall major GPA, graduated as a valedictorian of her class.