Bercem Bercem Dutagaci, PhD
Assistant Professor
Office: Science and Engineering Building 1, room 396

Bercem Dutagaci received her bachelor degree in Chemistry at 2006 and her master degree at 2008 from the Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey. She then moved to Frankfurt, Germany to pursue her PhD in Biochemistry at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, where she has worked on membrane biophysics using solid-state NMR techniques and computer simulations. After her graduation at 2013, she went back to Bogazici University in Istanbul for a postdoctoral training in in-silico drug research. In 2015, she started her postdoctoral research in Michigan State University, where she has worked on various projects including implicit membrane development, protein structure refinement, and predictions of membrane permeation of drug molecules. Lately, she started to be interested in larger scale biological questions related to eukaryotic transcription and phase separation events in cellular system. She joined UC Merced in January 2021 and her research focuses on transcription processes using computational techniques.


Amith Weththasinghage Don Amith, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher, 2021-Present
Office: Science and Engineering Building 1, room 394

Amith received his B.Sc. degree in computational chemistry from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2014. Then he moved to the University of Iowa where he worked on investigation of structural and dynamical properties of typical vs special ionic liquids in the bulk form and at interfaces. He received his PhD degree in 2021 from the University of Iowa. Since July 2021, he has been working at UC Merced as a postdoctoral researcher. He is modeling spatial organization of RNA polymerase during the transcription events using multi-scale molecular dynamics simulations.


Negin Safaei Hashkavaei
Graduate Student, 2024-Present
Office: Science and Engineering Building 1, room 398


Adan Gallardo Adan Gallardo
Lab Assistant, 2021-Present
Office: Science and Engineering Building 1, room 398

Adan obtained his B.S in biology with a concentration on human emphasis in May of 2022. He enrolled into UC Merced with a concrete goal of becoming a doctor and pursuing his degree in medicine. During his years at UC Merced, he encountered a newly developed passion towards deepening his knowledge on molecular systems and research. As a result, he plans to pursue an MD/PhD route after obtaining his bachelor's degree. Here, he studies protein nucleic acid interactions between DNA/RNA and elongation factors that form an elongation complex with RNA polymerase II during transcription.


Vincent Chen Vincent Chen
Undergraduate Student, 2022-Present
Office: Science and Engineering Building 1, room 398

Vincent enrolled into UC Merced in the Fall of 2021 and will receive his B.S. in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Human Biology in May of 2025. After which he plans to acquire his MD/DO degree in hopes of pursuing a future career in medicine. Vincent is eager to conduct research and interested in broadening his knowledge on molecular dynamics.

Bereinda Younan Anhar Bereinda Younan Anhar
Undergraduate Student, 2023-Present
Office: Science and Engineering Building 1, room 398

Bereinda enrolled at UC Merced in the fall of 2021, and in May of 2025 she will graduate with a B.S. in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Human Biology. She plans to get her DDS in an effort to become a dentist. Bereinda is interested in gaining computational research skills.


Oliver Cantrell, Undergraduate Student at Bakersfield College, UROC CV PATH Scholar, Summer 2023
Shiwani Limbu, graduate student, 2021-2022
Brandon M. Bogart, graduate student, 2021-2022


Graduate and undergraduate students interested in transcription events and computer simulations are welcome to join!