Hegg Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Eric Hegg

I obtained my B.A. from Kalamazoo College and my Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin under the direction of Professor Judith Burstyn. It was during my time at Wisconsin that I became interested in metalloenzymology, studying the role of metal ions in enzymes that hydrolyze DNA, RNA, and proteins. After receiving my Ph.D., I joined Larry Que's group at the University of Minnesota as an NIH postdoctoral fellow where I studied non-heme iron dioxygenases and established my long-standing interest in understanding how nature synthesizes and activates small molecules such as H2 and O2. Following my postdoctoral work, my family and I moved to Salt Lake City where I joined the faculty of the University of Utah and began my independent research career. When the opportunity arose, my wife and I eagerly returned to the northern Midwest to join the faculty at MSU. In addition to studying heme biosynthesis and O2 utilization, I am involved in developing renewable bioenergy, converting biomass into ethanol and other transportation fuels as wells as using microbes to generate H2. When I am not busy in the lab, I enjoy running, hiking, and most outdoor activities.
E-mail: EricHegg@msu.edu

Research Associates

Namita Bansal

Namita Bansal is a research associate in the Biochemistry Department. She joined Hegg Lab in April 2013. Before coming to Michigan State she received her PhD (Biotechnology) from Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. Her current research goals are focused on catalyst aided deconstruction studies of lignocellulosic biomass. She likes to shop and loves cooking Indian food.
Email: namita@msu.edu

Aditya Bhalla Aditya Bhalla is a research associate in the Biochemistry Department. He joined Hegg Lab in December 2013. He received his PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. His current research goals are focused on improving catalyst aided pretreatment to enhance lignocellulosic biomass digestibility and recycling/recovery of catalyst to develop cost-effective conversion process. He enjoys playing his favorite sport - Table Tennis.
Email: bhalla@msu.edu

Emily HerwaldtEmily Herwaldt is a research associate in the Biochemistry Department. She received her PhD from the Cell and Molecular Biology Program at Michigan State and completed her graduate work in the Hegg lab. She is carrying on her graduate work investigating the protein-protein interactions of heme a synthase. By unraveling the protein interactions that occur with heme a synthase, she hopes to determine how heme a is inserted into cytochrome c oxidase and the processes that occur during cytochrome c oxidase assembly. Her other interests include playing with her one-year-old daughter and being outside.
E-mail: harpere7@msu.edu

Graduate Assistants

Gracielou Klinger

Gracielou Klinger is a graduate student in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Chemistry department. She joined the Hegg lab in November 2014. Before coming to Michigan State she obtained her undergraduate degrees from Wright State University in Dayton, OH. Her interest's lie in the chemical breakdown of plant biomass and its conversion to value added products. She loves nature and her black thumb does not stop her from trying to grow lots of plants.
E-mail: klingerg@msu.edu

Elise Rivett Elise Rivett is a BMB graduate student; she joined the Hegg lab in April 2014. Before coming to MSU, she earned a B.S. in chemistry from Olivet Nazarene University. Her current research goals focus on characterizing the mechanism and structure of heme a synthase, an enzyme that produces an essential cofactor for cytochrome c oxidase. Elise also enjoys long rambling walks, Costa Rican coffee, and funky socks.
E-mail: rivettel@msu.edu

Hui Yang Hui Yang is a graduate student in the Hegg lab. She joined the BMB department in 2007. She became a member of the Hegg lab in 2008. Her research is mainly about metabolic water and the use of metabolic water. Her projects are: (1) testing the oxygen source of metabolic water pool using oxygen isotopes; (2) investigating the proton flux during biological hydrogen production using hydrogen isotopes. She likes research and science. However, she also likes cartoons a lot.
E-mail: yanghui@msu.edu


Antoineen WhiteAntoineen White is a research assistant in the Hegg lab through the Biochemistry Research Trainee Program. She joined the Hegg lab in January 2014. Before coming to Michigan State University she received her B.A. from Amherst College in Amherst, MA. Her current research centers on the biosynthesis, regulation and transport of heme A in the mitochondria. Her other interests include figure skating and reading.
Email: whitea50@msu.edu

Undergraduate Students

Mackenzie FountainMackenzie Fountain is an undergraduate research assistant assisting Aditya Bhalla with lignocellulosic biomass degradation. He is majoring in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and joined the lab in March of 2014. He plans on either going to medical school and becoming a pediatrician or going on to grad school in Biochemistry so he can become a professor. Outside of the lab, Mackenzie enjoys theatre, tennis, and spending time with his family.
Email: founta50@msu.edu

Jack PfeifferJack Pfeiffer is a freshman professorial assistant helping John Wright with the heme project. He joined the lab in the fall of 2013. Jack is a pre-medical student. His hobbies outside of the lab include playing board games, running, biking, and listening to music.
Email: pfeiff33@msu.edu


Rachel Semaan Rachel Semaan is an undergraduate student assisting Namita Bansal studying catalyst-aided deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass. She is majoring in Biochemistry and plans on attending graduate school in the future. Some goals she aims to achieve include learning how to be effective, innovative, and precise in a laboratory, and better in critical thinking skills. Outside of the lab she enjoys staying active, shopping, and listening to all types of music.
Email: semaanra@msu.edu

Dr. Hegg at a football game