Nicole (Nikki) Schonenbach

Past Member (Graduate Student Researcher)



Nikki was coadvised by Prof. Michelle O'Malley (ChE) and Prof. Songi Han (DCB). She worked on characterizing pharmaceutically relevant membrane protein complexes to link changes in structure and dynamics to function. Namely, she worked with a G protein-coupled receptor called the adenosine A2a receptor to elucidate structural details and functional consequences of homo-dimerization. The A2a receptor regulates cardiac function and several processes within the central nervous system; the outcome of this research will facilitate improved rational drug design to target A2a receptor oligomers in the treatment of disorders such as inflammation, fibrosis, schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease.


  • 2006 - 2011: B.Eng., Chemical Engineering, Montana State University - Bozeman (Advisor: Prof. Brent Payton)
  • 2011 - 2017: Ph.D., Chemical Engineering and Biophysics, University of California - Santa Barbara (Coadvisors: Prof. Michelle O'Malley and Prof. Songi Han)


  • 2009: Summer Intern, Idaho National Laboratory (Advisor: Prof. Robert Bean)
  • 2010: NSF Undergraduate Intern, Massachusett Institute of Technology (Advisor: Prof. Michael Strano)