Murphy Group News

Spring 2024

04.2024 - Congratulations to Marie Kerns who recieved a Poster Award at the ACS - Puget Sound Section Undergraduate Research Symposium!

Marie Kerns

Winter 2024

03.2024 - Morgan Stucky, Keavy Lynch, Caleb Doherty and Marie Kerns traveled to New Orleans to present posters on their research at the Spring ACS Meeting. Morgan also received an Undergraduate Travel Grant sponsored by the Graduate Student Symposium Planning Committee (GSSPC) to participate in the symposium on Nanoparticle Heterogeneity.

Students at ACS Meeting in New Orleans

Fall 2023

11.2023 - Jem Talusig's MS thesis work was published in Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics! Congratulations Jem!

"Synthesis and Characterization of Highly Thiolated Silk Fibroin"


10.2023 - Our latest manuscript was just published in Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics! Congratulations to Racy Santen, Kayla Owens and Keith Echague!

"Chemical Modification of Silk Proteins via Palladium-Mediated Suzuki−Miyaura Reactions" 

Summer 2023

8.2023 - Murphy group members presented their summer research at the annual NSF-REU Summer Symposium. Almost everyone was awarded summer fellowships this year: Caleb was an NSF-REU participant, Reagen is working on a seed grant funded by AMSEC, Keavy was awarded a SeaGen fellowship, Marie received a Jarvis Fellowship from CSE, and Morgan (not pictured) received a NASA fellowship from SMATE. Great group of students this year!

2023 REU symposium

7.2023 - Current Murphy group members were treated to a tour of local company, Tidal Vision (also employer of former Murphy group member Jem Talusig). It was fun to see their scale up facility and analytical lab for isolating, purifying and characterizing chitosan.

Murphy group at Tidal Vision


7.2023 - Dr. Murphy traveled to attend a Gordon Research Conference all about Silk in Rhode Island. On the way, I got to catch up with former students - Sean Severt is currently working at Moderna in Cambridge, MA, and Nick Ostrovsky-Snider is finishing up his PhD at Tufts University.

Amanda Sean and Nick

Spring 2023

6.9.2023 - Congratulations to the one and only Murphy Group Graduate in 2023 - Monique Berg!

It was also great to get a visit on the same day by former group member Evan Patamia, who is currently a PhD student at UMass Amherst.

Monique Berg Graduation; visit from Evan Patamia

6.2023 - Celebrating the end of the 2022-23 academic year!

Murphy group spring 2023

5.2023 - May has been a busy month! Congrats to Monique Berg who successfully defended her M.S. thesis, and to Caleb Doherty, Keavy Lynch, Morgan Stucky, Marie Kerns, and Konnethya Touch who co-presented posters at the annual WWU Scholar's Week Symposium.

Monique thesis defense and Scholars Week Posters

4.2023 - Great to catch up with former students at a local benefit concert! Jem Talusig is working at a local company called Tidal Vision and Mikaela Sadri is working on her PhD at U Southern Mississippi.

Amanda Jem Mikaela

3.2023 - Monique Berg presented her first poster at the ACS Spring Meeting in Indianapolis, IN.

student presenting a poster

Spring 2022

6.2022 - After many pandemic-related setbacks, we finally got a paper published that we have been working on for quite some time! Congrats to co-authors Kian Hausken, Romane Frevol, Kimberly Dowdle, Aleena Young, Jeremy Talusig, Carolynne Holbrook, and Ben Rubin!

“Quantitative Functionalization of the Tyrosine Residues in Silk Fibroin Through an Amino-Tyrosine Intermediate.” Macromol. Chem. Phys., 2022, in press.


6.2022 - First graduation ceremony in 2 years! Congratulations to the 2022 Murphy Group Graduates - Eli Walley-Ferate, Jem Talusig, Romane Frevol, Carolynne Holbrook and Keith Echague (not pictured).

Murphy grads 2022

6.2022 - End-of-year BBQ!

Spring Murphy Group party

5.2022 - First in-person Scholar's Week in 2 years!

Scholars Week 2022


5.2022 - Jem Talusig successfully defended her thesis - congrats!

Jem thesis defense


3.2022 - First post-pandemic conference! Keith Echague, Jem Talusig and Romane Frevol presented posters at the ACS Conference in San Diego, California.

ACS Conference


Fall 2021

11.2021 - Dr. Murphy is named a 2021 Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar!

Article about the award in the Western Front

Summer 2021

8.2021 - Congratulations to Racine Santen for finishing her master's thesis! 

Racine Santen MS graduation
Murphy Group celebrates Racy's thesis defense

Spring 2021

6.2021 - Congratulations to the 2021 graduates Kayla Owens and Aleena Young! You persevered through an incredibly difficult year - here's to seeing the light at the end of tunnel!


Spring 2020

6.2020 - Congratulations to the 2020 graduates Kimberly Dowdle, Kian Hausken, Jeremy Talusig and Mikaela Sadri! 

I am sad we cannot celebrate together, but I wish you the best!

6.2020 - Kian Hausken is awarded the ACS Organic Division Undergraduate Award in Organic Chemistry by the faculty at WWU. 

Fall 2019

11.2019 - The Murphy group got to show off our silk science to Rep. Rick Larsen! 

 Jeremy Talusig explains electrospinning to Rep. Larsen

Eli Walley-Frate and Kian Hausken explain research to Rep. Larsen


11.2019 - Jeremy showing off her 'golden' research at the Murdock College Science Research Conference in Vancouver, WA.

Jeremy Talusig


10.2019 - Kian presented a poster at the Life Sciences Symposium on Oct 18th at WWU

Kian presenting a poster


10.2019 - Mikaela was awarded Western Plastics Pioneers Scholarship - congrats!


9.2019 - Check out our latest paper in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces! Great job Evan and Nick!

Summer 2019

8.2019 - Fun to catch up with Tyler and Emily at the ACS Meeting in San Diego! Kian also did a great job presenting a poster.

Murphy Group at ACS 2019

Kian Hausken at ACS



7.2019 - Congratulations to Ellie and Lauren on their publication on self-assembling peptides!

Spring 2019

6.2019 - Congratulations to the 2019 graduates Racine Santen, Kelly Mossman and Evan Patamia! 

Murphy Group Graduates 2019


6.2019 - End of year BBQ - can't believe another year is gone!


Murphy group 2019


6.2019 - Finally convinced enough Murphy students to enter the Molympics... came in 2nd overall!

Chemistry Picnic - Molympics



5.2019 - Another impressive showing at the Scholar's Week Symposium!

Scholar's Week 2019


4.2019 - Jeremy Talusig rocked her first poster presentation at the Puget Sound ACS Undergraduate Research Symposium at University of Puget Sound! 

Jeremy Talusig

Fall 2018 

11.2018-  Our article in collaboration with the Kim group at UW made the cover of J. Mater. Chem. B!

Cover of Journal of Materials Chemistry B!divAbstract

11.2018-  The Murphy Group tries bowling... and decides to stick with Science!  :)

Murphy group

Summer 2018 

8.2018-  Press about our new grant from the Biomaterials program in the Division of Materials Research at the National Science Foundation! This goal of this grant is to develop new bioconjugation strategies for silk, which will allow us to customize the interface between silk and biological systems. The resulting silk derivatives are anticipated to be useful for tissue engineering or drug delivery applications.


8.2018-  Check out our latest paper in collaboration with the Leger group! 

Spring 2018 

6.2018-  Our latest work in collaboration with the Kim Group at the University of Washington is now online:!divAbstract

6.2018-  Congratulations to the 2018 Murphy Group graduates: Ellie James (pictured), Stephanie Maxwell and Randy Grant. Best of luck to you all!

Ellie James

6.2018-  Enjoying some sun, food and good company at our annual end-of-the-year BBQ!

Murphy Group BBQ

6.2018-  Evan Patamia was awarded the Denise Hougen Summer Research Fellowship, and Ellie James was named the Outstanding Graduate in Chemistry for AY 2017-2018. Congrats to you both!

5.2018-  Celebrating the end of Scholar's Week and new grants at the Legendary Chucklenuts show at Boundary Bay!


Murphy Group

Murphy Group


5.2018-  Randy Grant, Racine Santen, Evan Patamia and Stephanie Maxwell (not pictured) presented posters at the annual Scholar's Week Symposium. Ellie James also gave an awesome presentation of her Honor's Thesis work to the department. Good job everyone!


Scholar's Week 2018

Scholar's Week 2018


4.2018-  Racine Santen and Evan Patamia presented posters at the ACS Undergraduate Research Symposium at Evergreen State College.


Racine Santen

Racine Santen



Evan Patamia

Evan Patamia


3.2018-  Ellie James and Lauren Jenkins gave awesome oral presentations at the New Orleans ACS Conference! Stephanie Maxwell also presented a poster and won a travel award from the ACS POLY Division! Great job ladies! 


Ellie James at ACS

Ellie James at ACS



Lauren Jenkins at ACS

Lauren Jenkins at ACS



Stephanie Maxwell at ACS

Stephanie Maxwell at ACS


3.2018-  Ellie shows off our new JEOL FE-STEM:

Fall 2017 

10.2017-  Our latest publication, "Mimicking muscle fiber structure and function through electromechanical actuation of electrospun silk fiber bundles," is now online in the Journal of Materials Chemistry B! Congrats to Sean Severt for his 6th (!) publication with our group, and to Stephanie Maxwell and Jon Bontrager for their first publication.!divAbstract

Summer 2017 

08.2017-  Lauren Jenkins (REU student from Eastern Kentucky University) and Ellie James presented posters at our end-of-summer REU symposium

Lauren Jenkins pointing to research poster

Lauren Jenkins

Ellie James stands in front of poster talking to audience of few students

Ellie James


Murphy group shenanigans!

Murphy group photo

Murphy Group


Spring 2017 

06.2017-  Congratulations to our 2017 graduates: Nick Ostrovsky-Snider, Jonathan Bontrager and Tatum Fuller!

Dr. Murphy standing with spring 2017 group graduates

Graduation 2017


06.2017- Stephanie Maxwell and Ellie James were awarded scholarships from the Chemistry department, and Nick Ostrovsky-Snider was nominated to be the Outstanding Chemistry Graduate Student for 2017! Congratulations!

Three photos of students who won awards or scholarships posing with Dr. Spencer Anthony-Cahill

Awards 2017


05.2017- Tatum Fuller was awarded one of the 'Best Poster Presentation' prizes at Scholar's Week (7th year in a row for a Murphy group win!), and Nick Ostrovsky-Snider also won an 'Outstanding Presentation' prize for the second year in a row for his poster at the WWU Graduate Student Conference .

05.2017- Our latest article in collaboration with the Kowalczyk Group is now online! Congrats to Tyler who first started this project, and Taylor, Melany, Ellie and Zoe who brought the work to fruition!!divAbstract

04.2017- Jonathan Bontrager and Randy Grant presented posters at the national American Chemical Society spring meeting in San Francisco, CA. I also got to catch up with former group members Tyler Albin and Emily Sanders at our WWU Chemistry alumni gathering in SF. 

Student pointing at research poster in front of an observer

Jon Bontrager at ACS

Student points to poster while a group of people observe

Randy Grant at ACS

Dr. Murphy poses with two students for photo

Emily Sanders and Tyler Albin at ACS


03.2017- Our paper with the Leger Group on trilayer actuators is now online. Congrats to Carly, Nathan and Sean! 

Fall 2016

11.2016- Ellie James presents a poster at the Pauling Symposium honoring Prof. Tim Swager at Pacific Lutheran University


Ellie James presenting poster

Ellie James


10.2016- Long time coming, but finally published! Congrats to Jesse, Carly, Nathan and Isabella!

Spring 2016

06.2016- Congratulations to the 2016 Graduates! Sean Severt earned his M.S. in Chemistry, Emily Sanders and Taylor Blatz earned a B.S. in Biochemistry, and Melany Fry earned a B.S. in Chemistry.  Not pictured: Jordan Donohue earned a B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience.

Four photos of students in caps and gowns walking stage at graduation

Graduation 2016

Three photos, each of a student posing with Dr. Murphy for photos

Graduation 2016


05.2016- In keeping with the Murphy group tradition, Emily Sanders was awarded one of the 'Best Poster Presentation' prizes at Scholar's Week, and Nick Ostrovsky-Snider also won  an 'Outstanding Presentation' prize for his poster at the WWU Graduate Student Conference. (not pictured: Rebecca Szabo and Taylor Blatz also presented)

Photo collage of students and their posters at scholars week 2016

Scholar's Week 2016


05.2016- Sean completed his M.S. thesis defense- time to celebrate! 

Murphy group out at drinks after student completed thesis defense

Murphy Group


03.2016- Emily Sanders gave an oral presentation and Taylor Blatz presented a poster at the national ACS Meeting in San Diego, CA.

student giving oral presentation using poster

Taylor Blatz at ACS


Fall 2015

11.2015- Our latest publication "Versatile Method for Producing 2D and 3D Conductive Biomaterial Composites Using Sequential Chemical and Electrochemical Polymerization" is now posted on the ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces website. Congrats to Sean and Nick!

11.2015- Emily Sanders presented a poster at the Murdock College Science Research Conference in Vancouver, WA.

Student presenting poster to group of people at conference

Emily Sanders


Summer 2015

8.2015- Our latest publication in Synthetic Metals is now posted online:

7.2015- Dr. Murphy received a Jean Dreyfus Boissevain Lectureship for Undergraduate Institutions award. This grant will allow us to bring a prominent scientist to campus to give a series of lectures, and will support summer research stipends for 2 undergraduate students.

Spring 2015

6.2015- Congrats to the Murphy group graduates of 2015: Nicholas Ostrovsky-Snider, Brad Farrell, Jesse Larson and Nathan Bradshaw (technically in Dr. Leger's group but spent enough time in our lab to be considered a member, and the only one to come to graduation!).

Dr. Murphy standing with student at graduation

Nathan Bradshaw


4.2015- Our joint work with the Antos Group on "Sustained Delivery of Chemokine CXCL12 from Chemically Modified Silk Hydrogels" is published in Biomacromolecules!

4.2015- Emily Sanders, Dylan Spence and Taylor Blatz present posters at the Puget Sound Section American Chemical Society Undergraduate Symposium held at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA.

Student pointing at poster while people listen to presentation

Emily Sanders

Student presenting research poster

Dylan Spence


3.2015- Brad Farrell and Jesse Larson presented posters, and Nick Ostrovsky-Snider gave an oral presentation at the American Chemical Society spring meeting in Denver, CO. Nick also received a Travel Award from the ACS POLY Division for his 'excellent oral presentation' - congrats!  

Student standing in front of poster

Brad Farrell

Student standing in front of poster

Jesse Larson

Student holding award

Nick Ostrovsky-Snider


Fall 2014

12.2014- Paige Atterberry graduates! Good luck in your future endeavors! 

11.2014- Paige Atterberry and Taylor Blatz present posters at the Annual Murdock College Science Research Conference in Vancouver, WA.

Student presenting poster while others watch

Paige Atterberry

Student points at research poster

Taylor Blatz


Summer 2014

8.2014- Our most recent publication in J. Chem. Ed. titled "Synthesis, Characterization, and Secondary Structure Determination of a Silk-Inspired, Self-Assembling Peptide: A Laboratory Exercise for Organic and Biochemistry Courses" is now available online:

6.2014- Our group was awarded a large grant from Biomaterials program in the Division of Materials Research at the National Science Foundation!! These funds will allow us to continue our collaborative project with Dr. Leger in Physics to develop biocompatible actuators based on silk-conducting polymer composites.

Spring 2014

6.2014- Sean Severt, Tyler Albin, Ben Rubin and Drew Goodman (skipped out on the photo!) graduate! Good luck to you all in your future careers in chemistry!

Three students stand in caps and gowns with Dr. Murphy outside chemistry building

Graduation 2014


5.2014- Paige Atterberry, Nick Ostrovsky-Snider and Jesse Larson all receive Research & Creative Opportunities for Undergraduates awards from WWU's Research and Sponsored Programs. 

5.2014- Paige Atterberry receives a poster award at WWU's annual Scholar's Week university-wide poster session.

Student stands in front of research poster

Paige Atterberry



5.2014- Tyler Albin wins the 'Best Oral Presentation' award at the ACS Puget Sound Section Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Student stands in front of group of people holding award

Tyler Albin


4.2014- Dr. Murphy and Dr. Antos receive an AMSEC Seed Grant for summer 2014 for their collaborative project to develop multi-functional biomaterials aimed at enhancing nerve regeneration.  

4.2014- Tyler Albin, Drew Goodman, Sean Severt and Nathan Bradshaw each present posters on their research projects at the Materials Research Society Spring Meeting in San Fransico, CA. Tyler was a poster award nominee (up against graduate students and postdocs)!

Student pointing at poster

Tyler Albin at MRS

student presenting poster to audience member

Nathan Bradshaw at MRS

Student stands in front of poster at conference

Sean Severt at MRS


3.2014- Nathan Bradshaw and Sandra Roberts (summer REU student) present a poster at the national American Chemical Society spring meeting in Dallas, TX.

Two students standing in front of their poster at conference

Nathan and Sandra at ACS


Winter 2014

3.2014- Our Advanced Functional Materials manuscript titled "Biocompatible Electromechanical Actuators Composed of Silk-Conducting Polymer Composites" is posted online: 

2.2014- The Murphy Group receives a Cottrell College Science Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement! This award will fund our work to develop silk-based biomaterials for neural stimulation and repair. (