August 2019: Jordan and Kristi will be presenting posters at the American Chemical Society meeting in San Diego.  Please come visit them and learn more about their exciting recent results!

June 2019: Our summer research team will be attending the first ever Chemical Biology GALA (Greater Area of Los Angeles) at USC on June 21!  Aaron will be presenting our group's work on polymerases.  

May 2019: We bid a fond farewell to this year's graduates!  Michelle will be a consultant at Deloitte, Caitlyn will be a research assistant at Los Alamos National Laboratories, Susanna will be beginning a Ph.D. program in Chemical Biology at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Charlotte will be pursuing positions in the culinary world, and Ellery will be a research assistant in the Forman Lab at City of Hope.  Best of luck all; we cannot wait to see what you do next!

April 2019: Congratulations to Marya Ornelas who has received the extremely prestigious Goldwater Award!  Marya is the first student in Keck in three years to win the award!  She joins Susanna Barrett (Honorable Mention) and Mira Liu (Honorable Mention) as recent Leconte Lab students recognized by Goldwater.  Congratulations!

March 2019: Congratulations to Arianna (NSF), Ananya (NSF), Simone (NSF), Edison (Johnson), and Lyndsey (CMC)  who have all received funding to work this summer in the lab!

January 2019: Welcome to our two newest members: Lyndsey Flanagan (CMC '20) and Synaida Maiche (CMC '22)!

November 2019: Susanna is featured in an article in The Student Life (link) talking about her passion for research and teaching.

October 2018:  Marya has received a travel grant to present her work at 2018 SACNAS in San Antonio, TX!

September 2018:  Simone, Ananya, Arianna, and Edison have all joined the group starting this fall!  Welcome all!

August 2018:  Susanna, Marya, Madison, and Aaron will be presenting at this month's American Chemical Society meeting in Boston!  Please drop by and say hello!

July 2018: Our group has been awarded a CAREER grant by the National Science Foundation!  This grant provides $400,000 to fund our research on engineering DNA polymerases for the next five years.  Special thanks to the many students who have contributed to the polymerase project over the years!

May 2018: Aaron is promoted to Associate Professor of Chemistry with tenure.  Thanks to all the Leconte group student researchers (past and present) who have contributed to our research group's amazing (and tenure-worthy) record of scholarship!

May 2018: We bid a fond farewell to our graduating seniors!  Lauren Clubb (CMC '18) will begin a research assistant position at the NIH.  Mira Liu (CMC '18) will be starting a Ph.D. at UC-Berkeley.  Elliot Warner (CMC '18) will be starting a Ph.D. at The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, CA).  Congratulations to everyone; we look forward to hearing about your discoveries in the future!

May 2018: Elliot Warner (CMC '18) has been awarded Best Thesis in Biological Sciences at Claremont McKenna College!

April 2018: Congratulations to the many Leconte Group (past and present) getting recognized!  Taia Wu (SCR '15) was awarded a prestigious NSF fellowship to support her Ph.D. work in Jason Gestwicki's lab at UCSF.  Susanna Barrett (SCR '19) received 2018 Goldwater Honorable Mention.  Congratulations on these deserved honors!

March 2018: Congratulations to Kristi (Keck Foundation), Kinsey (Jaquith Scholarship), Whitney (Research Corporation), Emma (Research Corporation), Jordan (Research Corporation), and Madison (Dreyfus Foundation) on securing funding for summer research in the Leconte Lab!

January 2018: Welcome to Whitney (CMC '20), Emma (SCR '21), Jordan (SCR '21), and Madison (SCR '21) who are all starting work in the lab this Spring!

December 2017: Our first article describing our work engineering luciferase has been published (link)!  In the article, published in Biochemistry, we discuss the use of bioinformatics to guide luciferase engineering.  Congratulations to Mira and Elliot (who started the project as first-year students and are co-first authors) and Charlotte, Caitlyn, Taia, Marya, Gaby, and our collaborators in the Prescher Group at UC - Irvine.  

December 2017: Congratulations to Mira, Elliot, and Lauren who have successfully defended their theses!

October 2017: Our article (and accompanying video!) describing our methodology for studying DNA polymerases has been published (link).  Congratulations to Eliza who wrote the manuscript!

September 2017: Welcome to Lauren Clubb (CMC '18), Kinsey Lee (SCR '20), and Kristi Lee (SCR '20) who are all starting in the Leconte Group this Fall!

May 2017: We bid a fond farewell to Owen Chapman (POM '17), Eliza Lewis (SCR '17), Sydney Rosenblum (SCR '17), and Aurora Weiden (SCR '17) who have all graduated.  Owen will be starting a Ph.D. program at UCSD in Systems Biology, Eliza will be working as a research assistant in the Baron Lab at Mt. Sinai, Sydney will be starting a Ph.D. program at University of Michigan in Chemical Biology, and Aurora will be working as a research assistant in the Brumback Lab (UT-Austin).  Every one of these students contributed substantially to our research group, both to the science and the culture of the lab, and they will be seriously missed by the whole group!

May 2017: Aurora is awarded the McClintock Award at Scripps College for Best Thesis in the Sciences!

April 2017: Congratulations to lab alumnus Freddy Valencia (Pitzer '14) who was awarded a prestigious Ford Fellowship and NIH Predoctoral Award to support his Ph.D. work in Cigall Kadoch's lab!

March 2017: Sydney, Eliza, Aurora, Owen, Charlotte, and Caitlyn all will be presenting at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco.  Please stop by and see our posters/talks if you are at the meeting!

March 2017: Congratulations to Mira Liu (CMC '18) who was awarded Honorable Mention for the Goldwater Scholarship.

March 2017: Congratulations to Marya (HHMI) and Susanna (Keck Foundation) who have both received funding to do research this summer in the Leconte Lab!

January 2017: Our first manuscript describing our group's polymerase engineering efforts has been accepted for publication!  In the paper (link), we describe new polymerase enzymes that can synthesize biotechnologically useful forms of chemically modified DNA.  Congratulations to Sydney, Aurora, Eliza, Alexie, Hannah, Susanna, and Mira, who are all coauthors on the manuscript.  

January 2017: Welcome to Marya Ornelas (Pitzer '20) who will be joining the group this Spring!

December 2016: Congratulations to Sydney and Eliza who have succesfully defended their theses!

September 2016: Welcome to Susanna Barrett (Scripps '19) who will be joining the group this Fall!

May 2016: Congratulations to Hannah and Catherine who have graduated!  Hannah will begin a Ph.D. program in Chemical Biology at University of Michigan; Catherine will be pursuing positions as a data analyst.  

April 2016: Lots of exciting news from alumni!  Freddy Valencia (PIT '14) passed his qualifying exams and is now an official Ph.D. candidate at Harvard.  Emma Hadley (SCR '14)  will be starting medical school at Tufts University and  Hayley Schultz (CMC '15) will be starting medical school at UCSF in Fall 2016.  Taia Wu (SCR '15) will be starting a Ph.D. program at UCSF in Chemical Biology in Fall 2016.  

March 2016: Congratulations to Sydney (Keck Foundation), Eliza (Keck Foundation), Ellery (Rose Hills Foundation, joint student with Prof. Sazinsky), Michelle (Gates Foundation), Caitlyn (Research Corporation), Owen (HHMI, joint student with Prof. Cavalcanti) and Charlotte (Research Corporation), who have all been awarded funding to do research in the Leconte Group this summer!

March 2016: Elliot, Mira, Taia and Aaron present at the 251st American Chemical Society Meeting in San Diego.

February 2016:  Aaron has received a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation (link)!  This grant funds both research on engineering luciferases and incorporating luciferase biochemistry into IBC lab.

January 2016:  Aaron will be working in the Prescher Lab at UC Irvine as a visiting scientist in Spring 2016.

January 2016: We are thrilled to welcome five new members to the group: Michelle Cao (CMC '19), Caitlyn Fick (Scripps '19), Ellery Koelker-Wolfe (CMC '19), Eliza Lewis (Scripps '17), and Charlotte Morrissey (CMC '19)!  

December 2015: Congratulations to Hannah, Catherine, Jackie and Alexie who have all succesfully defended their theses.  We bid a fond farewell to Alexie Ogonowsky and Jackie Kroll who have both graduated and left Claremont!  Alexie will be starting her M.B.A. at Notre Dame in Fall 2016; Jackie will be preparing to apply for veterinary school.  

September 2015: Our group's first manuscript (Taq DNA polymerase mutants and 2' modified sugar recognition) has been accepted for publication in the journal Biochemistry.  Congratulations to Hayley, Andrea, Hannah, Alexie, Sharon, Nedim, Aurora, Emma, and Sara who all contributed to this work!  (click here for link)

May 2015: Congratulations to Hayley whose thesis was awarded the 2015 'Physical Sciences Prize for Best Thesis' at Claremont McKenna College!

May 2015: Congratulations to this year's graduating class: Hayley, Constanza, Sara and Taia!  Hayley will be a Research Assistant at the Breast Care Center Project at UCSF; she plans on applying to medical school.  Sara will be working in consulting with Cambridge Associates.  Taia will be an intern at NASA over the summer before taking a research position with Carolyn Bertozzi's lab at Stanford; she plans on applying to Ph.D. programs in Chemical Biology.  Constanza will be a research assistant in the Guttman Lab at Caltech.  

March 2015: Congratulations to Hannah (Research Corporation), Catherine (HHMI, collaborative with Sazinsky lab), Mira (Research Corporation), Elliot (Keck Foundation), and Aurora (Keck Foundation), who have all been awarded funding to do research in the Leconte Group this summer!

December 2014: Welcome to the newest members of the group: Catherine Chiang (Scripps '16), Mira Liu (CMC '18), Sydney Rosenblum (Scripps ’17), Elliot Warner (CMC '18), Taia Wu (Scripps '15)!

September 2014:  Welcome to the newest member of the group: Aurora Weiden (Scripps ’17)!

May 2014:  Congratulations to the inaugural graduating class of the Leconte group: Andrea, Emma, and Freddy!  Andrea has taken a research position with Prof. Larry Grill at The Vaccine Institute at Pitzer College; she plans on applying to medical school.  Emma has taken a research position with Prof. Amy Lee at USC; she plans on applying to medical school.  Freddy will be starting a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology at Harvard University in the Fall.  

May 2014: Andrea’s senior thesis was awarded ‘Best Thesis Prize in the Sciences’ at Pitzer College!

March 2014: Congratulations to Alexie (Keck Foundation), Constanza (Bechtel Foundation), Hayley (Rose Hills Foundation), Jackie (Rose Hills Foundation), Nedim (Gates Foundation), and Sharon (Gates Foundation), who have all been awarded funding to do research in Keck this summer!

February 2014: Aaron has been awarded a Cottrell College Science Award from the Research Corporation (click here for press release)!

January 2014: Welcome to the newest members of the Leconte group: Sharon Chiang (CMC ’17) and Nedim Filipovic (CMC ’17)!  They will start research this Spring and will continue in the lab this Summer as ISS scholars.

December 2013: Congratulations to Andrea, Emma, and Freddy who successfully completed their senior theses!

September 2013: Constanza Jackson (Scripps ’15) and Jackie Kroll (CMC ’15) have joined the group and will be doing research this term!

May 2013: Aaron is co-author on a manuscript published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (click here for manuscript).  The paper is an experimental examination of how history and random chance influence the evolution of new protein function.  Congrats to Bryan, the lead author on the project, on a thorough and thoughtful paper!

May 2013: Aaron is featured in a radio piece about lab sounds (click here for link) by one of his former students from CHEM177 (Sarah Vitak, Scripps ’13)!

March 2013: Congratulations to Andrea (Keck Foundation), Emma (Keck Foundation), Freddy (HHMI SURP, collaborative with Sazinsky lab), and Hannah (Bechtel Foundation) who have all been awarded fellowships to do research at Keck Science this summer!  

March 2013: Hayley is featured in Sports Illustrated magazine (click here for link) AND completes the group’s first successful protein prep with Andrea, all in one week!

February 2013: Aaron is co-first author on a publication in Biochemistry (click here for manuscript).  The paper details the application of Phage-Assisted Continuous Evolution (PACE) to the study of protein evolution.  Congratulations to all of the co-authors, who contributed to a true team effort!

February 2013: Alexie, Emma, and Hannah have joined the Leconte group and will be doing research this term!

January 2013: TriLink Biotechnologies has awarded a ResearchRewards grant to the Leconte Group!

October 2012: The Leconte group welcomes its first students!  Welcome Andrea, Freddy, Hayley, and Sara!

September 2012: Aaron is a co-author on a paper recently published in Nature Chemical Biology. (click here for manuscript).  The paper describes the identification and characterization of a new modified nucleotide in tRNA.  A hearty congratulations to Christoph Dumelin, the lead author on the work, on a job well done!

July 2012: Aaron officially moves into our labs in the Keck Science Center!




You have reached the home page of Aaron Leconte and his research group at the Keck Science Department of The Claremont Colleges.  We are interested in both understanding and applying evolution to engineer proteins.  Please see below for group news and click the links above to learn more about our lab!