Sarah R. Evans

Sarah R. Evans (She/Her/Hers)

PhD Graduate Research Assistant

Department of Chemistry

Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering Program

Advisor: Dr. Judith Klein-Seetharaman | JKS Research Group |2019-Present





Research Interests and background

My research interests lie in developing a new technique based on terahertz (THz) waves, which lie between microwaves and infrared radiation (IR). THz waves are able to access unique vibrational modes and long-range motions of proteins that are inherently dynamic. I aim to employ new analytical methods to define the long-range interactions that stabilize alpha-synuclein (αSyn) in a soluble, helical state. My goal is to measure the functional motions that correspond to conserved structural features in vitro and to provide stronger evidence for treatments to target disease-related aggregation mechanisms in αSyn.

My background is in electro-optics and semiconductor manufacturing and I have a running theme of gravitating toward characterization methods. My interests in electro-optics evolved as a sophomore at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute (RPI), where I served as a research assistant in Dr. Daniel Gall’s Thin Films and Nanostructures laboratory developing novel materials for optoelectronic devices. I then worked in the Smart Lighting and Engineering Research Center (SLERC) with Dr. Christian Wetzel as a research assistant for characterization, epitaxial growth, and wet-etch nanopatterning techniques for green light-emitting diodes (LEDs). After graduating I worked in the semiconductor industry on 14nm FIN-FET epitaxial technology, AlInGaP and GaAs/GaAsP LEDs. Before starting my PhD, I did failure analysis and process integration at a startup making flexible Near Field Communications (NFC) devices on stainless steel substrates.

Inspiration for solving difficult problems often arrives at the interface of different fields; most often as a consequence of our desire as scientists to quantify and measure unique properties.  The complexity of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) triggered my interest in neurodegenerative disease mechanisms, while my experience with tightly controlled semiconductor measurements inspired my desire to develop systematic measurements of drug targets. I became fascinated by the possibility of applying concepts and tools from my academic discipline of physics and materials characterization to address important questions in biology.


  • BS in Applied Physics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2013
  • MS in Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, 2021
  • PhD Candidate, Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering, Colorado School of Mines 2019-Present


  • Protein Structure and Homology Analysis
  • THz Spectroscopy
  • Quasioptical Systems and Applications
  • Alpha-Synuclein/amyloids
  • Neurodegenerative Disease

Publications and presentations

  • Bandgap in Al1-xScxN, Ruopeng Deng, Sarah R. Evans, Daniel Gall, Appl. Phys. Lett. 102, 112103 (2013); doi: 10.1063/1.4795784
  • THz spectroscopy design and Structure-Function Study of Alpha-Synuclein using
    14-3-3 Protein Homology Analysis, Mines @ Catalyst Research Symposium, Online Poster/Presentation
  • Novel Wet Etch Techniques for InGaN Materials, Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center, Summer Undergraduate Research Program Symposium,  Conference Presentation


  • Design Your Future Day,  Women in STEM Panelist, 11th grade students considering careers in STEM visit Rensselaer, 2012, RPI
  • Rocky Mountain MESA, Graduate Student Mentor, Colorado School of Mines collaboration with Grand Junction Middle Schools, Sep. 2020-Present
  • Bookcliff Middle Schools, Virtual Guest Speaker, Technology and Globalization, Feb. 2021-Mar. 2021
  • Bookcliff Middle Schools, Problem-Based Learning panelist, Invasive Species in Colorado, Feb.2021-Mar. 2021


1500 Illinois Street
GRL  321B
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO 80401