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Sarah R. Evans

Sarah R. Evans (She/Her/Hers)

PhD Graduate Research Assistant

Department of Chemistry

Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering Program

Research Group:  

Morrison Research Lab 

Williams Research Lab

Past Work: Dr. Judith Klein-Seetharaman | JKS Research Group |Fall 2019-Spring 2021





Research Interests and background

My research interests lie in developing new measurement techniques in the microwave and terahertz (THz) frequency range. Microwaves and 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 conformational changes, long-range interactions, and solvation dynamics of biomolecules. My goal is to measure the protein motions that correspond to protein functions in vitro and to provide stronger evidence for treatments to target disease-related mechanisms of proteins.

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 Rensselaer 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 Student, Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering, Colorado School of Mines 2019-Present


  • Protein Structure and Homology Analysis
  • THz Spectroscopy
  • Microwave microfluidics
  • Quasioptical Systems and Applications
  • Alpha-Synuclein/amyloids
  • drug discovery

Publications and presentations

  • Evans, S. R., West, C. & Klein-Seetharaman, J. Similarity of the non-amyloid-β component and C-terminal tail of monomeric and tetrameric alpha-synuclein with 14-3-3 sigma. Comput. Struct. Biotechnol. J. (2021).

  • Deng, R., Evans, S. R. & Gall, D. Bandgap in Al1−xScxN. Appl. Phys. Lett. 102, 112103 (2013).
  • From Sequence to Function: Novel Homology Between α-Synuclein and 14-3-3σ Tetramers, Mines GRADS, Oral Presentation Biology, Awarded 1st position
  • 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


  • 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
  • Design Your Future Day,  Women in STEM Panelist, 11th grade students considering careers in STEM visit Rensselaer, 2012, RPI


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