Jai Shanata, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Faculty Advisor of Cornell College's pre-health sciences program (Dimensions), is an organic chemist who specializes in chemical biology. Jai teaches courses in Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry (Chemical Principles), and an advanced topics course in pharmacology and chemical biology. His lab’s research focuses on the application of organic chemistry and biophysical methods to understand the role that cell membranes play in drug side effects and off target effects by applying single-molecule studies of ion channels in planar lipid bilayers. Jai’s long-term research goal is to facilitate personalized medicine, especially health decisions regarding the interaction of nutrition and drugs. Jai enjoys conversations about philosophy of science and loves advising students about graduate programs and careers in the sciences and health sciences.
“Very quickly we realized that if we want to make the best quality decisions for Cornell, we need to get the best quality data that we can get,” Jai said.
“This kind of research is very atypical for undergraduates,” Professor Jai Shanata said. “It is very much more-so the kind of research that’s done by graduate students or post-docs who do it for months or years, non-stop.”
“We are interested in how what we eat and the drugs that we might be prescribed interact,” Shanata said.
“It wasn’t the modeling we did but others did, we realized that by using that combination of periodic testing, cluster testing – which means testing one person from each residence or floor every week and random sampling of faculty staff and some students, we would be able to add that to our toolkit of hand sanitizers and footfalls on doors and plexiglass barriers and face coverings required and all of the other physical mitigations.”