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The Research Team

Patricia R. Calvo

Assistant Professor

Kansas State University

Department of Chemistry

Dr. Patricia Calvo was born and raised in Dusseldorf, Germany. She moved to the United States at age 18 to attend Lindenwood University in Missouri, where she received her B.S. in Chemistry. Dr. Calvo pursued her doctoral degree in Organic Chemistry at the University of Florida. Her graduate research, under the guidance of Dr. Ken Wagener and Dr. Brent Sumerlin, focused on the synthesis of well-defined functionalized polymers for biomedical applications. After receiving her PhD in 2016, Dr. Calvo worked as a research scientist at a Biotech company (Rochal Industries LLC) in San Antonio, TX. Her research in this position focused on the applications of polymer chemistry to create advanced wound care products and antimicrobials. After two years in industry, Dr. Calvo realized that her true passion lies in academic teaching and research. She served as a chemistry lecturer at Texas A&M University San Antonio for a year before starting a position as Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL in 2018. After five years at NSU, Dr. Calvo accepted a tenure-track position at Kansas State University in July 2023. Dr. Calvo is actively involved with the American Chemical Society (ACS), both locally and nationally, and is passionate about teaching and involving students in research.  She hopes to share her passion for chemistry with her students and offer her experience and advice to help students achieve their goals.

Graduate Students

Dean Afsar

PhD Candidate

Dean Afsar earned his master’s degree in chemistry from Manchester Metropolitan University. His current research focuses on the synthesis of antimicrobial polymers, employing various RAFT polymerization methods. Dean's future aspirations lie in transitioning to industry, where he seeks to apply his extensive research background to practical applications. His goal is to contribute to the advancement of polymer synthesis in an industrial setting, leveraging his deep understanding of both organic and polymer chemistry. In addition to his research, Dean also plays a role in supporting undergraduate students, sharing his knowledge and insights as part of the academic community. 

Graham Moran

PhD Student


Graham earned his bachelor's in chemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in May of 2023. During his undergraduate studies he spent time as a student intern at the IBRL working on fermentation. After joining Kansas State University, Graham decided to pursue inorganic chemistry. Graham is working on the synthesis and applications of metal chelating polymers, combining his background in inorganic chemistry with polymer science. In the future Graham plans on spending time in industry before coming back to academia to pursue his passion for teaching.

Undergraduate Students

Veronica Knight

Major: Chemistry

Veronica Knight is an undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, set to graduate in May 2025. As an ambassador for the Johnson Cancer Research Center, Veronica actively contributes to initiatives that bridge the gap between research and cancer treatment. Veronica is engaged in a research project on the development of new biocompatible polymeric chelators for radiation therapy. Veronica is enthusiastic about transitioning into industry after her graduation. Her goal is to apply her knowledge and research experience in a practical setting, contributing to advancements in chemical applications that have tangible impacts on society and industry. In her free time, Veronica loves to go to the movie theaters or take a long walk at Konza Prairie.

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Maya Daily

Major: Chemistry

Maya Daily is an undergraduate student majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Biology. Maya’s research project is focused on creating biocompatible, injectable, antimicrobial microgels for use in wound healing. After completing her degree, Maya plans to pursue medicine to become a physician. In her free time, Maya enjoys reading books and spending time with friends.


Riley Blitt

Major: Biological Systems Engineering

Riley Blitt is originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is an undergraduate student majoring in Biological Systems Engineering. Riley's research project in the Calvo group is centered around designing polymer-drug conjugates for drug delivery applications, including cancer therapy. Riley plans on going to medical school after his undergraduate studies to eventually become a physician. Outside of school he enjoys spending time with his friends. 


Alyssa Probst

Major: Biochemistry

Alyssa Probst is an undergraduate student persuing a bachelor's degree in biochemistry with a minor in chemistry. Currently, Alyssa’s research project in the Calvo group focuses on designing antimicrobial polymers for combating infections and antimicrobial resistance. In her free time, Alyssa loves fencing and visiting her family. 

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