Leann Lerie Matta

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Photo of Leann Lerie Matta
Current Standing: 
Last Degree: 
BS, Wayne State University
Entered Program in: 
Academic Background: 

Ph.D. Student in Biosystems Engineering, MSU, East Lansing, MI, 2015 – present, Current GPA 3.7

·         Nano-biosensing pathogenic bacteria within liquid drinks to improve food supply chain safety

Graduate Work in Chemical Engineering, MSU, East Lansing, Michigan, 1991 –1993, GPA 3.2

Biotechnology research focus

·         Photometrically sensing bioluminescence responses of Rhizobium meliloti to nutrient challenges

·         Coursework focus: Microbial Ecology, Biochemistry I & II, Advanced Biochemical Engineering

B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, 1991, GPA 3.7

·         Biotechnology coursework: Transport Phenomena in Living Systems, Biochemical Engineering Fundamentals, Total Parenteral Nutrition (independent study


Current Research Interests / Thesis Topic: 

Providing engineering solutions at a micro and nano-level to bio-chemical problems


Publications / Journal Articles: 
  • Judged poster entries for the DewGood Award for Public Service Technology during the Engineering Graduate Research Symposium 2017
  • Certification: Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Program Immunodiagnostics and Clinical Flow Cytometry certification, MSU 2016
  • Award: Fellowship for recognition of graduate student excellence and support of graduate programming for 2016/17 MSU BAE scholarship cycle
  • Award & Presentation: Engineering Graduate Research Symposium DewGood Award for Public Service Technology (2nd Place), MSU 2016, “Detection of bacterial contaminants using affixed carbohydrate functionalized MNP and cyclic voltammetry detection” poster
  • Award & Presentation: Environmental Science & Public Policy Research Symposium in Environmental Health Poster Award (1st Place), MSU 2016, “Development of rapid “dip-stick” detection of pathogenic bacteria in water” poster
  • Presentation: International Association of Food Protection, St. Louis, MO 2016, “Functional ligands as antibody-mimics for the expedient extraction of Salmonella Enteritidis, E. coli O127:H7 and Bacillus cereus in fresh milk” poster
  • Activity: BioSystems Engineering Graduate Student Advisory Group (VP) monthly seminar coordinator invited and coordinated industry leaders in biosystems engineering-related positions to speak with graduate students concerning preparing for careers in industry, MSU 2016/17
  • Activity: Mentored MSU and visiting undergraduate students in experimental methods and project design within Nano-Biosensors lab, MSU BAE 2015-present
  • Publication: “Flux fingerprinting for phenotyping metabolism in maize transgenics”, L. L. Matta, Y. Shachar-Hill, and R. E. Roussey, draft for publication, 2013
  • Presentation: Center for Microbial Ecology annual SAP Review, MSU 1993, “Growth and Bioluminescence of Rhizobium meliloti in the Presence of Decanal” poster
  • Publication: Center for Microbial Ecology annual SAP Review, MSU 1992, “Bioluminescenct Properties of Escherichia coli HB101/pRL502a”
  • Presentation: Center for Microbial Ecology annual SAP Review, MSU 1992, “Applying Optical Methods to Monitor Gene Expression in Nature” poster


Biography (Personal Interest): 

Professional Skills


  • Rapid pathogenic bacteria detection through nanoparticle extraction and electrochemical signaling for real-time quantification within liquid food matrices
  • Bench-scale processing of continuous polyol and bio-fuel reactors, batch and continuous liquid culture, batch chemistry for oils trans-esterification and lubricant preparation
  • Fiber optic techniques coupled with gated photon counter for bioluminescence detection


Plant Biology & Microbial Culture

  • Pathogenic bacterial cell culture, including sample inoculation and extraction methods
  • Maize tissue sterile culture, dissection and quantification for labeled & unlabeled biomass
  • Corn plant growth, pollination, pest control, and growth chamber environment control


Analytical – Method Development, Troubleshooting & Quality Control

  • Rapid microbial cell MNP extraction & quantification via spectrometry & electrochemical voltammetry detection, including AuNP signaling with DPV and MNP signaling with CV
  • Bio-based products testing, biomass composition, and metabolite labeling quantification via numerous methods including GC-MS, HPLC, GPC, GC-FID, 1H and 13C NMR, & FTIR
  • Sample separation & modification: ozonation, sonication, rotary evaporation, lyophilization, centrifugation, derivatization, PARR reactor maleation, & ion exchange
  • Bio-fuel ASTM testing methods: kinematic viscosity, thermal stability, thermogravimetric analysis, acid value, water content, flashpoint, cloud point and cold pour cold properties.
  • Drug concentrations, oils composition and polymer molecular weight properties (Mw, Mp, Mn, Mz) via HPLC, GC-FID & GPC chromatogram peak deconvolution and compression
  • Extensive protocol development including tissue culturing, wet chemistry, plant growth, with focus on tight quality control through replication, controls, standards and curation


Computer Technology

  • Database creation and queuing using Mark IV, FOCUS and Informix packages
  • Optimized processing parameters for continuous flow bio-based polyols or fuel systems
  • Optimized steady state metabolic flux models for multi-compartment plant tissue
  • Peak deconvolution for quantification of NMR, IR and Mass Spec data


Training & Management

  • Research lab management, chemical safety, and equipment maintenance and tracking
  • Trained and supervised research technicians and undergraduate student assistants
  • Project management: planning, tracking, reporting and accountability for deliverables


Employment and Research Experience

Graduate Research Assistant, Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 2015 – present, concurrent with PhD degree

  • Identified dynamics of rapid nanoparticle extraction of bacteria from complex liquid matrices
  • Developed MNP-strips to minimize contaminated liquid handling in pathogen detection
  • Established optimal electrical signaling methods of nanoparticle labeled pathogenic bacteria


Research Technician II, Plant Biology Department, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 2009 – 2013, working a flexible 40+ hour schedule

  • Developed flux fingerprinting for expedient selection of interesting transgenic maize lines
  • Metabolic flux analysis of maize seed endosperm tissue, including nutrient uptake rates and labeling, biomass and respiration rates, metabolic composition and labeling
  • Sterile-cultured maize tissue in labeled media including kernel/cob cultures and embryo cultures.
  • Processed tissue samples for composition and labeling of oils, solubles, protein, starch and cell wall using GC-MS and NMR testing in conjunction with separation and derivatization methods
  • Grew high/low protein/oil maize selected lines in greenhouse environment to study metabolic flux through seed culture of a defined system


Research Consultant, BioPlastic Polymers and Composites LLC, within Chemical Engineering & Materials Science Department, MSU, East Lansing, MI

2006 – 2009, flexible time 20 to 40 hours per week as necessitated per project and concurrent positions

Research Engineer

  • Prepared & analyzed maleated soy oils with varying properties via grafting reactions
  • Investigated oxidative stability properties of lubricating oils prepared through blending, sonication, grafting, or trans-esterifying antioxidants onto vegetable oil
  • Designed & optimized production features for novel bio-based (vegetable oil) fuel additive and polyol products using bench scale continuous catalytic ozonolysis reaction process

Research Assistant

  • Determined bio-based polymer molecular weights using GPC (gel permeation chromatography) for on-going projects of fellow lab researchers and outside product analysis
  • Determined chemical composition of research products (carbon double bonds, hydroxyl content, & acid content) using ASTM titration methods
  • Determined biofuel ASTM properties of viscosity, cold properties, water content, flash point.
  • Determined thermal properties of biofuels & polyols using thermogravic analysis
  • Analyzed GPC and FTIR data with peak deconvolution & compression calculations
  • Determined drug concentrations in samples using HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) for on-going bio-based drug carrier research

Lab Manager

  • Oversaw student assistant work in the research lab, including orientation training
  • Coordinated lab and research supply orders, along with lab organization and safety
  • Monitored lab research expenses
  • Assisted and trained new research students with analytical testing procedures

Home Management, 1994 – 2009

  • Focused on raising my four children in education, extra-curricular activity scheduling, household management, budgeting expenses, and coordinating and directing various volunteer activities

Research Assistant, Chemical Engineering & Materials Science Department, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 1991 – 1993. Research project within Center for Microbial Ecology collaboration

  • Investigated the properties of bioluminescence in mutant Rhizobium meliloti
  • Designed a continuous flow system to analyze bioluminescence during R.m growth
  • Utilized highly sensitive bioluminescence photon detection system equipment pieces

Computer Student Assistant, Undergrad. Admissions, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, 1986 - 1989

  • Developed and maintained several extensive student tracking databases
  • Designed and utilized programs for weekly student tracking rosters, admission/enrollment counts, personalized letters and admission counselor ad hoc requests

Computer Programmer Coop, Trans. & Chassis Div., Ford Motor Company, Livonia, MI, summer 1989.

  • Created MERCON oil licensing database and the supporting modification and tracking programs using Informix database language on the Unix system