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Tiffany R. Olivera


Welcome to our lab! My name is Tiffany Rocio Olivera, and I am a first-generation student entering my third year of my PhD in Chemistry. I was born and raised by my lovely parents in north New Jersey, along with my three younger siblings. In May 2020, I earned two Bachelor’s of Science degrees in Chemistry and Biology, along with a minor in Applied Mathematics at New Jersey Institute of Technology. I received the NSF-B2D Fellowship to pursue my graduate studies at Rutgers University – Newark. I worked as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Chemistry for a year, and have now earned the G-RISE Fellowship to continue my research.

In my spare time, I tutor socioeconomically disadvantaged high schoolers in the Newark area, am a Co-Chair for the North Jersey American Chemical Society Younger Chemists Committee (NJACS YCC), and am the twice elected Rutgers-Newark Graduate Student Governing Association (GSGA) Senator.

After I complete my doctoral degree, my goal is to work as a Research Scientist in the nanotechnology field at a national lab or private industry.

Fun Facts

  1. I am a long-distance swimmer.

  2. I used to play the alto-saxophone (should I go back to it?)

  3. I am currently watching “King of the Hill” on Hulu.

  4. My current hobbies are sewing, crocheting, and gardening.


My first project is titled “Dynamic DNA Origami Nanoclock”. A novel technique called DNA Origami enables us to synthesize molecular nanostructures of almost any arbitrary shape by exploiting the double helical nature of DNA, utilizing one strand as the scaffold, and the second strand acting as individual staple strands that force the scaffold strand to conform into the desired structure. Applying strand displacement reactions (SDRs) upon a DNA Origami can cause dynamic movement and programmable direction to the structure. A DNA Origami Nanoclock was then designed using three 6-double helical DNA bundles for the 3D structure, where there are three subsections: an arm, a strut, and a ring. A second design was created to impose a DNA motor onto the arm, and fuel strands onto the ring to cause the arm of the Nanoclock to move about the ring through SDR. Preliminary data has been collected using various methods, like Gel Electrophoresis and Atomic Force Microscopy. Pursuing the construction and observation of this Nanoclock will aid in gaining insights into manipulating matter at the nanoscale level. Developing this self-assembled system will offer the ability to program smart dynamic nanorobots and promise potential applications in structural biology, nanorobotics, and drug delivery.

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