The Lab

The Harrison Lab is focused on improving the utility of capillary electrophoresis (CE) as a bioanalytical tool.  To this end the lab has two principle focuses: improving our understanding of CE theory and how electrophoretic separations can be performed, and applying CE, and these advances, to challenging bioanalytical problems.
The research team is composed a broad range of passionate graduate and undergraduate students who get extensive hands-on experiences with all aspects of analytical chemistry, from sample preparations, to method development, and troubleshooting.  If you are interested in getting involved in the lab please review the current research projects and feel free to contact Dr. Harrison.


Blood Doping Identification

One of the central projects for the lab, which has garnered research support from the World Anti-Doping Agency and the US Anti-Doping Agency, has been the development of CE methods to identify autologous blood transfusions.  The lab is developing means of identifying the physical and biochemical changes that occur in red blood cells while in storage.  By accentuating these differences we are able to differentiate the stored and fresh cells once mixed via a prohibited, autologous blood transfusion.  This will become a key component in the continuing fight against doping in sports.

Capillary Coatings

In our ongoing development of CE methods for the separation of biologically relevant compounds the group has been investigating how self-assembled surface coatings can be incorporated and modified in CE separations.  The aim of the lab is to develop better options for bioseparations, and to devise new means of altering, and controlling electrophoretic separations.

Nanofluidic Segmentation

The ability to sequester microliter into nanoliter volumes of sample in aqueous droplets surrounded by perflorinated carbon liquids has proved to be highly useful for chemical and biochemical analyses.  Our work is focused on both the controlled formation and manipulation of these aqueous droplets and the ability to seamlessly integrate this system into a separation system.  We are focusing on the development of a system that will allow the delivery of aqueous droplets to a capillary electrophoresis system, allowing for the rapid and extensive analysis of the droplet contents.

Complexation Measurements

Several projects are currently underway in the lab making use of CE’s unique capability to separate molecular complexes, and in the process, probe aspects about the complex formations and equilibria.  We are applying these capabilities in collaboration with groups in biochemistry, biology, and industry to better understand the complex systems they are studying.

Group Members

The PI

Chris Harrison began his study of chemistry at Concordia University in Montreal, following a Ph.D. at the University of Alberta with Chuck Lucy (2005) he proceed to a postdoc with Michael Bowser at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.  These opportunities exposed Chris to a wide breadth of analytical separation techniques, from HPLC, to microfluidic systems.

In 2007 Chris joined the faculty at SDSU where he has established his research group, and become recognized by his peers as being at the forefront of advancing the use of technology in teaching analytical chemistry.

When not in the lab Chris tries to spend as much time as possible enjoying the wonderful San Diego weather by spending hours riding his bike throughout the county.

Graduate Students

Mike Appel is a San Diego native and chemistry graduate student at SDSU. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in the entomological sciences at UC Riverside he joined Dr. Harrison’s lab with an interest in widening his understanding of chemical analysis to help him work toward a future career within the field of forensics. Currently Mike is conducting research using capillary electrophoresis to observe phage interactions with mucin.

Outside of his education, Mike enjoys working as a martial arts and self-defense instructor of kids and adults and hiking when he has free time.


Amy Vo did her undergraduate studies at UCSD in biochemistry and cellular biology with a minor in environmental systems. Following graduation, she worked as a QC/QA analyst in several industries including food and cosmetic. However, it was at Phenomenex (Torrrance, CA) where she discovered that she really like to work with technical instruments such as HPLC and GC to take on analytical problems in bioanalysis.

Since becoming a graduate student at SDSU, Amy has been working on two projects. Her main project is to design, build and characterize the Coaxial CE Droplet System (CCEDS). The aim of this project is to create a device capable of electrophoretic separation and encapsulation of separated components in monodispersed droplets post column analysis. With her second project, Amy is using CE to investigate the strength of molecular interaction between phage and mucin.

When she is not in the lab, she likes to travel and hunt for fruit around the world (a fruit hunter, it’s a thing, she said). She also a political junkie and a lover of great fictions. She is set to graduate in May 2017 and vows to continue to be curious and to slay dragons wherever they appear.

Sangho (Davie) Yun is a graduate student at SDSU pursuing masters in Analytical Chemistry. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in
chemistry from University of California, Los Angeles, he worked at
Johnson & Johnson managing formulation/pre-formulation development for
all in-house animal toxicological studies. He is currently working on
autologous blood doping project, in attempt to find an optimal method
to detect what is considered illegal by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Outside of school, Davie enjoys watching movies, playing games, and
hanging out with his friends over cup of coffee (and beer).

Former Group Members

Undergraduate Students

Shane Alexis Apostol (bio pending)

Jackie Cuen (bio pending)

Jialin Cui (bio pending)

Michael Dalman is proud to pursue his undergraduate chemistry degree in his hometown of San Diego. Michael is evidently a masochist since he hopes to become a high school chemistry teacher upon graduation. He first researched chemistry at SDSU under Dr. Cooksy as a high school senior. Since attending San Diego State, his interests in physical and analytical chemistry have continued to grow.

Outside of school, Michael enjoys skydiving, backpacking, and sleeping.



Jessica Frisbie is an undergraduate student studying chemistry, who is looking forward to graduating in May. She is currently working on the steroid project and hopes to work in a forensic laboratory after graduating.

When she is not in school or working, Jessica enjoys playing tennis and likes to go paddleboarding at the bay.


Keifer Garcia is an undergrad who is a 3rd year. I hope to work on the blood doping project as that interests me the most and for now, and I hope to get into it in the future using all the knowledge I obtained from shadowing different students. My interests in Chemistry usually relate to the Biochemistry aspect, however, I am still open to other areas in the field. I am thinking of working on protein synthesis with my degree in the future.

Thirada Kingphuang  is the first in the past 4 generation of her family to attend college. When I was young, I always wondered how the police caught the “bad guys” and dreamed of the day when I could help them. I grew up in Thailand where many criminal convictions are based on confessions, not evidence. That started to change in the 1990s when Dr. Porntip Rojanasunand introduced and popularized Forensic Science for criminal investigations.

I am currently a senior studying Biochemistry at San Diego State University. My ultimate goal is to gain enough training, education, real-world experience to enable me to become a professor in Forensic Science where I can support and guide my students in their research for new scientific techniques to solving criminal cases. I graduated from Grossmont College’s Forensic Technician program with a 4.0 GPA and have gained many skills during my two year internship at the Chula Vista crime lab. After graduating from SDSU I plan on attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in Forensic Science, so I will be well prepared to teach forensic science technology and conduct research.


Jaclyn Pittman is an undergraduate student at SDSU studying Environmental Science and Chemistry. She plans to enroll in a doctoral program upon graduating and pursue a career in environmental chemistry. She is currently working on the MPXA complexation project, finding it both very intriguing and challenging.

When she is not studying or working in the lab, Jaclyn enjoys going to the beach, attending concerts, and volunteering with the children’s ministry at her church.

Patrick Smith  joined the Harrison research group during the 2017 spring semester. After receiving an associates degree in mathematics, he transferred to SDSU to earn his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He is currently hard at work on the stacking project in order to increase analyte signal detection using capillary electrophoresis. In a previous life, Patrick spent his time traveling the country with his band and still enjoys playing guitar and writing songs whenever time permits.

Kristina Telhami is an Undergraduate Student at SDSU Studying Chemistry-Biochemistry. She has a passion for medicine and is hoping to pursue a career in Pharmacy as she applies for pharmacy school this upcoming summer. She loves being in the research lab, coming up with new ideas, and perfecting her techniques as she faces new challenges.

When not in the research lab, Kristina loves to go on long runs by the beach, hangout with friends, and explore throughout San Diego.

Jessica Torres is a chemistry major and has worked in the Harrison group for the past four semesters. She is currently investigating the use of polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) as a capillary coating and its potential use in separating fresh red blood cells from aged ones in the Blood Doping Identification project. In her spare time she enjoys playing Animal Crossing, dismantling the patriarchy, and hanging out with her dogs.

Rebecca Townsley is an undergraduate at SDSU majoring in Chemistry and is currently working on the MPXA complexation project.
Although she has a long list of aspirations, Rebecca would really like to become a forensic scientist after completing graduate school.
Being in the lab has taught her that perseverance and patience is the key to success in all things…and that chemistry is in fact, NOT made up of magic (but it’s still awesome!).

Outside of working in the lab, Rebecca is an avid reader, enjoys lazy days filled with books and endless cups of tea and loves serving on mission trips with her church.

Chelsea White is currently in her fourth year at San Diego State University and is pursuing a degree in Biochemistry.  After she graduates in May, she will be applying to pharmacy schools this summer to pursue a PharmD degree.  Chelsea is currently working on the steroid project.  When she is not doing research, Chelsea enjoys cooking and spending time at the beach.
Former Group Members

Group News


Wells, S. S., De La Toba, E., Harrison, C. R. (2016). Metal cation control of electroosmotic flow magnitude in phospholipid coated capillaries. ELECTROPHORESIS, 37(10), 1303-1309.

Harrison, C. R., Fang, J. C.-Y., Walthall, K. J., Green, C. C., Porobic, V. (2014). Towards the identification of autologous blood transfusions through capillary electrophoresis. ANALYTICAL AND BIOANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY, 406(3), 679-686.

Morris, A. L., Harrison, C. R. (2013). Adsorption of buffer ion pairs can alter long-term electroosmotic flow stability. ELECTROPHORESIS, 34(17), 2585-2592.

Harrison, C. R. (2013). Role of Capillary Electrophoresis in the Fight Against Doping in Sports. ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY, 85(15), 6982-6987.

 Harrison, C. R., Vydha, S. (2012). Capillary electrophoretic analysis of whole blood samples for hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers without the use of immunoprecipitation. ELECTROPHORESIS, 33(7), 1087-1094.

Harrison, C. R., Sader, J. A., Lucy, C. a. (2006). Sulfonium and phosphonium, new ion-pairing agents with unique selectivity towards polarizable anions. JOURNAL OF CHROMATOGRAPHY A, 1113(1-2), 123-129.

Harrison, C. R., Lucy, C. A. (2002). Determination of zwitterionic and cationic surfactants by high-performance liquid chromatography with chemiluminescenscent nitrogen detection. JOURNAL OF CHROMATOGRAPHY A, 956(1-2), 237-244.

Lucy, C. A., Harrison, C. (2001). Chemiluminescence nitrogen detection in ion chromatography for the determination of nitrogen-containing anions. JOURNAL OF CHROMATOGRAPHY A, 920(1-2), 135-141.