Merzel, Rachel


B. A. 2012

Wesleyan University

Doctor of Philosophy

2018 University of Michigan

About this team member

Rachel Merzel (Wallace) graduated with a B.A. in Chemistry from Wesleyan University in 2012. At Wesleyan she worked with Prof. Albert J. Fry on mechanistic studies involving the electrochemical oxidation of diphenylacetaldehyde. In the fall of 2013, Rachel began graduate school in the University of Michigan’s Chemistry Department in the Inorganic cluster. She joined the Banaszak Holl group in May 2014, where her research focuses on designing targeted drug delivery using polymer-drug conjugates and the functionalization of silicon nanoparticles for imaging applications.  Rachel was awarded an NSF Graduate Fellowship in 2014.

She was awarded the Florence Fenwick outstanding graduate student instructor award in 2017.

Rachel’s work on nanoplastics in the environment was featured in congressional testimony in 2017 (starts around 1 h 33 min mark in attached link).

Rachel has also published a policy paper as part of the Ford School’s Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP) program.    R. Merzel.  The 14 Day Rule: scientific advances and the end of abortion rights.  Journal of Science Policy and Governance 2017, volume 11.


  • Anti-tumor Effect of Folate-Binding Protein: In Vitro and In Vivo Studies Molecular Pharmaceutics 2022 19 843-852
  • Uptake and Retention of Nanoplastics in Quagga Mussels Global Challenges 2019 1800104
  • Distributions: The Importance of the Chemist’s Molecular View for Biological Materials Biomacromolecules 2018 19 1469-1484
  • Folate binding protein: Therapeutic natural nanotechnology for folic acid, methotrexate, and leucovorin Nanoscale 2017 9 2603-2615
  • Conjugation Dependent Interaction of Folic Acid with Folate Binding Protein Bioconjugate Chemistry 2017 28 2350-2360
  • Atomic Force Microscopy-Infrared Spectroscopy of Individual Atmospheric Aerosol Particles: Subdiffraction Limit Vibrational Spectroscopy and Morphological Analysis Analytical Chemistry 2017 89 8594-8598
  • Substrate-Triggered Exosite Binding: Synergistic Dendrimer/Folic Acid Action for Achieving Specific, Tight-Binding to Folate Binding Protein Biomacromolecules 2016 17 922-927
  • Folate binding protein-Outlook for drug delivery applications Chinese Chemical Letters 2015 26 426-430
  • Quantitative Measurement of Cationic Polymer Vector and Polymer-pDNA Polyplex Intercalation into the Cell Plasma Membrane ACS Nano 2015 9 6097-6109