Vyas Ramanan grew up in Cerritos, CA, and dealt with his inability to make life decisions by attending a dual degree Management & Technology (M&T) program at the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, he conducted research in membrane biophysics and in polymeric drug delivery, in which his thesis on light-responsive electrospun polymer mats resulted in 1 paper and 3 shocks from a 25 kilovolt power supply. Vyas rounded out his college experience by singing parodies on stage in a gecko suit and interning at a venture capital firm, where he made up for his own cash-poor studenthood by trying to learn instead how to make use of other peoples’ money. He is currently a graduate student in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST) program within MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES), combining his affinity for acronyms with a keen interest in improving human health. His work in LMRT, as a Hertz Foundation and NSF fellow, spans tissue engineering, innate immunity and liver-specific viruses, and using genetic tools to develop therapeutics, from which he hopes one day he will have a coherent thesis. Vyas’ additional work, as part of a team using drones to improve vaccine delivery in the developing world, does not involve actually vaccinating patients from a drone... yet.
Andrew Warren is from Orlando, FL and received his B.S. from Johns Hopkins University in 2011. While at Hopkins, he investigated cartilage tissue engineering with Prof. Jennifer Elisseeff and studied Biomedical Engineering with a second major in Applied Mathematics and Statistics. He completed his Ph.D. in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology in Sangeeta Bhatia's lab with funding from the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology Graduate Fellowship.
In lab, Andrew engineers modular nanoparticle sensors that enable urinary detection of diseases including cancer, clotting disorders, and liver fibrosis. By designing different formulations of these nanoparticles, Andrew is interested in enabling safe, low-cost disease sensing that can sensitively and specifically detect difficult to diagnose diseases that lack endogenous biomarkers.
Outside of lab, he is broadly interested in global health, particularly in engineering new approaches for disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in low-resource environments. Towards this end, he led the development of a low-cost urinary point-of-care diagnostic for cancer and thrombotic disease using the nanoparticle disease sensors from his thesis work. Andrew has also worked, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to develop unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can be deployed to swiftly deliver vaccines over the last mile in rural environments to improve cost, quality, and coverage of vaccine supplies. In his spare time, he (in order of decreasing skill) enjoys running, biking, and swimming.
Candice grew up in Dix Hills, NY and graduated from Yale with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. As an undergraduate at Yale she researched topics across a variety of disciplines ranging from bioterrorism to immunoengineering. She completed her senior project in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Van Tassel on a collaborative project with the Mayo Clinic developing nanoparticles for application in X-ray imaging. Currently at LMRT, she is working on understanding nanoparticle behavior in combination with the development of siRNA delivery platforms for applications in ovarian cancer.
After leaving LMRT, Candice is now a Biomedical Engineering PhD student at Columbia University.
Matt grew up in Croton-on-Hudson, New York and graduated in 2013 from MIT with his Bachelor's degree in Biology and a minor in Biomedical Engineering. As an undergraduate at MIT in the laboratory of Dr. Martin Polz he investigated bacterial population dynamics in coastal ocean environments. As an undergraduate in LMRT he worked on the design of cancer diagnostics and therapeutics. Now at LMRT he is working on understanding nano-particle behavior for applications in brain trauma and continuing research of applying synthetic biology to the design cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.
After leaving LMRT, Matt is now a medical student at Albany Medical College.
Ben graduated from Humboldt State University in 2011 with a B.S. in Biology with a cellular/ molecular emphasis and a minor in chemistry. For the next year he received training in human stem cell biology and techniques while an intern in the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Scholar program at University of California Davis (UC Davis). From 2012 to 2014 he continued to work at UC Davis under Dr. Mark Zern and Dr. Yuyou Duan. This work encompassed the derivation of hepatocytes from multiple human stem cells sources and repopulation trials in a variety of liver disease models.
Tal comes from a synthetic biology background and received his Ph.D from UCSD (Jeff Hasty's lab). His thesis work focused on synthetic gene oscillators and their applications in bacteria. Here at LMRT, Tal is interested in research at the interface of synthetic biology and nanotechnology. For more see here.
After leaving LMRT, Tal now runs his own lab at Columbia University.
Ani grew up in Massachusetts, and attended Belmont High School. She received herBachelor's degree in Biology from Boston University in 2010. While at BU, she interned at the Proteomics platform of the Broad Institute, and became interested in biological research. Now at LMRT, she is working as part of the Malaria platform, studying the liver stage of Malaria in vitro.
Kelly R. Stevens was born in New Richmond, Wisconsin. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she worked in the laboratory of Dr. Weiyuan John Kao to study the inflammatory response to gelatin-based biodegradable hydrogels. Prior to attending graduate school, she worked in the Stent R&D and Applied Research groups at Boston Scientific in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy from the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington under the guidance of Dr. Charles E. Murry in 2008. Her thesis work focused on controlling cell proliferation and tissue formation for myocardial repair. Kelly is interested in using tools in cellular and molecular biology, nano/microscale engineering, and biomaterials science to advance stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. Her work in the Bhatia Laboratory focuses on studying cell-cell interactions in three-dimensional engineered liver tissue.
Kelly now runs her own lab at the University of Washington in Seattle. More information is available on her website here.
Chelsea grew up in Rumford, ME and attended Mountain Valley High School. She received her Bachelor’s degree in biology with a specialization in cell biology, molecular biology, and genetics from Boston University in 2014. As an undergraduate research assistant at Boston University School of Medicine, she explored the Hippo cell signaling pathway and its roles in cancer and development under the supervision of Dr. Xaralabos “Bob” Varelas. At LMRT, she is working on hepatic tissue engineering, humanized mouse models, and differentiating induced pluripotent stem cells to study human disease.
Alex received his B.S in Microbiology and Immunology from McGill University (2004) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He obtained his MS from McGill University (2007) studying the role of immunosuppressive T cells in autoimmune diabetes. Alex then worked at GlaxoSmithKline for a year synthesizing and evaluating recombinant proteins for vaccine development. In 2008, he joined Warren Chan’s laboratory at the University of Toronto for his doctoral studies. Alex’s thesis investigated how the design of gold nanoparticles affected their transport and stability in the extracellular tumor environment. His work lead to the fabrication of a Tumor-on-a-Chip, the improved quantification of nanomaterial cell uptake, and the development of technique to controllably aggregate gold nanoparticles. Alex obtained his PhD in June 2014 and joined the LMRT with a fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Alex is now interested in developing responsive nanomaterials that can target the extracellular matrix of tumor tissues.
Alex is now a completing post-doctoral research in Kwanghun (KC) Chung's lab at MIT.
Justin graduated from MIT in 2008 with a B.S. in Biological Engineering and a B.S. in Music. His undergraduate research in the lab of Bevin Engelward focused on the development of a partially-automated high-throughput assay for DNA damage to be used in toxicology screens and to study DNA repair kinetics. He is presently an MD-PhD student at Harvard Medical School and MIT. During his first year in medical school, he was involved in the design, manufacture, and testing of cellular and acellular lung assist devices in the lab of Joseph P. Vacanti.
At LMRT, Justin is interested in designing new nanoparticle-based strategies for enhancing drug and diagnostic delivery, including work interfacing with synthetic biology to create nanoparticles which modify their behavior and payload in a tumor context-dependent manner.
Meghan went to high school in Canada, where she was a National Gold Medallist in the Canadian Fermat Mathematics Competition. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Columbia University, NYC, in May 2007 with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. As an undergraduate, Meghan did research at the Biomaterial and Interface Tissue Engineering Laboratory, studying how osteoblast-fibroblast interactions modulate cell phenotypes via autocrine and paracrine regulations. She also held a research fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. At Columbia, she was named the MacLaren Scholar and received the Claire S. and Robert E. Reiss Prize for graduating seniors judged most likely to contribute substantially to the Biomedical Engineering field.
Currently, Meghan is doing research with miniature in vitro liver models, using them for high-throughput screens with applications in compound safety testing, hepatic tissue engineering and liver regeneration.
PhD Student, then Post-Doctoral Researcher
Shengyong received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2008. As an undergraduate, he worked in the lab of Dr. Jennifer Elisseeff, where he developed collagen vitrigel membranes for the reconstruction of corneal tissue. From 2008-2009, he worked with Dr. Motoichi Kurisawa at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore, where he designed and developed nanogel complexes comprising hyaluronic acid-green tea catechin conjugates and proteins for the targeted induction of apoptosis of cancer cells.
Shengyong received his PhD degree through LMRT in the Biological Engineering Department at MIT under a fellowship from A*STAR, Singapore. He is interested in developing three-dimensional models of infectious diseases that affect the liver and liver regeneration. After completing his doctoral training, he returned home to Singapore for a post-doctoral position.
I completed my B.S. degree in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley in 2002 and my Ph.D. in Bioengineering in 2009 from California Institute of Technology. My thesis work was supervised by Dr. James R. Heath and focused on the development of DNA-encoded in vitro diagnostic platforms for on-chip multiplexed profiling of biological targets, specifically sorting and detecting cancer-specific T cells for cancer immunotherapy, high density microfluidic immunoassays and multidimensional molecular analyses of surgically resected glioblastoma tumors. Here at LMRT, I am interested in engineering modular nanoparticles for cancer therapeutics and developing diagnostic platforms for screening in vivo dysregulation of complex diseases. For more information, check here.
After leaving LMRT, Gabe is now an assistant professor at Georgia Tech, head of the Laboratory for Synthetic Immunity.
Kevin Lin received his B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2008. At LMRT, he received his doctoral degree in the Chemical Engineering Department at MIT. His research was focused on the development of multifunctional nanocarriers for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. He graduated in the spring of 2014
Graduate Student, Research Scientist
Kartik was born in New York where he attended Ward Melville High School. He received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and Applied Mathematics from Johns Hopkins University in 2007, followed by an M.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering and an M.S.E. in Applied Mathematics also from Johns Hopkins in 2008. He was awarded the Richard J. Johns Award by the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the AM&S Achievement Award by the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics for outstanding academic achievement.
Kartik's research experience at Johns Hopkins included tissue engineering scaffold design for blood vessel and peripheral nerve regeneration under Dr. Hai-Quan Mao, statistical signal analysis for characterizing the nanostructure of actin-based motility under Drs. Scot Kuo and Carey Priebe, bioimpedance-measuring instrumentation for the detection of preterm labor under Drs. Robert Allen and Edith Gurewitsch, and pull-out resistant orthopedic pedicle screws for osteoporotic patients under Dr. Jay Khanna. His work has culminated in several publications, patents, and scientific awards.
As a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, Kartik received his doctorate in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology in 2013. His present research involves the design of regenerative technologies, particularly for the liver, and he sees his position at Harvard and MIT more broadly as an opportunity to contribute his best to the advancement of human health.
Kartik is grateful for the strong role his research and academic advisors have played in his scientific development. He is most thankful however for the continued support of his family and mentor to whom he attributes his progress.
After completing his Ph.D. at LMRT, he continued as a research scientist before continuing on to a consulting position in NYC.
Alex Bagley received B.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2008, graduating Phi Beta Kappa as a two-year recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Congressional Scholarship. At MIT, Alex worked in the laboratory of Prof. David Sabatini at the Whitehead Institute, where he studied the anti-proliferative mechanisms of rapamycin on the mTOR pathway as well as nutrient-mediated chemotaxis of cancer cells in microfluidic devices. Alex was selected as a Merck Engineering and Technology Fellow in 2007. He has also served as an engineering consultant at Joule Unlimited, Inc., a Cambridge-based biotechnology company developing next-generation biofuels. Beyond academics and research, Alex played on the MIT Men's Varsity Basketball team and was selected to the 2008 Academic All-Conference and Second Team All-District ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America teams.
Alex is currently pursuing an M.D./Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School in the Division of Health Sciences & Technology (HST) and the Biophysics Program at Harvard University. His research at the Koch Institute and LMRT focuses on engineering and applying nanotechnologies to impact the clinical management of cancer. Working with doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital, he is currently investigating the application of novel nanotherapeutic protocols in models of ovarian cancer and sarcoma. Alex is funded through the NIH Medical Scientist Training Program.
Mythili Prabhu grew up in Ames, Iowa and received her Bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 2013. As an undergraduate researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital under the supervision of Dr. Jayaraj Rajagopal, she investigated the plasticity of airway secretory cells in order to understand its role in lung regeneration and repair. At LMRT she is working on diagnostic hepatic platforms made with induced pluripotent stem cells to study human disease.
After her work at LMRT, she began medical school at Stanford.
I was born in Croydon, Pennsylvania, a suburb immediately outside Philadelphia. I received my B.S. in Chemistry at Temple University in Philadelphia. At Temple, I studied under Dr. Robert Stanley investigating the requirement for DNA base-flipping during Photolyase mediated UV DNA damage repair. Subsequently, I was employed as a research technician in Dr. Michael Hauser’s lab within the Center for Human Genetics at Duke University. I worked on developing a mouse model of Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy type 1A (LGMD1A). Next, I worked at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Dr. Deborah O’Brien’s lab investigating protein requirements for sperm motility and fertilization. I went on to earn my PhD in Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under the supervision of Dr. Frank Conlon. My thesis work focused on determining the molecular mechanisms required for cardiomyocyte progenitors to initiate differentiation. Through my PhD studies, I became very interested in tissue development and how developmental molecular mechanisms can be employed to address the regenerative capacity of tissues for the treatment of human disease. My postdoctoral work in Dr. Bhatia’s lab focuses on exosome mediated cell-cell interactions and their impact on the stability of engineered liver tissue.
I received my B.E. in Chemical Engineering from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1999, my Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and my M.D. both from the University of Minnesota in 2006. My thesis work was performed in the laboratories of Drs. Catherine Verfaillie and Wei-Shou Hu and focused on the use of adult and embryonic stem cells to generate hepatocyte-like cells. We found that extracellular matrix and cellular organization influences hepatocyte differentiation and function in vitro. Here at LMRT, we are using tools in cellular and molecular biology along with microscale engineering on the two dimensional and three dimensional level to study the hepatocyte-like cell differentiation of embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. We are interested in this system to study hepatic differentiation, the role of cell-ECM interactions in the differentiation process, and the development of diagnostic hepatic platforms to study human disease.
I was born in São Paulo - Brazil and I came to the United States as an exchange student in 2004. I received my Associates degree in Biology from Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) in 2008. Upon graduating from BHCC, I received The Community College Graduate Scholarship from Boston University where I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Laboratory and Clinical Science in 2011.
Sabine Hauert received her Masters in Computer Science in 2006 from the EPFL in Switzerland where she also completed her PhD in robotics in 2010. Her main research interest is to make swarms of simple agents work together towards real-world applications. Along this line, she investigated ways of deploying large numbers of flying robots to create communication networks in disaster scenarios (SMAVNET project) during her thesis at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems. Currently, she aims to apply swarm engineering to nanoparticles for the intelligent treatment of cancer. For this research, she was awarded a Human Frontiers in Science Program Fellowship for cross-disciplinary research in 2011. Besides research, Sabine is passionate about disseminating knowledge about science to the general public thanks to award winning videos and the Robots podcast which she co-founded and presides. Over the last four years, she has interviewed nearly 100 top roboticists from industry and academia for their expert view on robotics. Sabine is also Media Editor for one of the major robotics journals "Autonomous Robots" and as such is responsible for presenting the latest publications in robotics in a fresh and interactive manner on the Autonomous Robots Blog. For more information, check here.
Sabine is currently a faculty member at the University of Bristol, UK.
Cheri received her B.S. in chemical engineering from Stanford University in 2004. While at Stanford, her undergraduate thesis work with Professor Curtis Frank focused on protein diffusion through temperature-sensitive hydrogels. She was also a Merck Engineering & Technology Fellow and interned at Merck during the summers of 2006 and 2007. Cheri is currently a Ph.D. candidate in chemical engineering at MIT, supported by the NSF and NDSEG graduate fellowships. Her research interests include applying polymer materials to problems in tissue engineering.
Nate received his Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University in 2006. His undergrad research focused on the use of ultrasound to characterize the stiffness matrix of anisotropic materials (in particular, Grenadilla wood). He received his Master's in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2008, where his research focused on the use of the thermosensitive hydrogel poly(NIPAAm) in microfluidic valves. Nate received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. At LMRT, his work has focused on understanding the interactions between metastatic cancer cells and extracellular matrix (ECM). Nate worked to develop an ECM Microarray technology capable of screening interactions between cells and nearly 800 unique ECM combinations. This work revealed a variety of molecular interactions that involve integrins, glycosylation, and cells of the innate immune system. Nate is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow studying cancer immunology in the laboratory of Edgar Engleman at Stanford University.
Yin went to Vincent Massey Secondary School in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and graduated from MIT in 2006 with a S.B. degree in electrical and biomedical engineering. While at MIT, he worked in Prof. Jongyoon Han's laboratory designing and developing microfluidic devices for protein separation and preconcentration. He also worked in the radiation oncology physics division at MGH and University of Michigan, developing a respiratory-gated integrated radiation therapy system.
Yin is currently pursuing a MD-PhD degree in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Harvard Medical School and in the Division of Health Sciences and Technology at MIT. He is interested in the application of nanotechnologies to human disease, such as cancer. He hopes to engineer novel nanomaterials to better image, target and deliver therapeutics to various disease processes.
Alice Chen received a B.S. degree in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley in 2003. From 2001-2003, Alice worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in the biotechnology and microtechnology departments on projects ranging from epidemiology studies for elucidating mechanisms of cancer to device design/testing for gene synthesis and miniaturized PCR. After graduation, Alice joined the Biodefense division of LLNL as a Biomedical scientist. Her research focused on direct delivery of modified siRNA for gene silencing and on the development of a pressure-based platform for capturing and sustaining single cells.
Alice is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in the Division of Health Sciences & Technology at MIT and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. She is interested in the application of novel biomaterials and nanotechnologies to tissue engineering, and her research focuses on the development and assessment of 3D implantable, hepatic tissues. She is supported by NSF and NDSEG graduate research fellowships.
Salil received his Bachelor's from Carnegie Mellon University in Electrical and Computer Engineering with Carnegie Institute of Technology and University Honors. Prior to attending MIT, Salil worked at the Xerox Palo Alto Reseach Center and Bosch Research Technology Center on MEMS devices and process characterization. At MIT, Salil received a S.M. and Ph.D. in EECS working in MEMS and BioMEMS metrology. in 2009, Salil won the MGH-MIT Fellowship in Translational Medicine and worked jointly with LMRT and the MGH BioMEMS Resource Center on cancer cell migration. At LMRT, Salil has broad interests in cell/molecule patterning, microfluidics, and phenotypic screening. At the Koch Institute, Salil has helped start the Engineering Genius Bar and remains active in spearheading this effort.
I received my Ph.D. in Chemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008 working with Prof. L. Andrew Lyon on developing novel synthetic routes towards the design of hydrogel nanoparticles with structural and chemical complexities that can be easily interfaced with biological systems relevant to biomedicine. Here at MIT's LMRT, I have been interested in developing nanomaterials for achieving and investigating RNAi therapy.
Post-Doctoral Researcher, Research Scientist
I received my B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1997 and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in 2003, both from Northwestern University. My thesis work was performed in the laboratory of Dr. Geoffrey Kansas in the department of Microbiology-Immunology and focused on the adhesive properties and chemotactic responsiveness of antibody secreting plasma cells, as well as the gene expression alterations underlying plasma cell differentiation. In LMRT, we are interested in cell-cell interactions within the liver microenvironment and the differentiation of bipotential hepatic stem cells as a basis for tissue engineered structures.
After leaving MIT, Greg became an assistant professor in Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
I received my B.S. (Physics) from NC State University in 2001, and I received my Ph.D. (Physics) from UC Santa Barbara in 2007. I did my thesis work with Andrew Cleland, developing high throughput electronic particle analysis for microfluidic systems.
My work at LMRT is focused on solving relevant problems in tissue engineering and medicine using microtechnology and microfluidics. Currently, we are working to develop a high throughput assay for screening DNA damage in single cells. This technology will enable large scale studies of the effects of environmental factors on cellular DNA damage and repair capacity. Additionally, I am working on new methods to build vasculature for in vitro liver tissue constructs, which will improve their long term viability.
David received his MSc in Biological Engineering in 2007 from IST (Instituto Superiror Técnico), Lisboa, Portugal. Now he is pursuing his PhD within the MIT Portugal Program working at LMRT at MIT and SCBL at IST. His research focuses on the bone marrow microenvironment and the interactions between mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). He aims at the clarification of the mechanisms of the niche that control the stem cell pool towards the ex vivo large scale expansion of HSC.
Simone graduated in 2009 from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany, with a diploma (German equivalent to M.S.) in Industrial Engineering and Management. During her studies, she specialised in Micro/Nano Systems and Material Science and was enrolled in two international student projects abroad. She was researching at University of Canterbury, New Zealand, in the field of Biomedical Engineering and at the University of Kyoto, Japan, in the field of carbon nanotube based nano sensors which was sponsored by the Heinrich Hertz fellowship and a German state funding. She subsequently joined the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems, directed by Prof. Brad Nelson, at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, where she focused on magnetic manipulation techniques for wireless microrobot control in biomedical applications. She was awarded with a Swiss National Foundation fellowship to pursue her postdoctoral studies and joined the LMRT in June 2014. Simone is now interested in applying microrobotic control strategies in cancer treatment, specifically in locally enhancing nanoparticle transport.