Lexi Rindone, Chair (January 1, 2022 - December 31, 2024)
Lexi is a Postdoctoral Fellow working in Professor Jennifer Elisseeff’s lab at Johns Hopkins University. She received her BS in Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and earned her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, where she worked in Professor Warren Grayson’s lab. Her PhD research focused on the development of a quantitative 3D light-sheet imaging platform to study the interactions of blood vessels and stem cells during skull bone growth, healing, and remodeling. As a postdoctoral fellow, she is now focused on identifying the roles of different senescent cell phenotypes in the foreign body response to biomaterials, and evaluating how these phenotypes change across lifespan in both sexes. Outside of the lab, Lexi enjoys working out, playing tennis, exploring local farmers’ markets and shops, and spending time with her fiancé, Kyle, and their cat!
Mickael Dang, Chair-Elect (January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2024)
Mickael is a PhD student at the University of Toronto, working in Professor Molly Shoichet’s lab. He received his BSc in Biomedical Sciences at the University Paris Descartes and his MASc in Applied Physics at the Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay. His research mainly focuses on developing a novel hydrogel platform for the delivery of therapeutics to treat chronic open-angle glaucoma. Being passionate by translational medicine and entrepreneurship, he hopes to bring his research to the clinic in the near future.
Navein Arumugasaamy, PhD: Past Chair
I’m currently a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland, College Park, in Dr. John Fisher’s Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials Laboratory. My research involves developing a tissue model of the placental maternal-fetal interface to investigate how substances present during pregnancy influence this barrier, and to what extent these substances cross the barrier and affect fetal cells. I’ve utilized this model to assess transport of Zika Virus from mother to fetus and plan to assess how antidepressants taken during pregnancy influence the barrier, as well as fetal cardiovascular cells. I received my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 2014.
Sargol Okhovatian, Secretary
Sargol is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto, under the supervision of Prof. Milica Radisic. In the Radisic Lab, Sargol is developing a 3D in vitro cm-sized left ventricle models and evaluate their functionality compared to physiological data. Outside the lab, Sargol enjoys running, baking and gardening.
Twitter: @SOkhovatian LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sargol-okhovatian/
Emi Kiyotake, Treasurer
Emi is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Oklahoma under Prof. Michael Detamore. She completed her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma in 2020 with her thesis entitled, “Development of a Conductive Hydrogel for Translational Spinal Cord Regeneration”. In addition to her interest in conductive, photocrosslinking hydrogels with gold nanorods for spinal cord injury, her current research focuses on the development of cartilage extracellular matrix-based, photocrosslinking hydrogels for cartilage regeneration.
Paula Fraczek, Communications Officer
Paula is a Biomedical Engineering PhD Candidate and NSF GRFP Fellow in Dr. Carlos Aguilar’s lab at the University of Michigan. Her research uses bioinformatics and tissue engineering approaches to understand how age-related changes to cellular metabolism, reactive oxygen species regulation, and the epigenome are intertwined and inhibit the ability of muscle stem cells to regenerate skeletal muscle following injury.
Marcelo Muñoz, PhD, Chair Professional Development Chair
Dr. Munoz graduated as a pharmacist and Chemist from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, and was awarded the award of Best Chilean Graduated Pharmacist from the National Pharmacy Association in 2008. He started his Ph.D. at the same university researching different photochemical treatments against skin cancer. Due to his passion in sports, he interrupted his Ph.D. to become CEO of the Chilean Weightlifting Federation, to then jump as a science advisor for drug abuse and doping in sports at the International Weightlifting Federation (Hungary) and Latin-America drug testing coordinator for the International Cycling Union (Switzerland). Further, he was headhunted to manage the drug testing program during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio 2016. After returning to finish his Ph.D. in Chemistry and cancer treatment in 2017, he was recruited as a postdoctoral fellow at the prestigious Ottawa Heart Institute in Canada, where he has published over 10 peer-review publications, received over 10 awards and fellowships, including the 2020 strategic endowment fellowship award, 2021 Innovation Award, 2022 Postdoctoral award, and the prestigious 2023 CIHR fellowship awards. Dr. Munoz loves one of the most exciting aspects of research: training the next generation of scientists.
Ram Rao, MD PhD: Professional Development Chair
Ram is a Clinical Fellow in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology working in the lab of Professor Sarah Heilshorn at Stanford University. He received his BS in Biomedical Engineering at UC Davis, PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan in Professor Jan Stegemann’s lab, MD from the University of Michigan, and completed residency in Pediatrics at UCLA. His PhD research focused on engineering a vascularized bone tissue graft to be used in in the treatment of non-union bone fractures. His research interests are focused on pediatric sarcomas and aims to apply tissue engineering techniques to create models of pediatric solid tumors. When not in the hospital or in lab, Ram spends time hiking around San Francisco with his wife and dog, Bear, and watching the Golden State Warriors.
Sydney Conner: 2023 Programming Chair
Sydney is a Biomedical Engineering PhD candidate at Tufts University in the lab of Dr. Madeleine Oudin. Prior to starting at Tufts she received her BS in Biomedical Engineering at Union College. Her research investigates how obesity-dependent changes in the tumor microenvironment specifically, the extracellular matrix drives breast cancer progression.
Liam Powers: 2023 Programming Chair
Liam is an M.D./Ph.D. Candidate working in the Kaplan lab at Tufts University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences/School of Engineering. His research pursuits include generation of a novel blood brain barrier scaffold model for in vitro drug testing and traumatic brain injury disease modeling. Outside of research, Liam enjoys pickup hoops, ice coffee, and the occasional video game.
Anna Yui: 2023 Programming Chair
Anna is a postdoctoral scholar at Tufts University, working in Professor Madeleine Oudin’s lab. She received her PhD in Engineering at the University of Tokyo, working in Professor Kouhei Tsumoto’s lab. Her PhD research focused on the biochemical analysis of the molecular characteristics of Liver Intestine-cadherin. Her current research focuses on the mechanisms of chemotherapy-induced metastasis of triple-negative breast cancer. She is interested in integrating the findings of cell biology and protein science to propose novel therapies for cancer.