After growing up in New Orleans, Kimber moved to Baltimore to study Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Pursuing her interest in biomedical engineering, she went on to complete her Master’s in Bioengineering Innovation and Design at Hopkins where she worked on projects including a hydration monitor for chronic kidney disease patients and a low-cost labor management training tool for midwives in Nepal and India. Following her Master’s, Kimber worked for Siemens Healthcare as a systems engineer in Point of Care Diagnostics in Massachusetts. While at Siemens, she moved to Tokyo to work in Customer Services Business Support and Strategy before returning as the product development manager on a Zika vector surveillance project at Hopkins’ Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design. In joining Tulane’s unique Bioinnovation PhD program, Kimber hopes to solve clinical needs through research at the interface of academia and industry.
A Virginia native, Rani earned a BSc in Biological Sciences with a Microbiology concentration at Cornell University. Leveraging his biochemistry and microbiology research experience, paired with an interest in life science entrepreneurship, Rani worked as the Biochemistry Lead at Zymtronix Catalytic Systems in Ithaca, NY. After helping the company grow around its robust platform technology, Rani joined the Bioinnovation program to pursue his own research and entrepreneurial goals with a focus on technology commercialization and solutions for antimicrobial resistance.
Karissa Chao grew up in Needham, Massachusetts, a suburb outside of Boston. She received her B.S.E. in biomedical engineering at Tulane University where she conducted research under Dr. Douglas Chrisey. Her undergraduate thesis focused on parameter characterization for magnetic fluid hyperthermia towards a novel cancer treatment. She developed a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship through her internship with Bioceptive Inc., a women’s health biotech start-up company in the New Orleans Bioinnovation Center. Karissa joined the Bioinnovation program to pursue her passion for delivering clinical solutions to women and children in need, especially with a focus on preventative care.
Mitchell was raised in a military family and grew up in several different cities. He graduated from Clemson University in 2013 with his Bachelors of Science in Bioengineering. During undergrad he took part in two summer research programs, a genomics project at Louisiana State University in Dr. Mark Batzer's lab as well as research in biomechanics in Dr. Linxia Gu's lab at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Mitchell is excited to settle in New Orleans and is currently working with a biotech start up to create drug delivery systems for ophthalmic use. Mitchell hopes to pursue a career in technology commercialization after his PhD.
Kay lived her whole life in New Orleans, LA, until a volleyball scholarship from Lehigh University sent her off to explore the Northeast for four years. While earning a B.S. in Bioengineering at Lehigh, Kay worked in various labs that spanned from DNA sequencing to biomolecular mechanics to point-of-care microfluidic devices. Her work with devices sparked her interest in translational biomedical research, and Tulane’s Bioinnovation program was a perfect fit for her career goals in industry and entrepreneurship. It was even more perfect that she could move back home and spend these next several years in the city that she loves so much.
A Louisiana native, Katie attended Louisiana State University where she earned a B.S. in Biological Engineering. It was during that time when she was first exposed to research and development through her senior project at LSU. After building a remote control weed-eater device for an organic farm, the project goal, Katie decided she enjoyed designing technology. More interested in biomedical sciences rather than agriculture, she decided to pursue a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at Tulane University. There, she became aware of the unique BioInnovation PhD program Tulane offers. After joining the program, Katie is excited to learn more about translational research and how it can be brought to the market.
After graduating from the University of Colorado – Boulder with a degree in Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology, Nancy has worked in the industry before wanting to pursue a graduate degree. Last year, she attended a lecture on what the Galapagos can teach us about innovation. The environment of the Galapagos archipelago makes it an ideal location for new life and new species, making it nature’s ideal innovation platform. After hearing this talk, she knew which graduate programs to apply. She felt that Tulane’s IGERT Bioinnovation program was her “Galapagos Island” where she is encouraged to think outside-the-box and become a well-rounded scientist and contribute to further efforts in translational medicine.
Pete has cycled, sprinted, and surfed throughout his travels as part of a military family and as an active duty Air Force Bioenvironmental Engineering technician. He eventually found himself in North Carolina where he attended UNC Wilmington and received a B.S. in Biology as well as Computer Science. His undergraduate research focused on the optimization of genomic prediction algorithms for specific genetic architectures. He also spent time aiding in the improvement of the cyberinfrastructure for the iPlant Collaborative, an NSF funded project that leverages supercomputing resources to make research in large-scale computational biology feasible. Pete came to the Bioinnovation program to explore the interface between biology and computer science, but really he's just looking for any excuse to wear a lab coat.
Asis received his B.S. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in Bioengineering with an emphasis in Rehabilitation. As an undergraduate, he conducted three years of research on medical robotics. At the University of California, San Francisco he collaborated with UCSF Children’s Hospital Pediatric Device Consorium to create a non-implantable prototype medical device for the medical condition pectus carinatum. Through this interdisciplinary collaboration he found his passion for translational research. The Bioinnovation Program at Tulane University promises to be a good fit for Asis as it combines his passion for translational research and business with his objective to make needed medical devices.
Katelynn is a Philadelphia native where she attended Drexel University for her B.S in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Biomedical devices and imaging. Her senior design team won first place for their improved suction catheter that removed particulate matter and liquid three times faster than the clinical standard. She fostered a passion for global health during her co-op in the Bwiam General Hospital in Gambia Africa, where she trained local engineers on device troubleshooting and aided nurses at the maternal health clinics. Katelynn went into industry learning downstream purification techniques at Endo Pharmaceuticals and became the Sterile Filtration Lead of a major vaccine development project at Sanofi Pasteur, where the culmination of her two years of process improvements resulted in a projected $10 Million of annual savings. Her passion for translating development projects into licensed products fits with the IGERT Bioinnovation Program’s mission to develop clinically-relevant biomedical technologies that have the potential to evolve into marketable products and she is excited to get started.
Ben grew up in the suburbs of Chicago IL and obtained his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Saint Louis University. His undergraduate research focused on hard tissue biomechanics. He spent one year studying the effect of lactic acid buffering on western painted turtle shell mechanical properties before moving to a project focused on developing testing procedures to determine the mechanical properties of mouse periosteum. The IGERT Bioinnovation program allows Ben to use his biomechanics background to forward work in the regenerative medicine field. He is also excited to explore the vibrant city and enjoy the warm weather.
Elisabet grew up in rural New Jersey until she moved to Memphis TN, where she obtained her B.S. in Biomathematics with a minor in Chemistry from Rhodes College. During her undergraduate career she spent a majority of her time working in a biochemistry and molecular biology research lab that studied protein-protein interactions involved in fungal cell wall metabolism. Additionally, she briefly worked in a biomathematics lab that modeled the effects of varying control measures on the 1878 Memphis Yellow Fever epidemic. Elisabet continues her education in the BioInnovation Program to further develop her research skills as well as learning more about business ventures.
Beenish Patel grew up in Ellicott City, Maryland, a suburb near Baltimore. She received her B.S. in Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and participated in the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. During her undergraduate years, she conducted research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center under the mentorship of Dr. Peter Kochunov, where her research focused on the development of novel neuroimaging data analysis software with an emphasis on multimodal analyses of genetic factors that are responsible for structural and functional variability in the brain. Beenish then went on to receive her M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine, where her thesis focused on neuroimaging of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss and migraine patients. After her masters, she worked briefly at Merck & Co. as an Automation Engineer in their manufacturing plant in Virginia. Having lived in both the east and west coast, she is excited to be living in New Orleans and joining Tulane University’s Bioinnovation Program, which is a prefect match for her interests in biomedical research and entrepreneurship.
Owen hails from Bainbridge Island, WA, an island suburb of Seattle. Owen received his BS in Mathematics from Tulane University and stayed on to pursue the Bioinnovation PhD after learning about the unique aspects of the program, namely the flexibility granted to students in choosing their research topic and advisor. Owen is co-advised by Drs. Ricardo Cortez in the Mathematics Department and L. Gabriel Navar in the Physiology Department at the Tulane Medical School, where Owen conducts research on mathematical modeling of kidney function and blood flow mechanics. The goal of this work is to translate findings from mathematical models to development of in vitro "kidney-on-a-chip" systems that accurately represent the mechanics of blood flow in the kidney. In Owen's free time he is the lead singer and synth player in a band called Macavoy, which gives him the opportunity to experience a very different side of this city he loves so much.
Ben comes to us from Fort Worth, TX. He earned his B.S. in Neuroscience and Biology from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA. He later returned home to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth to pursue a Masters degree in Biology. His Masters thesis focused on exploring the role of the immune system in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. His interests lie in treatment of neurodegenerative disorders through regenerative medicine and medicinal chemistry. The IGERT Bioinnovation program attracted Ben for two reasons: First, the program’s interdisciplinary approach to translational medicine, and second, the opportunities provided by the program to gain business and regulatory experience for bringing biomedical technologies out of the laboratory and into the healthcare environment.
Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Leo completed his undergraduate degree in biochemistry at Louisiana State University where he also worked as a research assistant at Pennington Biomedical Research Center looking at the effects of adenovirus-36 infection on obesity. After attending medical school for one year at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia as part of the UQ-Ochsner MD program, he decided he was too much of a lab rat and ceased MD studies in lieu of pursuing a PhD in bioengineering. It was pure luck that he came across Tulane’s Bioinnovation program so close to home - a perfect fit for his interest in translational medicine to develop treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases. Leo wants to explore how the current revolution in synthetic biology can be applied to engineering the living cell through direct genetic modification for purposes of drug development, human enhancement, and biological consumer products.
Maryl is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. She received her B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of New Orleans. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree, Maryl was accepted into the Bioscience Education and Training program which was funded by the Southeastern Louisiana Institute for Infectious Disease Research (SLIIDR) and hosted by the LSU Health Science Center in New Orleans. While in the program, she did research on Candida yeast. After completing the program, she worked as a lab technician for a forensic toxicology lab and pursued graduate studies. She received her M.S. in Microbiology from Tulane University, where she did research on sublingual influenza vaccinations. While attending Tulane, she learned about the IGERT Bioinnovation program. She was attracted to the program’s approach to translational research and its business component. Maryl ultimately wants to start her own company and she is confident that the Bioinnovation program will provide her with the necessary academic foundation, hands-on skills, and invaluable resources to do so.