Prof. Jamal Lewis
Jamal Lewis is an Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Davis. Prior to his professorship, Dr. Lewis was Senior Scientist at OneVax, LLC and a Post Doctoral Associate in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida, where he also received a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in 2012. Dr. Lewis completed his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Florida A&M University in 2004, and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering in 2007 from North Carolina State University. His research, educational and entrepreneurial efforts have been supported by the NIH. His honors and awards include the prestigious NIH Early Stage Investigator MIRA, Regenerative Medicine Workshop Young Faculty Award and the CMBE Journal Young Innovator Award.
Rian Harriman is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in Immunology and is a member of the Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology program. After receiving his B.S in Microbiology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Rian worked at the biotech company Crystal Bioscience where he identified and isolated monoclonal antibodies to clinically significant targets. In addition, he assisted in Crystal’s milestone accomplishment of creating the world’s first transgenic chicken capable of producing fully human antibodies. His current research focuses on designing tolerance-inducing vaccine platforms consisting of microparticles composed of bacteria-derived polysaccharides. In his spare time, Rian enjoys playing basketball, eating adventurous foods, and camping.
Deanna Diaz is a third year Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering focusing on immunoengineering. She received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a Biomedical concentration from the University of Kansas. While at KU she was involved in an NIH funded biomedical research program known as Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD). She worked in a Pharmaceutical Chemistry lab with Dr. Cory Berkland researching soluble antigen arrays for B cell detection and to anergize B cells in autoimmune diseases. Deanna's current research focuses on developing gut-derived, tolerogenic microparticles for targeting and modulation of dendritic cells in autoimmune conditions. In her spare time, Deanna enjoys doing jigsaw puzzles, making art, exercising, dancing, and traveling.
Dr. Krishna Gaddam
Dr. Krishna Gaddam is a post-doctoral researcher in the Lewis lab. He did his Masters in organic chemistry at Osmania University, India and also earned his PhD in synthetic organic chemistry from Kakatiya University. After his PhD, he worked for two-years as a post-doctoral researcher at Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia and two years as an associate scientist in pharmaceutical. Where he worked for a novel drug discovery department that engaged in the synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and small molecules used for various diseases. He is currently working on the Synthesis of novel biopolymers (polypeptides and Polysaccharides) used for autoimmune diseases. During his academic research he carried out in the development of novel methods for the synthesis of substituted heterocycles and its bioactive natural products by alkyne chemistry. He was also awarded these fellowships during his academic career; CSIR–Junior Research Fellowship, 2009-2011 • CSIR–Senior Research Fellowship, 2011-2014 • CSIR-SPM fellowship-2009 (interview only)
Allen Tu is a fourth year Immunology PhD student and a pharmacological T32 trainee. Milk tea in one hand and pipette in another and he’s good to go! He is 9 feet tall and famously breathes fire. In Dr. Lewis’ lab his ongoing research involves using a microparticle-based strategy to modulate the immune system in rheumatoid arthritis, as well as exploring the cytotoxic capacity of the polymer poly propylacrylic acid to kill cancer cells. Allen did undergraduate research at UC Davis in Scott Dawson’s lab, GFP-tagging candidate cytoskeletal proteins in the parasitic protist, Giardia lamblia. After receiving his B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, he worked in Mark Nicolls’ Pulmonary and Critical Care lab at Stanford Medicine where he cultivated his passion for immunology. Here, he studied how immune dysregulation in the context of vascular biology contributes to lung disease – specifically lung transplant rejection, pulmonary hypertension, and lymph2edema. He also enjoys video games, reading sci-fi, and playing racquetball.
Clinton Smith is a first-year Biomedical Engineering PhD student and a Herbert Wertheim Engineering Research Scholar. Clinton earned is B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology where his research entailed developing synthetic nanoparticle antibodies (SNAbs) and a biomaterial-based vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. His current research focuses on leveraging vomocytosis, a trojan horse mechanism for pathogenic dissemination, for improved drug delivery to the brain and vaccine delivery to the lymph nodes. In his spare time, Clinton enjoys playing tennis, practicing piano, and collecting vinyl records.
Kevin R. Smith
Kevin is a first year PhD student who received his bachelors in Biomedical Engineering from Alabama State University. At ASU, he worked in Dr. Dean's lab where he developed a passion for biomaterials. His undergraduate research entailed the investigation of the potential of various scaffolds composites to promote cell differentiation and proliferation. Kevin's current research involves the usage of particulate immunotherapy for modulating the immune system against autoimmune diseases. In his spare time, he enjoys playing & watching football, as well as the Olympics, listening music and watching anime.
Zhenyu Wang is a second year Master's student in Biomedical Engineering focusing on immune engineering. Zhenyu did his undergraduate research in Dr. Chengbing Yang’s lab, working on the development of antibacterial devices, where he cultivated an interest in the mechanism of the immune system. After receiving his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Shenzhen University, he decided to further his studies at the University of Florida and conducting research in Dr. Lewis’ lab. His research concentrates on the nanoparticle-based prophylactic for maternal autoantibody-related autism and the Polysaccharide A particles for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. In his spare time, Zhenyu enjoys exercising, playing basketball, and traveling.
Neeraj Senthil is a fourth year undergraduate student at UC Davis, majoring in biomedical engineering. He decided to join Dr. Lewis’ lab because he finds the intersection of immunology and biomaterials to be extremely fascinating and relevant to current challenges in drug development. Neeraj's research work focuses on understanding vomocytosis, an escape mechanism used by fungal pathogens to evade phagocytes, and developing an immunomodulatory microparticle system for rheumatoid arthritis. He was recently awarded a 2022 Goldwater Scholarship for his work in the lab. Neeraj has also explored his interest in drug development by interning at pharmaceutical companies like Genentech and CytomX Therapeutics. Outside the lab, Neeraj loves to spend his time working with children. In fact, he has spent hundreds of hours working as a martial arts instructor, tutoring, and volunteering as a teaching intern at local schools such as Willett Elementary and Holmes Junior High. In his spare time, Neeraj loves to watch movies, hang out with his friends outdoors, play sports, and eat out at different restaurants
Daniel Osorio is second year undergrad student at the University of Florida majoring in Biomedical engineering. He is passionate about research involving immunology and biomaterials. That being said he is eager to expand his knowledge to eventually pursue a career in industry. In his spare time, he enjoys going to the gym and cooking.
Patricia Arizaleta is a third year undergraduate student from Spain majoring in biomedical engineering at University of Florida. In the future she is interested in working in research centers as part of projects for the improvement and design of therapeutic treatments and instruments. In her free time she enjoys traveling, playing volleyball and spending time with her friends and family.
Rapeepat Sangsuwan, Ph.D.
Riley Allen, Ph.D.
Amir Bolandparvaz, Ph.D.
Noah Pacifici, Ph.D.
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