*cohort 1 fellows         


Derek grew up in California and obtained both his B.S. and M.S. in Bioengineering at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco. His undergraduate and graduate research focused on regenerative medicine - specifically on stem cell tissue engineering of the muscle and heart. Derek's masters training further emphasized translational medicine and understanding the regulatory processes to develop novel regenerative medical therapies from "bench to bedside." The IGERT Bioinnovation PhD program at Tulane extends his education in the innovative field of translational medicine. Distinctively, it will elucidate the mechanisms and resources he needs to succeed in expediting his research interests to the biotech market. Through Derek's IGERT training, he aims to not only be a successful scientist, but also to become well versed in advancing novel biomedical therapies from academia to industry.



Karolina is from Stamford, CT by way of the rich farmlands of Poland. She completed her Bachelor's degree in Chemistry at Smith College in 2011 where she did extensive organic chemistry research in small molecule synthesis. Karolina was able to develop her interest in medicinal chemistry through an internship at Biogen IDEC in cancer drug synthesis. After vacationing in New Orleans as an undergraduate, Karolina was smitten by the city and its charms. She is now proud to call New Orleans home, where she is currently exploring her interest in curing meats.



Nick is a New Hampshire native. He attended Drexel University, located in Philadelphia, PA, where he earned a B.S. in biomedical engineering with a concentration in biomaterials and tissue engineering. Nick is interested in pursuing regenerative medicine research. He was most attracted to the IGERT Bioinnovation Program for its research initiatives, and its crossover to business and FDA through coursework and externship opportunities.




*cohort 2 fellows         


Devon Bowser is a native of South Carolina. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Bioengineering with a specialization in biomaterials from Clemson University in May 2013. Her undergraduate research in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine focused on tissue engineered vascular grafts. She has since transitioned to working in a neural microengineering lab where her project is focused on the development of a CNS nerve-on-a-chip platform to be used in preclinical screening of drug compounds. The implementation of this type of technology in the preclinical screening stage of drug development process has the potential to decrease the cost of bringing life altering drugs to market.



David grew up in Columbus, Ohio and earned a B.S. in Biology from The Ohio State University in 2010. He then worked at The Ohio State University Medical Center in the department of Anesthesiology on phase II, III, and IV clinical trials focused on neurotoxicity of anesthetics, intraoperative medical devices, and post-surgical outcomes. This research inspired pursuit of studies in translational investigations of critical illnesses. Specifically, David plans to continue research in the areas of pharmacological interventions for improved patient outcomes and applications of novel medical technology. The Tulane IGERT Bioinnovation Program offers the opportunity to bridge research initiatives, business ventures, and regulatory understanding via an internship with the FDA.



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.




*cohort 3 fellows         


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.



Samantha was raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. She attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR and earned a B.S. in Biology in 2012 and a M.S. in Biomedical Engineering in 2014. Her master's thesis focused on the development and characterization of a whole cell breast cancer vaccine. This research sparked her interest in vaccine development, immunotherapy, and various cancer treatments. Samantha was attracted to the IGERT Bioinnovation program due to the integration of engineering and business coursework alongside invaluable hands-on experiences through the FDA internship and business competitions.



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.



Jessica is southern California native. She earned her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering with a specialization in nanotechnology from UC Irvine in 2014. Her undergraduate research focused on prevascularizing implantable three-dimensional tissues for applications in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Jessica is interested in pursuing research in translational medicine with an emphasis in cardiovascular engineering. She was drawn to Tulane’s IGERT Bioinnovation program because of the integration between research, business and regulatory processes. Through the valuable experiences and skills Jessica will gain from the program, she plans to become a successful scientist in the biomedical industry.



Daniel was born in New Orleans, LA and was raised in Beaux Bridge, LA. He graduated with a B.S. in Biological Engineering from Louisiana State University in 2014. His undergraduate research focus was in tissue engineering. Daniel has spent summers working STEM training camps for high school students in LA and FL, studying abroad in Germany, and traveling throughout the U.S. while living out of his car. The IGERT Bioinnovation program will provide the interdisciplinary training that Daniel seeks to successfully participate in translational research and venture capital. He is excited about the opportunity to live in New Orleans and play guitar as a street performer on the weekends.




*cohort 4 fellows         


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.



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.




*cohort 5 fellows         


Before coming to New Orleans Alexej spent the first 12 years of his life in the Western Siberia region of Russia, and the subsequent 12 years in Germany, where he also received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics with a philosophy minor from Technische Universität Darmstadt in 2012. He originally came to Tulane as an exchange student, fell in love with New Orleans, and stayed for his PhD education. At Tulane, Alexej completed a Master's degree in statistics in 2014, spent several years in the Mathematics PhD program, and in Spring 2017 decided to join the interdisciplinary Bioinnovation PhD Program. As part of his PhD research he is working on novel statistical and machine learning approaches for feature selection and prediction for big and high-dimensional datasets that arise from genomic and neuroimaging studies, with a particular focus on understanding how false positive findings can arise and figuring out how they can be avoided within those contexts. He has two cats and two dogs, and in his free time he likes to play music, exercise, and sharpen his skills in computer programming, data analysis and visualization.



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.



Owen hails from Bainbridge Island, Washington, an island suburb of Seattle. As an undergraduate at Tulane University, Owen majored in mathematics and conducted research in the Tulane Center for Computational Science on mathematically-modeling sperm swimming. Additionally, he was fortunate to take part in a research project in Hong Kong where he managed a project developing a logo-recognition algorithm with members from Lenovo. Owen continues his Tulane education in the BioInnovation program with the aim of using mathematical models to solve biomedical problems. He looks forward to enjoying all that New Orleans has to offer and continuing his practice in the martial arts.



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.




*cohort 6 fellows         


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.



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.




*cohort 7 fellows         


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.



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.


Bioinnovation PhD Program, 605 Lindy Boggs Bldg, New Orleans, LA 70118, (504) 865-5718,