Our Team

We are an interdisciplinary group of scientists that are passionate about membranes.

Our research environment brings together scientists from different backgrounds – from engineering to synthetic biology to biochemistry – to explore fundamental questions about membrane biophysics and reimagine the way we design biomaterial devices.

ABOUT THE PI

Neha Kamat

Associate Professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY
PhD University of Pennsylvania
Postdoc Harvard University and MGH
BS Rice University

NEHA’S BIO

Neha Kamat is an Associate Professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Northwestern University. She is a member of the Center of Synthetic Biology and the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute and is a preceptor with the Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences Graduate Program and the Molecular Biophysics Training Program.

The Kamat lab seeks to reimagine the way we engineer biomaterials for applications in medicine, environmental monitoring, and basic biology by using innovations and techniques in synthetic biology and applying them to biomaterial design. 

She received a BS in Bioengineering from Rice University (Advisor: Jennifer West), a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania (Advisor: Daniel Hammer), and completed her postdoctoral studies at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital (Advisor: Jack Szostak).

LAB MEMBERS

Research Staff

Eli

Eli Plunkett

Research Technologist

Eli received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, where he studied microalgal taxonomy under Dr. Robert Bell. Before joining Northwestern, he worked in clinical diagnostic facilities where he conducted COVID-19 testing for U.S. congress. He is interested in designing synthetic biosensing vesicles for use in water quality testing and environmental remediation.

Postdoctoral Associates

Carina

Carina Fedosejevs

Postdoctoral Associate

Carina is a postdoc and recently finished her PhD in the medical and biological physics lab of Prof. Matthias F. Schneider at the Technical University Dortmund. She received her M.Sc. and B.Sc in medical physics from the Technical University Dortmund as well. During her PhD she worked on the characterization of thermodynamical phase states within cellular and synthetic lipid-based membranes. Carina is interested in exploring the role of the physical state of membranes within cellular processes and diseases.

Graduate Students

Taylor Gunnels Headshot Full

Taylor Gunnels

PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering; NSF Graduate Fellow

Taylor is a fifth-year graduate student in Biomedical Engineering. He graduated with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University where he worked in Dr. Xue Han’s laboratory. Before joining Northwestern, Taylor served in the United States Air Force as a test engineer evaluating upgrades to F-15 aircraft. He is interested in designing natural and synthetic biosensing vesicles for regenerative medicine and immunotherapy applications.

Vivian updated

Vivian hu

PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering; NSF SynBAS National Research Trainee

Vivian is a fourth-year Biomedical Engineering graduate student. She received a B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh. During her undergraduate years, Vivian was a member of the Pittsburgh iGEM (International Genetically Engineering Machine) teams and completed a research internship at the National University of Singapore. Vivian is interested in using synthetic biology to design vesicles as therapeutic platforms. 

Citlayi_Villasenor

Citlayi Villasenor

PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences; Molecular Biophysics Training Program Appointee (2021-2023)

Citlayi is a fourth-year graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences (IBiS) program. She received a B.S. in Biochemistry from San Diego State University where she worked in Dr. Tom Huxford’s structural biochemistry laboratory. She is interested in studying the biophysical properties of lipid membranes and understanding their role in membrane protein folding. 

Beth DiBiase

Beth DiBiase

PhD candidate in Chemical and Biological Engineering; Ryan Fellow (2021-2022); NSF Graduate Fellow

Beth is a third-year Chemical and Biological Engineering graduate student. She received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry from Northeastern University where she conducted research in the lab of Abigail Koppes and completed 3 co-ops in the biotechnology industry. She is interested in bridging the gap between natural and synthetic vesicles to design more efficient therapeutics and vaccines.

Mary Kelly

Mary Kelly

PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering; Regenerative Engineering Training Program Appointee

Mary is a third-year Biomedical Engineering graduate student. She received a B.S. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of Colorado where she worked in Dr. Andrew Goodwin’s material science group and completed a research internship with the Biosciences Division at Argonne National Laboratory. She is working on encapsulating cell-free expression systems within hydrogels to design dynamic materials.

Delfin

Delfin Buyco

PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences; NSF SYNBAS NATIONAL RESEARCH TRAINEE

Delfin is a third-year PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences (IBiS) program. He received a B.A. in Chemistry and Linguistics (double major) from Swarthmore College before working as a research technician at the University of Pennsylvania. Delfin is interested in studying the biophysical properties of lipid membranes and understanding their role in disease.

ZS Headshot

Zach Shaver

MD/PhD student in Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences

Lariana

Lariana Cline

PhD student in biomedical engineering

Crystal

Crystal Sanchez

PhD student in biomedical engineering; NSF Graduate Fellow

Crystal is a first-year Biomedical Engineering graduate student. She received a B.S.E in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor where she worked in Dr. Eniola-Adefeso’s Cellular Adhesion and Drug Delivery Lab. Her research interests lie in leveraging synthetic biology techniques to modulate adhesion between cellular structures, with a particular focus on developing innovative therapeutic platforms.
 
Matthew

Matthew Lucia

PhD student in Chemical Engineering; GEM Fellowship (2023-2024)

Maddie

Maddie Briggs

PhD student in chemical engineering

Victoria

Victoria Ruhoff

Visiting PhD student from University of COpenhagen

Undergraduate Students

Yazeed Alroogi

Yazeed Alroogi

Undergraduate Researcher; Biomedical Engineering

Yazeed is a senior undergraduate student studying Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. He is working on designing strategies to modify cellular interactions with cell derived vesicles.

Isa

Isa Candal

Undergraduate Researcher;
Biomedical Engineering

Aiden

Aiden Linderman

Undergraduate Researcher;
Biomedical Engineering

teresa

Teresa Rojas Rodríguez

Undergraduate Researcher;
Chemical Engineering

Yiming Luo

Undergraduate Researcher;
Biomedical Engineering

Ria Palo

Undergraduate Researcher;
Biomedical Engineering

Anastasia Smirnova

Undergraduate Researcher;
Biomedical Engineering

Our Alumni

 

Postdoctoral Researchers

  • Jan Steinkuehler – Postdoctoral researcher (2020-2022) – NEXT: Professor Bio-Inspired Computation at University of Kiel

 

Graduate Students

  • Timothy Vu – PhD (BME 2018-2023) – NEXT: Postdoctoral Researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Justin Peruzzi – PhD (ChBE 2017-2023) – NEXT: Technology Development Scientist at AI Proteins
  • Miranda Jacobs – PhD (IBiS 2016-2022) – NEXT: Protein Scientist at Teledyne FLIR
  • Maggie Boyd – PhD (BME 2017-2022) – NEXT: Postdoctoral Associate at PhenoVista Biosciences

 

Undergraduate Students

  • Atirya Iyer (2022-2024)
  • Andre Gu (2021-2023); NEXT: PhD Student in Bioengineering at Stanford University 
  • Michael Olagbiyan (SynBREU 2023), University of Florida
  • *Nina Galvez (2020-2023); NEXT: medical student at Loyola University
  • *Lucas Sant’Anna (2020-2023); NEXT: PhD Student in Bioengineering at Stanford University 
  • Jessy Gonzalez (SynBREU 2022), UCSB
  • Ugochinyere Ndukwe (SynBREU 2021); NEXT: Analyst at Roivant Sciences
  • *Anna Davis (2019-2021); NEXT: PhD Student in Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology
  • *Nora Chambers (2019-2021); NEXT: medical student at University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine 
  • *Kenneth Wang (2019-2021); NEXT: medical student at The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
  • *Claire Hilburger (2017-2019); NEXT: NSF Graduate Fellow, PhD student in Bioengineering at UC Berkeley
  • Summer Duffy (2019-2020); NEXT: Staff Engineer at Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Lab
  • Jacob Brandner (summer 2019, REU); NEXT: PhD student at University of Washington
  • Kayla Purdy (summer 2018, REU); NEXT: PhD student at University of Pennsylvania
  • David Alex Fong (2017-2019); NEXT: Technical Services Specialist at Medtronic
  • *Kamryn Lewis (2017-2018); NEXT: medical student at UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • Poonnam Srivastava (Postdoctoral Fellow April – June 2017); NEXT: Research Scientist, Modern Meadow