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

Assistant 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 Assistant 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

Postdoctoral Associates

Atiriya is a sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. She is researching the effects of membrane proteins on membrane mechanical properties.

Jan_Steinkuehler

Jan Steinkuehler

Postdoctoral Associate

Jan is a postdoc interested in membrane biophysics and synthetic biology. He studied medical engineering (Dipl.-Ing.) at the Technical University of Aachen and obtained is PhD in the Lab of Dr. Rumiana Dimova at the Max Planck Institute of Interfaces and Colloids in Potsdam, Germany (MPICI). He then continued to work as a postdoc with Prof. Reinhard Lipowsky in the field of bio membranes. He is now studying information flow, dissipative processes and membrane remodeling in artificial cells.

Graduate Students

Justin Peruzzi@2x

JUSTIN PERUZZI

PhD candidate in Chemical and Biological Engineering; NSF Graduate Fellow; 2020 ryan fellow

Justin is a fifth-year Chemical Engineering graduate student. He received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia, where he worked in Professor Roseanne Ford’s lab. Justin is working with cell-free expression systems and designed membranes to construct vesicles/ artificial cells with new biosensing capabilities.

Group 49@2x

TIMOTHY VU

PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering; Biotechnology Training Program Appointee (2019-2021)

Tim is a fourth-year graduate student in Biomedical Engineering. He graduated with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine and received his M.S. in Bioengineering from Rice University. He is interested in designing vesicle-based biomaterials to control lymphocytes activity.

Taylor Gunnels Headshot Full

Taylor Gunnels

PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering; NSF Graduate Fellow

Taylor is a third-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 second-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 second-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 student in Chemical and Biological Engineering; Ryan Fellow (2021-2022); NSF Graduate Fellow

Beth is a first-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 student in Biomedical Engineering; Regenerative Engineering Training Program Appointee

Mary is a first-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 student in Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences; NSF SYNBAS NATIONAL RESEARCH TRAINEE

Delfin is a first-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.

Undergraduate Students

Lucas_Sant'Anna

Lucas Sant’Anna

Undergraduate Researcher;
BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING

Lucas is currently a junior undergraduate student at Northwestern University studying Biomedical Engineering. He is interested in developing environmentally-sensitive vesicles that respond to stimuli such as biomarkers or pH, with applications in targeted drug delivery.

andre gu

andre gu

Undergraduate Researcher;
Chemical engineering & Music studies

Andre is currently a sophomore undergraduate chemical engineering and music studies student at Northwestern University. He is designing synthetic compartments that engage in encapsulated reactions based on environmental stimuli.

nina galvez update

Nina Galvez

Undergraduate Researcher;
Biomedical Engineering

Nina is currently a junior undergraduate student studying Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. She is working to develop synthetic membranes that utilize two component systems. 

Yazeed Alroogi

Yazeed Alroogi

Undergraduate Researcher; Biomedical Engineering

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

Atiriya Iyer

Atiriya Iyer

Undergraduate Researcher; Biomedical Engineering

Atiriya is a sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. She is researching the effects of membrane proteins on membrane mechanical properties.

Jessy

Jessy Gonzalez

SynBREU; Chemical Engineering (UCSB)

Jessy is a sophomore studying Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is currently investigating how changes in membrane composition affects protein folding.

Our Alumni


Graduate Students

  • Maggie Boyd – PhD (BME 2017-2022) – NEXT: Postdoctoral Associate at PhenoVista Biosciences
  • Miranda Jacobs – PhD (IBiS 2016-2022) – NEXT: Protein Scientist at Teledyne FLIR

 

Undergraduate Students

  • Anna Davis – UG Researcher, 2019-2022 – NEXT: PhD Student in Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech
  • Nora Chambers – UG Researcher, 2019-2022
  • Kenneth Wang – UG Researcher, 2018-2021 – NEXT: Clinical Research Coordinator,  the ANCHOR study
  • Claire Hilburger – UG Researcher, 2017-2020 NEXT:  PhD Student in Bioengineering at UC Berkeley
  • Summer Duffy – UG Researcher, 2019-2020
  • Jacob Brandner – REU, University of Massachusetts, Summer 2020
  • Kayla Purdy – REU, Clarkson University, Summer 2019
  • David Alex Fong – UG Researcher, 2017-2019 – NEXT: MS candidate, Northwestern University
  • Kamryn Lewis (Murphy Scholar) – UG Researcher, 2017-2018 – NEXT: UT Southwestern Medical School
  • Poonnam Srivastava – Postdoctoral Fellow April – June 2017 – NEXT: Research Scientist, Modern Meadow