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

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

Miranda Jacobs@2x

MIRANDA JACOBS

PhD candidate in IBiS; AHA Predoctoral Fellow; Molecular Biophysics Training Program Appointee (2018-2020)

Miranda is currently a fifth-year IBiS student who is interested in biophysics and biochemistry. She received a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago where she conducted research in the labs of Dr. Oscar Colamonici and Dr. John P. O’Bryan. Miranda is currently studying how the mechanical properties of membranes affect biological processes like membrane protein folding and membrane protein activity. 

Maggie Boyd@2x

MAGGIE BOYD

PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering; NDSEG Fellow; Molecular Biophysics Training Program Appointee (2018-19);

Maggie is currently a fourth-year graduate student in Biomedical Engineering who is interested in biophysics and biomaterials. She graduated with a B.A. in Physics and a B.S. in Human Biology from the University of Montana, where she worked in the labs of Dr. David Macaluso and Dr. Matthew Herron. Maggie is designing membrane-based sensors to measure a variety of environmental signals ranging from mechanical forces to small molecules.

Justin Peruzzi@2x

JUSTIN PERUZZI

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

Justin is a fourth-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 WU

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

Tim is a third-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 student in Biomedical Engineering; NSF Graduate Fellow

Taylor is a second-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

Vivian hu

PhD student in Biomedical Engineering

Vivian is a first-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. 

Undergraduate Students

Kenneth Wang@2x

Kenneth Wang

Undergraduate Researcher; Neuroscience

Kenneth is currently a senior undergraduate student at Northwestern University studying Neuroscience. He is using model membranes to explore the effect of membrane composition on membrane biophysical behaviors.

Nora Chambers@2x

Nora Chambers

Undergraduate Researcher; Biomedical Engineering

Nora is currently a senior undergraduate biomedical engineering student at Northwestern University. She is designing membrane-based biosensors to detect environmental analytes.

Anna_Davis_cr

Anna Davis

Undergraduate Researcher; Biomedical Engineering

Anna is currently a junior undergraduate student at Northwestern University studying Biomedical Engineering. She is designing membrane-based biosensors to detect environmental analytes.

Lucas_Sant'Anna

Lucas Sant’Anna

Undergraduate Researcher;
BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING

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

Our Alumni

  • 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