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 fourth-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 third-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; Biotechnology Training Program Cluster Trainee

Justin is a third-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 second-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

Taylor is a first-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.

Undergraduate Students

Claire_Hillburger-bw@2x

CLAIRE HILBURGER

Undergraduate Researcher; BMES Student Design and Research Award; Northwestern BME Undergraduate Award for Research

Claire is currently a senior undergraduate student at Northwestern University studying Biomedical Engineering. She is designing new features of artificial cells, such as environmentally-triggered secretion.  

Kenneth Wang@2x

Kenneth Wang

Undergraduate Researcher; Neuroscience

Kenneth is currently a sophomore 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 sophomore 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 sophomore 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 first-year 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.

Our Alumni

  • 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