Sourabh Shukla, Ph.D.
Sourabh has been a member of the Steinmetz lab since 2010. His earlier work focused on evaluation of structure-function relationships of viral nanoparticles (VNP) and developing VNP-based platform technology for drug delivery and imaging applications. His current research interest lies in development of viral nanoparticles based cancer vaccines and immunotherapies. His prior post-doctoral research training was at the Bar-Ilan University, Israel (2008-2010) working on the development of nanoparticle-based anti-viral therapies. Sourabh obtained his PhD from the National Chemical Lab in Pune, India (2007).
Misha Bhatia, Ph.D.
Misha joined the Steinmetz lab as Lab Manager in September of 2021. She obtained her Master and PhD degrees from Thapar University, India. Her research was focused on the Metagenomics approach to study bacterial diversity associated with wetlands plant rhizosphere. Her post PhD work involved pre-clinical development of an oral dosage based therapeutic for sickle cell disease and other inflammatory disease processes in the pharmaceuticals industry. She also served as Consultant, Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India in Indo-Australia Biotechnology Fund (IBAF) Program. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her daughter outdoors.
Christine E. Boone, M.D., Ph.D.
Christine is an Interventional Radiology (Integrated IR/DR) Resident in the Clinician-Scientist training program at UCSD. She completed MD and PhD degrees in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she investigated in vivo perturbations of electrical activity in the hippocampus related to memory processing in a mouse model of Fragile X syndrome. Christine joined the Steinmetz Lab in 2019 as an NIH T32-pathway post-doctoral clinician-scientist trainee. Her current research focuses on developing plant virus-like particles (VLPs) as immunological adjuvants for cancer therapy. She aims to combine Interventional Radiology's strengths in minimally invasive imaging-guided disease targeting with the versatility of VLP nanotechnology to develop novel methods to treat cancer and other disorders. In her free time, Christine enjoys travel, Middle Eastern dance, surfing, and rock climbing.
Samuel Penziner, M.D.
Sam is an infectious disease fellow at UCSD interested in finding new ways to fight drug-resistant bacteria and conducts research on bacteriophages and phage therapy. He works in the labs of Robert "Chip" Schooley and David Pride but is also collaborating closely with the Steinmetz lab. He received his M.D. from NYU Medical Center in 2015 and completed his internal medicine residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2018. In his spare time Sam enjoys rock climbing, reading, pottery, and coffee.
Ted (Edward) Koellhoeffer, M.D., Ph.D.
Ted is a Diagnostic Radiology Resident in the Clinician-Scientist Scholarship Research Program (CSSRP) at UCSD. He completed his MD and PhD degrees from the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Texas at Houston, a joint dual-degree program at McGovern Medical School and MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Ted’s thesis research work investigated epigenetic molecular mechanisms of aging in microglia in the central nervous system. Ted joined the Steinmetz lab in 2020 during his first year at UCSD as part of the T32 CSSRP residency program. His current research interests include the utilization of plant viruses in immunotherapeutic treatment of cancer and other diseases. In his free time, Ted enjoys photography, going to the beach, and spending time with his family.
Mansur Ghani, MD
Mansur is an Interventional Radiology (Integrated IR/DR) Resident in the Clinician-Scientist training program at UCSD. He completed his MD at Yale School of Medicine where he investigated imaging biomarkers for treatment response in liver cancer treated with minimally-invasive, image-guided procedures. Mansur joined the Steinmetz lab in 2020 during his first year in the T32 Clinician-Scientist Radiology Residency Program through a collaborative effort with Dr. Isabel Newton to study the treatment of liver cancer with plant viruses in combination with cryoablation, an interventional radiology procedure that kills cancer cells by freezing them. Outside of the lab and his clinical work, Mansur enjoys photography, astronomy, hiking and tennis.
Krister Barkovich, M.D. Ph.D.
Krister is a Diagnostic Radiology resident in the NIH T32 clinician scientist training pathway at UCSD. He completed his MD at the UCSF School of Medicine and his PhD in Chemistry and Chemical Biology in Dr Kevan Shokat’s laboratory investigating novel chemical-genetic strategies for the inhibition of DEAD-box proteins and the mechanism of action of clinically approved CDK4/6 inhibitors. Krister joined the Steinmetz Lab in 2021. His research interests include molecular targeting of viral nanoparticles for cancer treatment and molecular imaging. Outside of the lab, Krister enjoys basketball, running, biking, and hiking.
Oscar Ortega-Rivera, Ph.D.
Oscar is a Postdoctoral Scholar and joined the Steinmetz lab at October 2018. He received his PhD in 2017 from Autonomous University of Aguascalientes (UAA) in Mexico. His thesis focuses in immunology and VLP-based cancer immunotherapy. He was a Research Associate for 3.5 years at UAA in international projects, developing VLP-plant made vaccines and therapeutics jointly with University of California Davis and Fraunhofer-IME, respectively. His current research focuses on the development of new VLP-based vaccines for the treatment of inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases. Beyond the lab duties, he enjoys hiking, traveling, watching movies, and video games.
Soo Khim Chan, Ph.D.
Soo Khim joined the Steinmetz lab as postdoctoral scholar in early February of 2019. She obtained her bachelor degree in Technology (Bioprocess) from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in 2013. Then, she continued her PhD in Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine under the guidance of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lim Theam Soon where her thesis is focused at enzyme engineering for improved substrate specificity. During her PhD, she also dealt with sensor engineering particularly DNA and paper based sensors. After completing her PhD, she worked as a postdoc researcher for few months in her PhD lab before joining Steinmetz lab. In her spare time, she enjoys studying Japanese and watching aviation related documentaries.
Christian I. Nkagna, Ph.D.
Christian is a researchPharmacist/Chemist interested in nanotechnology and formulation sciencestargeting human health. He completed his BPharm degree in 2014 at theUniversity of Kinshasa (DR Congo) and PhD in Chemistry in 2019 at RhodesUniversity (South Africa). His PhD focused on nanoscale drug delivery,exploring stimuli-responsive liposomes for controlled delivery of antimicrobialagents. Christian joined the Steinmetz lab in February 2020. His postdoc researchexplores plant viral nanoparticles as smart ‘theranostic’ platforms for targetingcancers (therapy and diagnosis). Out of the lab, Christian mostly enjoyscommunity service activities, and his own space for horror/vampire movies.
Zhongchao (Kevin) Zhao, Ph.D.
Kevin joined the Steinmetz lab as a Postdoctoral Scholar in September of 2020. He obtained his bachelor and master degrees back in China from China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing from 2007 to 2014. In August 2014, he came to US and started his PhD study in Prof. Adam Zlotnick’s lab at Indiana University. His PhD work focused on the understanding and regulating of Hepatitis B virus capsid assembly and the re-design of capsid protein and assembly pathway to create holey capsids for engineering purposes. His current research focuses on the development and engineering of CPMV viral capsids for ovarian cancer treatment. Other than research, Kevin is a big fun of sports. He likes watching NBA and NFL, also he likes playing basketball, tennis and surfing.
Adam Caparco, Ph.D.
Adam joined the Steinmetz lab in January 2021, with research focused on using plant viruses and VLPs for precision agriculture and living materials applications. Adam completed his PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology (2020) in Atlanta, GA under Profs. Julie Champion and Andreas Bommarius. His thesis work focused on enzyme immobilization and protein-inorganic material assembly. After receiving a STEM Chateaubriand Fellowship (2019), Adam also worked for several months at Genoscope in Evry, France on an enzyme discovery and metagenomics project. Prior to his thesis work, Adam studied Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UCLA (2015), where his undergraduate research focused on metabolic engineering. In his spare time, Adam enjoys ambitious cooking projects, video games, traveling, and volunteering with LGBTQ organizations.
Ivonne González Gamboa, Ph.D.
Ivonne began her postdoctoral research at Steinmetz Lab in January 2021. She has a bachelor degree in Biotechnology Engineering with a minor in Research and Innovation from Tecnológico de Monterrey (México). She later obtained a M.Sc. in Agrobiotechnology, as well as a Ph.D. in Plant Biotechnology, under the direction of Prof. Fernando Ponz at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain) in September 2017. Her graduate research involved the development of a plant viral platform for chemical and genetic functionalization of the TuMV coat protein. Then, she completed a postdoc appointment at the Álvarez-Trujillo Lab at Tecnológico de Monterrey, where she worked on developing chemically-modified viral nanoparticles (VNPs) as biomaterials for tissue regeneration. Her current project focuses on engineering VNPs for nanoAg applications and precision farming. Besides doing research, Ivonne loves teaching, singing and playing the guitar, as well as traveling and going to the movies with friends.
Jessica Fernanda Affonso de Oliveira, Ph.D.
Jessica Fernanda Affonso de Oliveira joined the Steinmetz lab as postdoctoral scholar in April of 2021. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos (UFSCar) in 2011. Then, she continued her Master and PhD degrees in Centro de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CMPEM - Brazil) under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Mateus Borba Cardoso where her research was focused at development of tailored functional nanomaterials against resistant bacteria strains (Master) and development of selective targeting nanomateriais for cancer treatment, where she worked with Hodgkin’s Lymphomas. During her PhD, she also spent one year as a Visiting Scholar at Prof. Vicent M. Rotello lab in Amherst (UMass-Amherst), where she collaborates in several different projects. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family, travel, studying other languages and watching funny Netflix shows.
Eunkyeong Jung, Ph.D.
Eunkyeong joined the Steinmetz lab in April 2021. She completed M.S. and Ph.D. in Biotechnology & nanoengineering at Jeonbuk National University (South Korea) under the direction of Prof. Dongwon Lee (in February 2021). Her Ph.D. research focused on the development of pathological stimuli-responsive theranostic polymer nanoparticles for ROS-related diseases such as thrombosis, ischemic injury, and cancer. Out of the lab, she enjoys baking, hiking, watching K-dramas, and video chatting with her family.
Jorge Leganés, Ph.D.
Jorge Leganés joined the Steinmetz Lab as a postdoc scholar in November 2021. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM, Spain) in 2014, followed by his Master in organic chemistry in 2015. He then carried out his PhD at the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM, Spain) under the supervision of Prof. Ester Vázquez, in the research topic of nanocomposite hydrogels based on carbon and inorganic nanoparticles for applications in smart drug delivery. During his PhD, he carried out his doctoral stay at the lab of Dr. Diez de Campo (University of Saarland, Germany) where he researched with light-responsive click-able hydrogels. Outside work, Jorge enjoys speaking German and English, playing the guitar, swimming, and hanging out with friends.
Sweta Karan, Ph.D.
Swetajoined the Steinmetz laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow in November 2021. Shecompleted her Ph.D. in cellular andmolecular immunology in 2021 from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi,India. Her thesis is on immunological characterization and protectiveefficacy of recombinant curli and type 1 fimbrial adhesins against Vibrio parahaemolyticus and biotechnologicalapplication of pore-forming curli protein from V. parahaemolyticus as an enhanced recombinant protein expressiontool. Before her doctoral study she has worked as a research fellow at the Generegulation laboratory at the National Institute of Immunology, Delhi, India andhas worked on recombinant protein-based vaccines against bacterial pathogens.Her current interest is in nanomedicine-based vaccine and immunotherapies.Besides lab work, Sweta likes to travel, hike, do painting and gardening.
Matthew is a Ph.D. Student in NanoEngineering who joined the Steinmetz lab in August 2018. Matthew obtained his B.S. in Chemistry in 2016 from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he conducted both medicinal and polymer chemistry research. Before joining the lab, Matthew worked as a Research Assistant studying under the mentorship of Drs. Laura Ensign and Justin Hanes in the Center for Nanomedicine at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute. His research focused on chemical engineering and pharmaceutical formulation of clinically-translatable, nano/micro-particle platforms for ocular drug delivery. His translational focus continues in the Steinmetz lab - engineering viral nanoparticle platforms at the chemical-biology interface for applications in drug and gene delivery, controlled release, and immune engineering. For leisure, Matthew enjoys golf, soccer, tennis, and photography.
Yvonne (Yifeng) Ma
Yvonne joined the Steinmetz lab in September 2019. Her current research focus is investigating the cancer cellular uptake of VLP and developing drug delivery system based on that. Yvonne received her B.S. in polymer science and engineering at Case Western Reserve University in 2019, where she worked on engineering polysaccharide derivatives for hemostasis augmentation. In her free time, she enjoy playing with her cats, listening to Kpop, and traveling.
Eric is a 4th year bioengineering Ph.D. student who joined the Steinmetz lab in September 2019. His work focuses on using targeted plant viral nanoparticles in both immunoprophylaxis and therapeutic anticancer settings with his most recent publication focused on preventing lung metastases of both breast cancer and melanoma. Nowadays, Eric has been working within the vaccine space exploring the co-delivery of antigen and adjuvant as well as expanding upon his previous work with the creation of a new cancer vaccine. He enjoys collaborations with intra-lab collaborations as well as with outside labs from UCSD, Applied Science Private University, and Mercer University. Eric received his B.S. in bioengineering at UCLA in 2018, where he researched using laser-generated shockwaves for bacterial biofilm debridement. When not in lab, Eric enjoys watching sports (soccer, football, and basketball), hanging out with friends, and finding delicious new restaurants.
Armando is a M.S. student in Bioengineering who joined the Steinmetz lab in January 2020. He is working jointly with the Pokorski lab to develop slow-release vaccine devices. He earned his B.S. in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology at UCLA in 2017. Following his studies, he worked in Dr. Robert Modlin's lab at UCLA, studying the effects of Cutibacterium acnes bacteriophages on cutaneous immune responses. Outside of lab, he likes to go to concerts and consume copious amounts of boba.
Miguel joined as a fourth year Nanoengineering undergraduate at UCSD and transitioned to be a PhD student in NanoEngineering in the Fall 2020. Miguel has a particular interest in cancer and cardiovascular research. Outside of the lab he spends his time playing baseball, video games, and spending time with his friends.
Andrea Monroy Borrego
Andrea is a Ph.D. Student in NanoEngineering, she joined the Steinmetz lab in September 2020 and obtained her B.S. in Biotechnology Engineering from Tecnológico de Monterrey, México, the same year. There she collaborated in multiple projects in the Alvarez & Trujillo Lab, specializing in the use of plant viral nanoparticles for bioprinting of dermal tissue. Andrea has collaborated in projects with Rice University on understanding autophagy of Arabidopsis thaliana, and with KAUST analyzing the effects of climate change on the red sea. Her current research focuses on engineering plant viral nanoparticles for agricultural applications. In addition, she loves rock climbing, hiking and reading batman comics.
Bryan is a NanoEngineering PhD student that joined the Steinmetz lab in the Fall of 2021. Prior to his work at UCSD, Bryan worked at Juno Therapeutics, a Bristol Myers Squibb company, where he was a lead technology development Process Engineer for the cell therapy Breyanzi. Bryan earned his M.S. in Cell, Molecular and Microbiology through a joint program between San Jose State University and Stanford University where he researched small molecule and cell therapies for skin fibrosis in the Longaker Lab. During his B.S. at Sonoma State, Bryan was an intern at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in the Kennedy lab where he studied the mTOR pathways and their relationship with longevity in collaboration with Alphabet's biotech arm Calico. In his free time Bryan enjoys playing sports (soccer, tennis, golf, hiking, swimming, surfing), spending time with his wife and two dogs, DIY projects, reading and woodworking.
Anthony received his bachelor's degree in Chemical Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. As an undergraduate researcher in Francis Research Group he worked with diblock copolymers to form micellar systems for biomedical and environmental applications. After graduating, he continued research at the National Cancer Institute as a Post Baccalaureate Fellow; where he studied proteases with activity-based probes and inhibitors, and their relationship to immunological problems and cancer. He joined the Steinmetz Research Group in September 2021, where he will be working on cancer immunotherapy using plant nanotechnology. Outside the lab he enjoys reading and writing realist fiction, afro dancing, portrait photography and geocaching.
Vanshika Agrawal is a M.S. student in NanoEngineering and completed her B.S. in the same at UCSD in June 2021. She is passionate about drug delivery targeting, immunotherapy, and theranostic approaches to treat cancer. She aims to get into the pharmaceutical industry or consulting for big pharma ﬁrms. She enjoys outdoor activities, dancing, or binging Netﬂix in her free time and traveling or going out with her friends and family when possible.
Udhaya Pooranam Venkateswaran
Udhaya Pooranam is a MS student in Nanoengineering who joined Steinmetz Lab in Fall 2021. He completed his Bachelor's in Production Engineering at PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, India. His research interest is in the use of TMGMV in precision farming and agriculture as well as in soil mobility. Outside of the lab, he enjoys photography, anime, hiking and exploring new places.
Anahid is a M.S. student in Bioengineering who joined the Steinmetz lab in 2021. She earned her B.S. degree in Bioengineering: Biotechnology from UCSD. As an undergrad she researched the spatiotemporal regulation of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) upon increased matrix stiffness in Dr. Jing Yang’s lab at Moores Cancer Center. When she is not in class or lab, Anahid enjoys painting, hiking, and spending time with her friends and family
Reca is an M.S. student in Bioengineering who joined the Steinmetz Lab in Fall 2021, where she will be working on plant nanotechnology for gene therapy applications. Reca obtained her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering in 2020 from the University of California, Davis, where she conducted mechanobiology research in Dr. Soichiro Yamada's lab to understand the relationship between force-sensing protein zyxin and gene regulation. Before joining the lab, Reca also interned in BioMarin's Gene Therapy department and Genentech's Process Engineering department. When she is not in class or lab, Reca enjoys traveling, visiting coffee and boba shops, fitness, and playing with her dog Buddy.
Andrea is a M.S. student in NanoEngineering and joined the Steinmetz lab in September 2021. She earned her B.S. in chemistry from Arizona State University in 2019, and in the following two years worked in a quality control lab for compounded veterinary pharmaceuticals. She is interested in utilizing nanotechnology to improve drug targeting/delivery and is currently researching TMV as a delivery vehicle for chemotherapy to ovarian cancer. Andrea also enjoys hiking, oil painting, cooking, and exploring new places.
Britney is a M.S. student in Nanoengineering who joined the Steinmetz lab in Fall 2021. She completed her B.S. in Nanoengineering with a minor in Biology at UC San Diego, during which she studied synthetic microfiber pollution at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Her current research area is in cancer immunotherapies and vaccines, but she is also interested in targeted drug delivery and other biomedical nanotechnology applications. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, climbing, reading, tennis and spending time with friends.
Zhuohong Wu is a Ph.D. Student in NanoEngineering who joined the Steinmetz lab in December 2021. Zhuohong completed his M.S. degree in the same department at UCSD. His prior work focused on the development of a multimodal platform based on phenolic materials for biomedical applications. When not in the lab, Zhuohong enjoys hiking and cooking with friends, listening to Cantonese songs, and reading sci-fi.
Justin is an undergraduate student in Human Biology and joined the Steinmetz Lab in Fall 2021. His research focuses on TMGMV in nanotechnology-assisted precision farming. Prior to joining the Steinmetz Lab, Justin studied the effects of immunosuppressants on nephron regeneration at Cedars-Sinai. He's passionate about social justice, especially in the healthcare setting, and currently volunteers as an EMT for the UCSD Student-Run Free clinic. Outside of his studies, he enjoys camping, traveling, going to new restaurants, and spending time with family.
Derek is an undergraduate student in Nanoengineering with a minor in Biology who joined the Steinmetz Lab in January 2022. His research focuses on the applications of plant viruses in cancer immunotherapies and vaccine development. Outside of the lab, Derek enjoys playing basketball, volleyball, spending time with friends, and finding new restaurants and dessert places.
Scientists and Post-docs
Alumni | CWRU
Residents and Lab Management
Craig D’Cruz (BME, Fall 2011, Spring 2012), Brian So (BME, Fall 2011, Spring 2012), Christine DeBaez (BME, Summer 2012), Josh Mealy (REU student from University of Pittsburgh, Summer 2011), Mary Ryan (Honors Student, University of Dayton,Summer 2011), Siji Oluwadara (REU student from Vanderbilt University, Summer2012), Sid (Sourav) Dey (BME, Spring 2011-Fall 2012), Samuel Alexander (BME,Spring 2011-Fall 2012), Nadia Ayat (BME, Fall 2010-Spring 2013), Kevin Chen (BME, Fall 2010-Spring 2013), Alice Yang (BME, Summer 2011-Spring 2013), Pooja Rambhia (Biochemistry, Summer 2012-Spring 2013, Co-mentor, Neil Greenspan, CWRU Pathology),
Matt Plecha (BME, Summer 2012-Spring 2013), Steven Hern (BME, Fall2011-Fall 2013), Mengzhi Wu (BME, Spring 2013-Spring 2014), John Kim (Biology,Summer 2014-Spring 2015), Nick DiFranco (BME, Spring 2014-Spring 2015), Lauren Randolph (BME, Fall 2011-Spring 2015), Paul Chariou (BME, Fall 2011-Spring 2015), Allen VanMeter (BME, Summer 2012-Spring 2015), Greg Hsu (Chemistry, Spring 2013-Spring 2015), Michael McBurney (BME, Spring 2013-Spring 2015), Diana Acosta (BME, Summer 2013-Spring2015), Adithy Nagarajan (BME, Fall 2013-Spring 2016), Katherine Krawiec (BME, Summer 2014-Spring 2016),
Slater Jameson (BME, Fall 2014-Spring 2016), Sarah Woods (BME, Summer 2014-Spring 2016), Jacob Schimelman (Macro, Summer 2012-Spring 2016), Bryce Stamp (BME, Fall 2014-Fall 2016), Jeffrey Shen (BME, Summer 2016-Fall 2016), Stephen Wang, (BME, Summer 2016-Fall 2016), Paul Lin (CSU, Fall 2016-Spring 2017), Ishan Singhal (Fall 2016-Spring 2017), Jing Pu (Fall 2016-Spring 2017), Xingjian (Jack) Gong (Fall 2015-Sprin 2018), Alan Dogan (Fall 2016-2018), Akshata Rudrapatna (Spring 2017-Spring 2018), Cian Desai (Fall 2017-Spring 2018), Alex Welsh (Fall 2017-Spring 2018).