Scientists

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).


Residents

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.


Research Assistant

Angela Chen

Angela joined the Steinmetz lab in January 2020. She received her B.S. in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology at UCLA in 2019, where she researched inflorescence epigenetics in plants. Her work in the Steinmetz Lab involves developing plant viral nanoparticles for anticancer therapeutics. Her interests include seal watching, going to rock concerts, and hiking.


Post-doctoral Fellows

Veronique Beiss, Ph.D.

Vero is a Postdoctoral Scholar and joined the Steinmetz lab in November 2017. She did her PhD in molecular biology and plant biotechnology on plant-derived sexual stage malaria vaccines at RWTH-Aachen in Germany. Her current focuses on the development of new nanoparticles for cancer immunotherapy. Outside the lab she enjoys traveling, exploring, music and reading tons of books.

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.

Sayoni Ray, Ph.D.

Sayoni is a jointpostdoc with Prof. Steinmetz and Prof. Pokorski; she started in May 2019. Her currentresearch focus is to develop slow release vaccination technique againstinfectious disease and cancer using viral nanoparticles. Previously, she obtained Bachelor’s degree inChemistry from the University of Calcutta, India and Master’s degree from theIndian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, India. She has earned PhD from theUniversity of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where her dissertation project focused on early tumor detection with high contrast MRI and controlled drug deliverywith online monitoring using liposomal nanoparticles. Other than research work,she spends time by reading storybooks, listening to music, watching movies andtraveling.

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.


Graduate Students

Lu Wang

Lu is a PhD Student in Biomedical Engineering who joined the Steinmetz lab in January 2018. Lu obtained her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and M.S. in Materials Science at Washington University in St. Louis, where she worked on preservation of gold nanoparticle based biosensors in Dr. Singamaneni's lab. She is interested in the immunotherapeutic applications of viral nanoparticles. In her spare time, Lu enjoys cooking, singing, traveling and exploring.

Matthew Shin

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 medicinal and polymer chemistry research. Before joining the lab, Matthew worked as a Research Assistant 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 engineering clinically-translatable, nano/micro-particle platforms for ocular drug delivery. His translational focus continues in the Steinmetz lab - engineering viral nanoparticle-based platforms for applications in cardiovascular drug delivery, molecular imaging, and theranostics. For leisure, Matthew enjoys golf, soccer, tennis, and photography. 

Torus Washington II

Torus is a Ph.D. student in Nanoengineering who joined the Steinmetz Lab in April 2019. Torus obtained his B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, where he worked on gold nanoparticle cancer therapeutics. Torus then obtained his M.S. in Nanotechnology from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, where he worked on photodynamic cancer therapy, fluorescence lifetime imaging of citrus greening treatment bacterial nanotherapeutics (ZinkicideTM), and fluorescence lifetime imaging-aided tracking of nanoparticle movement within plant vascular tissue. His current focus in the Steinmetz lab is the development of viral nanoparticles for immunotherapy and small molecule drug delivery. In his free time, Torus enjoys quality time with family & friends, watching and playing basketball or football, video games, watching TV shows, and watching movies.

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 Chung

Eric joined the Steinmetz lab in September 2019. His work focuses on using targeted viral plant nanoparticles as immunotherapeutics for cancer as well as developing new plant nanomedicines using layer-by-layer coatings. 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 soccer and basketball games, hanging out with friends, and finding delicious new restaurants.

Armando Puente

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.

Elizabeth Osota

Liz is a Ph.D. student in the Biomedical Sciences program who joined the Steinmetz lab in July 2020. Liz completed her B.S. in Applied Biotechnology at the University of Georgia, where she conducted soil science and infectious disease research. Before joining the lab, Liz worked as a Post-Baccalaureate Researcher in Dr. Valerie Gouon-Evans’s lab at Boston University’s Center for Regenerative Medicine. She split her time studying tumor-initiating cells in liver cancer and improving the engraftment of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived hepatic cells. Her research in the Steinmetz lab focuses on molecular farming of plant virus-based nanoparticles. She was awarded the T32 (CRIN San Diego Fellowship). In her free time, Liz enjoys baking breads from around the world and going to the movies.

Miguel Moreno

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.


Undergraduate Students

Aayushma Gautam

Aayushma is a third year Bioengineering: Biotechnology undergraduate at UCSD. She enjoys working in the lab and has an interest in cancer research. Her goals are to continue research and to get a PhD. In her free time, she likes painting, watching movies, listening to music and spending time with friends and families. 


Alumni

Scientists and Post-docs

Shuai Shao, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab: 10/18-05/19, current position: Professor, Hospital of Zhengzhou University

Isaac Marks, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab: 08/18-08/19, current position: Scientist, Avidity Biosciences

Chao Wang, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab: 05/17-10/19, current position: Scientist, MD Anderson

Joon Park, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab: 11/17-11/19, current position: Scientist, Biolegend

Hui Cai, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab: 06/17-03/20, current position: Assistant Professor, Sun Yet-Sen University

Andy (He) Hu, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab: 09/17-05/20, current position: Research Scientist, Department of BiologicalSystems Engineering, Virginia Tech

Graduate students

Paul L. Chariou, Ph.D.

PhD in Bioengineering Fall 2015-Winter 2020; current position: Post-doctoral Scientist, National CancerInstitute 

Undergraduate Researchers

Olivia Nguyen

Winter and Spring 2019

David Laub

Winter 2019-Winter 2020


Alumni | CWRU 

Post-doctoral Fellows

Ibrahim Yildiz, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab 2010-2012 |  Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi. 2012-present.

Jon Whitney, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab 2013-2014 | Research Associate at Case Western Reserve University, 2014-2018, Scientist at ERT imaging, Ohio, 2018-present.

Mike Bruckman, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab 2012-2015 | Scientific Director at NanoBioSystems, Ohio, 2015-2017. Head, Haima Therapeutics, Ohio, 2018-present.

Brylee Tiu, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab 2016 (1 year post-doc) | Research Associate at UC Berkeley, CA. 2017-present.

Andrzej Pitek, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab 2014-2017 | Scientist at GlaxoSmithKline - Drug Product R&D, Maryland, 2017-present.

Patricia Lam, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab 2015-2018 | Scientist at 22nd Century Group, Inc., NY, 2018-present.

Duc Le, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab 2016-2018 | Post-doctoral fellow at Radbound University, Nijmegen, Netherlands, 2018-present.

Ph.D. students

Amy Wen, Ph.D. 

Steinmetz Lab 2011-2016 | Thesis: Engineering virus-based nanoparticles for applications in drug delivery, imaging, and biotechnology. | present: Post-doctoral Technology Development fellow at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

Karin Lee, Ph.D. 

Steinmetz Lab 2011-2016 | Thesis: High aspect ratio plant virus-based carriers for cancer therapy | present: post-doctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute at NIH.

Anna Czapar, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab 2014-2017 | Thesis: Virus-based nanomaterials for cancer drug delivery | present: Medical student (MSTP, M.D. phase) at Case Western Reserve University.

Neetu Gulati, Ph.D.

Ph.D. student in Pharmacology from 2012, Co-Mentored with Phoebe Stewart (Professor of Pharmacology),  Steinmetz Lab 2014-2017 | Thesis: Characterizing and manipulating biological interactions of viruses. | present: post-doctoral fellow at NIH (NIAID).


Abner Murray, Ph.D.

Steinmetz Lab 2015-2018 | Thesis: Plant virus nanoparticle in situ cancer immunotherapies | present: Medical student (MSTP, M.D. phase) at Case Western Reserve University.

Residents and Lab Management

Ravi Patel, M.D. Ph.D., 

Resident in Radiation Oncology at University Hospitals Seidman CancerCenter | Steinmetz Lab 2016-2017. | Clinical Instructor at University of Wisconsin Madison, 2017-present.

Frank Veliz, M.S.

Lab Manager | Steinmetz Lab 2015-2018.

Master Students

Daniel Kernan, B.S./M.S.

Steinmetz Lab 2013-2016 | Thesis: Delivery of Potent Anti-MitoticChemotherapeutic Using High AspectRatio, Soft Matter Nanoparticles | present: Engineer, Epic consulting, Madison, WI.

Christina Franke, B.S./M.S.

Steinmetz Lab 2014-2017 | Thesis: Tobacco mosaic virus nanocarrier restored cisplatin efficacy in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer | present: R&D engineer with the Coronary and Structural Heart group at Medtronic in Santa Rosa, CA.

Richard Lin, M.S.

Steinmetz Lab 2015-2018 | Thesis: Combination drug delivery using plant viral nanoparticles.

Bindi Patel, M.S.

Steinmetz Lab 2016-2018 | Thesis: Plant Viral Nanoparticle-based Vaccine Targeting NY-ESO-1+ Triple Negative Breast Cancer | present: Research Assistant ay NanoBioSystems, Ohio, 2018-present.


Visiting Faculty

Peter Cigler, Ph.D.

Academy of Science of the Czech Republic | visited in 2011, 2012

Hema Masarapu, Ph.D.

Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, India | visited 2016-2017 | Fulbright Scholar

Beth Stadler, Ph.D.

University of Minnesota | visited in 2017, sabbatical.

Visiting students

Luan Africa, M.Sc. 

Ph.D. Student at Stellenbosch University, advisors: Professor Dr. Johan Burger and Dr. Hano Maree |  He visited the Steinmetz Lab in the Summer of 2015.

Herdis Bludau 

Ph.D. Student at TU Dresden in Germany, advisor: Professor Dr. Rainer Jordan | She visited the Steinmetz Lab in the Fall of 2015 under a DAAD student exchange grant.


Rebecca Hargreaves

Ph.D. Student at the University of Hull, advisor: Professor Dave Evans | She visited the Steinmetz Lab in the Fall of 2017. 

Laura Marin Caba

Laura is a PhD Student in Physical Chemistry at University of Vigo (Spain). She visited the  Steinmetz lab in the Summer of 2017.


Undergraduate students

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).


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