Aishani Saxena

I am a Molecular and Cellular Biology and Mathematics major with a minor in Data Science. I am from a small suburb of Kansas City. My hobbies include dancing, reading mystery novels, cooking new foods, and driving!

Xiaopei Chen

I’m Xiaopei Chen, a junior at UC Berkeley, majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology and minoring in Gender and Women’s Studies. I am currently a participant in the Clark Lab within the Bioengineering Department. Working with postdoc mentor Seung Won Shin, my focus centers on the optimization of single-cell sequencing workflows. Our current endeavor aims to develop single-cell reaction compartments that allows for more complex PCR processes, such as Overlap Extension PCR and Near Full-Length PCR. We hope to provide researchers with accessible molecular toolkits, empowering them to unravel intricate biological queries. Aside from academics, I enjoy doing urban and portrait photography.

Amanda Isabel Meriwether

Amanda was born, raised, and educated in Austin, Texas. She went to The University of Texas at Austin (UT), where she earned a BA in Plan II Honors and a BS in Biomedical Engineering. At UT, her work focused on exploring the relationship between motivation and stress in engineering undergraduate students. She also helped develop and validate targeted drug delivery systems.

A PhD candidate in the UCSF-UC Berkeley Joint PhD Program in Bioengineering, Amanda is now wrapping up her work in Professor Dan Fletcher’s lab at UC Berkeley. Her research is at the intersection of CRISPR-Cas and viruses: she is engineering new viral-based vectors to deliver gene editing tools and developing CRISPR-Cas-based assays to detect viruses.

When not in lab, Amanda can be found in her garden, observing the beauty of nature and deciding what to plant next.

Daryl Lawrence

I am a PhD candidate in the UC Berkeley – UCSF Joint Bioengineering Program. My lab and I develop personalized bioelectronic therapies for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) patients who are implanted with neurostimulators. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is such a rich and exciting field. Briefly, it involves supplying a specific part of the brain with current in a controlled manner to resolve underlying symptoms, such as tremor or dyskinesia in PD. I develop machine learning models that predict PD symptom severity using data recorded with wearables and implantable microelectrode arrays. These models are then used to administer customized treatments to each PD patient. In my free time, I enjoy kayaking, playing the piano, hiking and playing racket games, such as badminton and pickleball.

Pooja Kathail

Pooja is a fourth year PhD student in Computational Biology advised by Dr. Nilah Ioannidis and Dr. Jimmie Ye (UCSF). Before coming to Berkeley, Pooja worked at Datavant, where she led a software engineering team building products to connect healthcare data. Pooja completed her undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Columbia University. Pooja’s research involves developing and applying machine learning methods to predict the effect of genetic variants on molecular phenotypes and disease.

Ilina Bhaya-Grossman

Ilina grew up in Sunnyvale, CA in the Bay Area and pursued an undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Cognitive Science at UC Berkeley. She is currently a graduate student in the joint UCSF-UC Berkeley Bioengineering program in Dr. Edward Chang’s Laboratory, broadly interested in understanding the complex neural dynamics that allow humans to perceive speech and language. She has worked on two primary research projects, one describing the neural representation of vowels in the auditory cortex, and the other focused on understanding the effects of long-term language experience on the neural representation of phoneme and phoneme sequence structure. Outside of the lab, Ilina enjoys experimenting with new recipes, backpacking, and drawing. 

Siddharth Marathe

Siddharth, a Bay Area native, is a senior majoring in Bioengineering and Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS). He is currently conducting clinical neuroscience/neurology research in Dr. Jon Kleen’s Lab at UCSF studying epilepsy and semantic memory. Previously, he was a research assistant in Dr. Michael Rosenblum’s Lab investigating the role of regulatory T-cells in tumor microenvironments. In the past, he has also worked on biomechanics research in the UC Berkeley Biomechanics Lab studying strain and load dynamics on annulus fibrosus cells in the spine. In the future, he hopes to work on developing new therapies leveraging computational and genomic approaches. In his free time, Siddharth loves watching and playing sports, trying new foods, and hiking.

Jessica H. Ortiz

Jessica’s research interests broadly lie in the field of tissue engineering and mechanotransduction of stem cells. Now as a Ph.D. student and NIH T32 Predoctoral Fellow in the Bioengineering Joint Program of UC Berkeley and UCSF, she studies the immunoregulatory properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in the Sohn laboratory. Her research is specifically focused on exploring the intricate interplay between biophysical cues and immunomodulatory effects of MSCs. By unraveling these complex mechanisms, Jessica hopes to provide insight into the development of potential therapeutic interventions or treatments for immune-related diseases under the supervision of Dr. Lydia Sohn.

Carlos Ng Pitti

Carlos is from Panama City, Panama and he is a currently a PhD candidate in the UCSF-UC Berkeley Joint PhD Program in Bioengineering. Carlos received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago where he worked at developing microfluidic systems for the isolation of circulating tumor cells and characterizing bubble removal systems. Following graduation, Carlos worked at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University where he developed a scalable fabrication method for microfluidic organ-on-chips and contributed identifying mechanisms to chemically induce a state of biostasis.
In the Fletcher Lab at Berkeley, Carlos current research involves developing CRISPR-based diagnostics platforms for infectious diseases such as SARS-CoV-2, HIV and lymphatic filariasis. In his free time, Carlos enjoys riding his road bike through the Berkeley hills, playing soccer, and going out for salsa dancing.

Stephanie Brener

Stephanie Brener is a Bioengineering PhD student with an MSc in Computational Neuroscience from the Weizmann Institute and a BSc in Bioengineering from Rice University. In her MSc, she used machine learning and deep learning to leverage electronic olfaction for human biometric identification from ear odor. In her PhD, she is investigating mechanisms of apathy in the brain of Parkinsonian patients and identifying adaptive deep brain stimulation protocols that could help ameliorate those behavioral symptoms. Outside of the lab, Stephanie pursues artistic and musical endeavors through fiber arts and crochet, painting, dancing, playing violin in a symphony orchestra, and arranging musical compositions for a cappella. She loves growing her rock collection, taking care of her plants, and expressing herself through music.