Niroshan Anandasivam

Originally from South Texas, Niroshan is a fourth-year Bioengineering PhD candidate and NSF GRFP Fellow at UC Berkeley. He conducted his undergraduate studies in Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton University, where he spent significant time researching how the extracellular matrix environment of tumor cells impacts cancer progression and metastasis. In the Delcassian Lab at Berkeley, Niroshan conducts research at the interface of immunoengineering and mechanobiology. His current focus lies on engineering T cells to have enhanced function and improved persistence in cancer immunotherapies. Specifically, Niroshan aims to uncover how the mechanical microenvironment of T cell activation can influence T cell expansion and phenotype through adhesion receptor interactions. In his free time, Niroshan enjoys running down the Ohlone Greenway, creating ceramic pieces at the Berkeley Art Studio, and cooking his kitchen.

Joy Chen

Joy grew up in the midwest and received her B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently a rising 3rd year in the UC Berkeley – UCSF Graduate Program in Bioengineering and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. In the Sohn Lab, her research focuses on studying breast cancer and immune cell interactions using microfabricated platforms. She is interested in deciphering the questions surrounding breast cancer progression and how immune cells can be leveraged to combat it. In her free time, she enjoys to play golf, go hiking, and take care of her plants!

Taylor Thomsen

My name is Taylor Thomsen, I am a bioengineering Ph.D. student in Professor Lydia Sohn’s laboratory at UC Berkeley. I was born in Ventura, CA, and attended California State University, Long Beach where I received my B.S. in biomedical engineering. I have since completed multiple internships both in industry and academia before pursuing my doctoral degree. My current research investigates the mechanical properties of different breast cancer cell lineages. I search to advance the capabilities of our microfluidic device that performs Node-Pore-Sensing (NPS), a high throughput process to screen cells. My research is extremely rewarding as I am a first-generation college student and want to revolutionize the field of women’s healthcare. In my free time, I like to sew, cook, and roller skate.

Boyan Xu

Boyan Xu is a Ph.D candidate in Mathematics and Computational Biology at UC Berkeley and a Department of Energy Computational Sciences Graduate Fellow (DOE CSGF). He obtained his B.S. in Mathematics from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018. His research in the Krasileva Lab at UC Berkeley applies mathematical methods towards characterizing protein structures involved in plant immune systems. He is also employed at Joint Bioenergy Institute (JBEI) developing bioinformatics methods for biosynthetic gene discovery. Boyan is also a researcher in fungal agriculture and co-founder of Ashby Fungi, an urban culinary mushroom farm located in Berkeley, CA.

PS Nandini

P.S.Nandini is from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India and is passionate about advancing humanity’s approach to neurological and neuropsychiatric care by creating affordable and scalable neurotechnological solutions for brain disorders. While pursuing her undergraduate degree in Biotechnology from SASTRA University, Tamil Nadu, India, she conducted research in Alzheimer’s disease at Cornell University’s Medical College in New York City through a semester abroad scholarship. She then received the fully-funded Erasmus Mundus Scholarship from the European Union to pursue an MS in Neuroscience from Charite Universitatsmedizin-Berlin, Germany and Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands. During her MS, she looked at the interaction between neurons and glial cells in the hippocampus, and used non-invasive brain stimulation for pre-surgical planning in brain tumor patients at the Charite Hospital, Berlin. For her MS thesis, she joined a clinical trial team at Amsterdam University Medical Center, Netherlands and used brain stimulation to modulate brain plasticity in neuropsychiatric patients. As the first person in her family to pursue a PhD, she is now a part of the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Bioengineering PhD program, supported by the H2H8 Graduate Research Grant, the Quad Fellowship, J.N.Tata Endowment Scholarship and Narotam Sekhsaria Scholarship. She is pursuing her PhD under the mentorship of Dr. Edward Chang and Dr. Ankit Khambhati at UCSF as part of a clinical trial developing neurostimulation therapy for patients with treatment-resistant depression using surgically implanted sensing-enabled adaptive deep brain stimulation (DBS). She is currently working on identifying biomarkers of dysfunctional mood circuits in the brain, and developing personalized brain stimulation protocols for each patient based on these biomarkers. Outside of academics, she is the Founder and CEO of The Keni Project, a student-run organization that has so far set up 12 libraries in underprivileged schools in 4 cities in India by collecting used books from the public. She is also a student and performer of Carnatic vocal music and Veena (an endangered Indian instrument) for the past 23 and 13 years respectively. She is also a painter and artist, for which she won the National Balshree award (second highest civilian honor for the youth of India) given by the President of India.”

Grace Hu

Originally from Long Island, NY, Grace came to the Bay Area to study Material Science and Engineering for her bachelor’s degree and Computer Science for her master’s degree at Stanford University. She worked on printable batteries and flew record-breaking high altitude research balloons as team lead for the Stanford Student Space Initiative. She developed artificial intelligence tools to augment teaching ability for the global Code in Place programming course.

Grace is now a Bioengineering PhD student in the joint UC Berkeley-UCSF Graduate Program and an NDSEG research Fellow. Currently, her research focuses on programming 4D-bioprinted tissues via biomaterial mechanics and cellular self-organization. By bioprinting materials that change shape over time to achieve origami-inspired tissue folding, Grace hopes to build advanced tissue models for regenerative medicine and drug discovery.

In her free time, Grace enjoys singing with the UCSF Vocal Chords, playing board games with friends, and hiking in the Bay Area’s great outdoors!

Shiyin Lim

Shiyin is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate at U.C. Berkeley, where she studies the biomechanics and material properties of the spine. Prior to attending Cal, she earned her B.S. in Bioengineering at Santa Clara University, where she participated in Engineers Without Borders and did research at NASA Ames Research Center. This connection with NASA grew into a formal collaboration, and now her dissertation research focuses on the effects of spaceflight on the mouse spine, specifically intervertebral disc composition and joint mechanics. Shiyin is passionate about building communities, improving human health, and increasing female representation in STEM. When she’s not in the lab, Shiyin enjoys hiking, backpacking, and skiing.

Anna Ha-Yun Yoon

Ha Yun Anna Yoon received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 2019. During her undergraduate career, she worked on developing flexible, multimodal fiber for optogenetics (under Prof. Anikeeva and Prof. Seongjun Park), quantifying blood flowmetry using IV-OCT (under Prof. Brett Bouma), and developing a small, cost-efficient CP-OCT (under Prof. Gary Tearney).
Anna is now a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley with a concentration in Biomechanics and a minor in ES&T, Machine Learning, and Neuroscience. Currently, she is researching in the fields of biophotonics, neuroscience, and bioengineering. More specifically, she is working in the Ji Lab to build kHz optical microscopes and use it to study the mice primary visual cortex via simultaneous calcium and voltage imaging. Previously, she has researched in various institutions and national labs around the world including NASA, KIST (Korea), KIMM (Korea), MassGeneral Hospital, and MIT. She has taught and advised students in various engineering and biology courses at MIT and UC Berkeley. Currently, she is serving as an educational counselor at MIT.

Vivek Kamarshi

Originally from near San Jose, CA, I’m a senior undergraduate student studying Bioengineering. In past research projects, I’ve studied the impacts of the gut-brain axis on neurodegeneration in fruit flies, as well as identified cellular pathways involved in the “fusion” mechanism of the varicella zoster virus.

My current work in Iain Clark’s group at UC Berkeley focuses on developing tools to study the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), particularly its ability to evade treatment by integrating itself into a person’s DNA. The novel method I’m developing aims to rapidly find the single HIV site in an entire human genome and sequence it, bettering our understanding of how HIV persists in patients over long periods of time. I also do community service work through the student club I founded, UpInnovate at Berkeley, which builds connections between under-resourced high schools and academic labs and researchers.

After my undergraduate, I plan to pursue a PhD in the bioengineering field.

Luis Valencia

I’m Luis! I’m a PhD student in the Berkeley BioE department. I engineer microbes to produce valuable molecules such as antibiotics or fuels from plant-derived feedstocks in the Keasling lab. I have recently become interested in the possibility of using microbes to mine metals from water sources.