RESEARCH & INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IRVING MEDICAL CENTER: DIABETES CENTER - ACCILI LABORATORY
September 2021 - Present
Supporting research projects focused on the pathogenesis of diabetes and the mechanisms of pancreatic beta cell disfunction.
Using FOXO1-KO beta cell lines as a model for screening drug targets.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN FRANCISCO: DIABETES CENTER - KU LABORATORY
May 2019 - August 2019
July 2020 - August 2021
Studied impact of target gene knockout or insertion on beta cell function (i.e. insulin secretion) using beta cell lines and mouse islets.
Worked on adapting a luciferase-based detection system in order to measure insulin secretion from only insulin-secreting cells successfully targeted by lentivirus (manuscript published).
Implemented the PRESTO-TANGO and GloSensor assay to validate that target agonists bind to their specific GPCR and turn on cellular signaling in an effort to assure their viability as diabetic drug targets.
Currently working to modify detection system to utilize protein barcodes as an analog for insulin secretion, and modulate numerous novel regulators of the insulin promoter in cell lines and donor islets, create a program to analyze the mass of beta cells in microscope images
Primary Skills: Western Blot, GSIS, FACs, Mice handling/maintenance/husbandry, ELISA, Assay Development, Virus Production, CRISPRi, RNAi, qPCR, ddPCR, RT-PCR, Cloning
CORNELL UNIVERSITY: MINGLIN MA LABORATORY
August 2017 - July 2020
Under the guidance of Minglin Ma, Ph.D.
Research focus: Islet cell encapsulation, optimization of biomaterial devices, and related therapeutic approaches for diabetes.
In the Minglin Ma Laboratory, I studied biomaterial strategies to treat conditions such as diabetes. Primarily, I manufactured and optimized nanofiber-based devices housing insulin-secreting cells, specifically focusing on reducing immune responses and cell-death, and enhancing glucose-correcting efficiency. Additionally, I engineered novel adhesive and glucose-responsive materials/devices. My passions for diabetes and biomaterials, inquisitiveness, and perseverance drove me to take charge of the many opportunities I was fortunate to have been given by Dr. Ma to work on these, and other projects. I eventually developed and was given my own projects, and contributed to numerous science publications.
Worked on the development of cell-containing bio-printed hydrogels, porous hydrogel scaffolds, and hydrogel-based nanofiber-enabled encapsulation devices for Type 1 Diabetes, from creating electro-spun polymer backbones for the structures, to studying methods to make hydrogels stronger and more biocompatible.
Used COMSOL to model mass transfer of chemical species across devices in order to optimize device parameters.
Attended and contributed to collaborations/meetings with Novo Nordisk Researchers.
Engineered novel hydrogel materials, with features such as adhesivity and glucose-responsivity.
Primary Skills: Electrospinning, Cell Culture, Scientific Schematics, Mouse/Fish Handling, SEM, COMSOL
CORNELL UNIVERSITY: JOHN MARCH LABORATORY
January 2019 - December 2019
Under the guidance of John March, Ph.D.
Research focus: metabolic engineering, replicating intestinal environment
Modeled Migrating Motor Complex (MMC) in small intestine using Arduino IDLE to control air pump and solenoid valves
Design and manufacture soft robotics model using 3D printed parts, wax, and silicon casting techniques
Primary Skills: 3D-printing, Arduino IDE, AutoCAD, Rapid Prototyping, MATLAB
CORNELL UNIVERSITY: ZIPFEL-WILLIAMS LABORATORY
December 2016 - May 2017
Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics lab with a focus on optical imaging and bioanalytical instrumentation.
Worked in protein purification methods in ensuring viable protein samples for experiments such as a Gates Foundation sponsored project involving the development of rapid-acting tuberculosis detection technology.
Worked with cell-culturing to express the DNA in protein which involved plating and passing, etc. Most recently, I worked with culturing U2OS cells for graduate student projects, and helped label and image the U2OS cells using TALEs
Researched the impacts of hypoxic conditions on the growth and life of SMEG, a safer TB alternative with similar characteristics.
Primary Skills: Confocal Microscopy, Protein Purification/Expression, Cell Culture
May 2018 - Present
Encellin is a biotechnology startup developing a thin-film encapsulation device for cell therapies meant to treat conditions such as type 1 diabetes. Excited by their work and eager to learn the landscape of the startup world, I became a volunteer, remote intern. I worked directly with the company's leaders, and assisted in the early process of compiling an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) to submit to the FDA, developed investor presentations, collaboration proposals, and white papers, researched comparables and milestones, built a company website, worked on the generation of computational models for the device, and provided suggestions from a patient's perspective when asked.
August 2018 - May 2019
CORNELL UNIVERSITY - TEACHING ASSISTANT, DEPARTMENT OF MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND GENETICS
Under the guidance of James Blankenship, M.Sc.
Having found a love for biochemistry in Cornell's auto-tutorial course (BIOMG 3300) and a deep appreciation for the guidance I received from the course's TAs, I was eager to return to the course as a TA myself. For two semesters, I spent two days each week working in the biochemistry learning center, where I made myself available to current students, answered their questions, and worked to help them through their confusion. In addition to explaining the material and administering and grading quizzes, I tried to provide comfort and assurance when students grew disheartened. I learned to be patient when teaching others, and to frame the lessons with positive reinforcement and encouragement.
August 2016 - July 2020
CORNELL ENGINEERING WORLD HEALTH / HEALTHTECH PROJECT TEAM
Cornell HealthTech is a project team concerned with the development of technology meant to solve health technology problems.
As an Integrative Design Engineer, I focused on the design and construction of passive components for devices/systems such as a solar heating system for refugee camps in Lebanon, and a menstrual/biomedical waste incinerator in India.
As Co-Director, I’ve led an interdisciplinary team in project acquisition/development, client communications, etc. Further, I worked with each technical sub team to produce their products, and lead a specific team working to develop an FDA form preparation tool.
August 2019 - July 2020
INDAGO is an interface meant to assist researchers in the academic and start-up settings in submitting the Investigational New Drug Application (IND).
Founded and led a team of 10 undergraduate and graduate students across numerous majors in development of website
Established collaborations with numerous Medical Institutions, worked with clinical trial coordinators and members of research oversight to develop system
COMMUNITY SERVICE AND VOLUNTEERING
August 2011 - Present
YOUTH EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM COORDINATOR
As an Empowerment Program Coordinator, I worked with the Primary School and the Junior Youth Empowerment Program to lead programs meant to strengthen students' moral & intellectual capacities through service, art, & recreation. These programs include a character building class, where I taught children virtues, self-expression, & the value of serving one's community; a race unity study for older youth, where I began a dialogue regarding learning from & uplifting the racially oppressed; a media literacy camp, which explored the cross-section of social media, self-image, & health; & a Science Club at the Primary School, where I led 2nd/3rd graders in performing engaging experiments.
June 2020 - Present
THE SUGAR SCIENCE - TECHNICAL WRITER
Eager to stay informed about the progress made in diabetes technology and research, and excited by the prospect of communicating that progress to others, I became a volunteer technical writer and designer for the(sugar)science. The(sugar)science is an interactive digital platform which connects scientists studying diabetes to facilitate collaboration and innovation. As a member of the Wovens team, I prepare posts and infographics which provide an overview of different research subjects, groups, and companies, and how they relate to diabetes. As a member of the Socials team, I've identified and interviewed numerous researchers in the field to give them the opportunity to share their work.
Summer 2020 - Present
INSULLIANCE - PROGRAM COORDINATOR AND MENTOR
Driven by my life with diabetes, I restarted Insulliance, a discontinued mentoring program in the pediatric endocrinology clinic of UCSF for children with diabetes. As head mentor, I offer emotional support, resources, advice, and coping mechanisms to address the psychosocial aspects of living with diabetes, and recruit other mentors to do the same. Through establishing a dialogue with patients, parents, physicians, and nurses, I helped create care protocols, the outcomes of which were measured through studying the patients' hba1c and blood glucose trends. When the advent of COVID-19 prevented volunteer mentors from seeing patients in the clinic, I created a virtual Insulliance program.
2018 - 2019
PHYSICIAN SHADOWING / CLINICAL PRECEPTORSHIP
John Muir Medical Center, Internal Medicine (Summer/Winter 2018) - Attended consultation for internal issues such as hypertension and heart disease.
Primary Contact: Nason Azizi, MD ((925) 939-3000)
Bass Medical Group, Gastroenterology (Summer/Winter 2018) - Observed endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures and attended pre-op and post-op consultations.
Primary Contact: Salim Shelby, MD (925 232-0090)
Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, Urology and Cardiology (Fall 2019) - Learned about needs exploration and observed operations pertaining to gynecology, urology, cardiology, and radiology.
Primary Contacts: Vineet Agrawal, MD (570-887-2845); Umashankar Ballehaninna, MD (607-257-5858)
OTHER PROJECT TEAMS
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION / CUSD - SUSTAINABILITY AND ENGINEERING INTERN
January 2017 - January 2018
As an intern, I focused on collecting heat reclamation information and calculations, and developing site designs and exhibit designs for a novel composting system/exhibit at the Smithsonian.
Project REDO partners with the Smithsonian Institute, and aims to set the Green Standard of integrative waste management for zoological parks through solutions that minimize wastefulness and maximize sustainability.
Worked on design and system design for project REDO, specifically for the development of a composting system and exhibit at the Smithsonian National Zoo.tool.
ENGINEERS WITHOUT BORDERS - SYSTEM DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT TEAM MEMBER
September 2016 - October 2017
Student-led, interdisciplinary team focused on community-driven, sustainable development projects.
Project team currently overseeing water filtration system project and the maintenance of a suspension bridge project.
Worked to help develop corporate-sponsorship packets, create business and marketing models, oversee social media marketing efforts through various websites, develop designs for team through various applications, etc.
Joining Drawings/System Design team in March 2017 to use CAD software in developing designs to be used in the systems created and projects pursued by the team
CORNELL HEALTH TECHNOLOGY PROJECT TEAM
February 2017 - June 2017
• Research team with members who have varying backgrounds in science, and a strong personal interest in the intersection of health sciences and technology.
• During the spring semester of 2017, we worked on a project that uses large (long and wide) publicly available data sets to analyze the diet and nutrition of college students.