Graduate Students



 Whitney Sinclair

Graduate Student, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interest: The increased use of nanoparticles in consumer products and therapeutic agents, and the prevalence of nanoparticles as environmental toxins increases concern about the adverse effects of nanoparticles on human health, especially the lung. Lung-on-a-chip microfluidic platforms possess the capability to mimic physiologically relevant lung tissue. The goal of my project is to use a sophisticated lung-on-a-chip platform to elucidate mechanisms of nanoparticle induced inflammation and nanoparticle migration through lung tissue.

 Brendan Sullivan

Graduate Student, Biochemistry

Research Interest: I am a first year graduate student interested in understanding the crosstalk between physical forces applied to a cell and the resultant biochemical signals generated. My past research was concentrated in the fields of biophysics, cancer biology, and immunology. As of right now, my current project is focused on how cadherin based mechanotransduction can control aspects of cell growth and global contractility through growth factor receptor mediated signaling. It has been shown that the cadherin proteins can directly couple with a variety of receptor tyrosine kinases, in particular the growth factor receptors. We are currently seeking to understand how stretching the cell/tissue can affect the association of these proteins, the global phosphorylation status of the growth factor receptor C-terminal domain, and the downstream signaling pathways involved in cell growth and contact inhibition. Future interests include investigating the interactions of adhesion molecules and RTK’s in 3-dimensional organoids to better understand their primary role in tissue/organ development.

 Gregory Schwarz

Graduate Student, Biophysics

Research Interest: I am interested in cell-cell junction forces of endothelial cells which are found in lung tissue. Mainly how cell-cell junction forces act when two cells are re-join together similar to how cell tissue re-forms during wound healing. I’m focusing on the dynamics of forces during junction recovery when cells are under different stimuli to see how such stimuli would affect wound healing.

 Roger Chan

Graduate Student, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

My research interest lies in understanding microenvironmental effects on the thermodynamics and kinetics of biomolecules. Research has shifted towards developing novel materials for stabilizing and delivery of biological materials, and fast relaxation imaging (FReI) allows for local analysis of material environmental properties that impact the function of the biologics. My focus is to investigate the stability of proteins encapsulated in alginate hydrogels, which are prevalent as biomaterials and controlled drug delivery systems.