Active Members

Principal Investigator

Ashutosh Chilkoti

Alan L. Kaganov Distinguished Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering

Senior Research Scientists

Cassio Mendes Fontes

Cassio is from Belo Horizonte Brazil and has a double major in Electronic Engineering and Pharmacy/Biochemistry and a Masters in Electric Engineering. He founded and ran as CEO a GMP certified diagnostics company in Brazil with over 80 FDA approved products. He is working with Angus on some top secret research. Outside the lab he likes to lift weights, ride his PelotonTM, and hang out with his wife and dogs, Leo and Einstein.  Believe it or not, he actually prefers American football over football (soccer)!

Angus Hucknall

Senior Research Scientist

Angus develops diagnostic devices that utilizing nonfouling polymer brush surface coatings.

Soumen Saha

Soumen came from the land of Vedas. He completed his Ph.D. thesis work in CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, India. His dissertation work focused on the development of lipid nanoparticles for delivering small molecule drugs and DNA vaccines. At Chilkoti lab he explores self-assembly and phase transition of polypeptides to address multi-layered challenges of drug delivery. Apart from research, he likes to play cricket and watch movies. He is a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar and Federer.

Staff Members

Xinghai Li

Research Technician

Xinghai is a research technician working with Wenge on animal model design, drug delivery, and protein radio labels. He comes from Beijing by way of Chapel Hill where he worked in a lab at UNC-CH doing molecular biology. Xinghai enjoys Durham and Duke so far; when he's not working he likes to read, swim or perhaps play a game of Go.

Krissey Eutsey Lloyd

Lab Manager

Krissey is the lab manager.  She is originally from PA and has been working at Duke since 2004.  She spends her free time with her family, gardening, or catching up on a good book. 

Stefan Roberts

Research Scientist and Co-Founder of inSoma Bio, Stefan is working on developing biomimetic protein-based materials to solve problems in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.  When not immersed in the biotech startup world, he enjoys a casual round of disc golf and landscape photography.

Post-Doctoral Researchers

Yifan Dai

Yifan obtained his B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Case Western Reserve University. His past work focused on the development of bioanalytical chemistry for molecular analysis. In the Chilkoti lab, he will work in the interface between protein engineering and synthetic biology in collaboration with You Lab. In his free time, he enjoys reading and playing basketball.   

Sonal Deshpande

Sonal completed her Bachelors and Masters in Biotechnology from the University of Pune, India. She received her PhD from the Centre for Biomedical Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IITD), India. Her PhD dissertation was focused on optimizing nanoparticle design for drug delivery, based on the cues obtained from their interactions with cells. Outside of lab she likes to watch cricket and supernatural and sci-fi movies/TV shows.

Ali Eghtesadi

Ali attended Sharif University of Technology, doing his B.Sc in Chemistry and ultimately completed his Ph.D in Polymer Science at the University of Akron. His Ph.D. was focused on self-assembly of polyions into responsive nanostructures. Outside the lab he enjoys traveling, watching TV shows, swimming and playing volleyball.

Daniel Joh

Daniel is from Anaheim, California. He completed his MD-PhD at Duke, and did his dissertation work in Tosh’s lab in biointerface science and in-vitro diagnostics. Currently, Daniel is completing residency training in plastic surgery at Duke Hospital, and simultaneously continuing his research pursuits under Tosh’s guidance.  His research is focused on developing low-cost digital pathology platforms for clinical decision-making.

Sarah Kim

Sarah grew up near Phoenix, Arizona. She received her B.A. in Chemistry and Biology from Cornell University, and her Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University. In the Chilkoti lab, she will be designing peptides for drug delivery. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, reading, and cooking.

Yulia Shmidov

Yulia completed her bachelor's in chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Masters and PhD in Chemical engineering from Ben Gurion University of the Negev, in Israel. Her PhD dissertation was focused on developing novel dynamic hydrogels for extracellular matrix mimetics using ELP dendrimers as responsive crosslinkers. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and reading. 

Graduate Students

Damon Burrow

Damon is from St. Louis, MO and completed his undergraduate degree at William Woods University in Biology with minors in Physics and Chemistry. Damon is interested in developing and leveraging sensor-based device technology to help diagnose and treat diseases in rural and underdeveloped regions of the world. Outside of the lab Damon is a fan of basketball, especially the Duke Blue Devils, and playing and writing about golf.

Pablo Cordero

Pablo is from Costa Rica, Central America. He completed his undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering at the Costa Rican Institute of Technology and before starting his PhD at Duke, Pablo worked in the healthcare industry for about 5 years, working mainly as a transfer and sustaining engineer for surgical structural heart valves. Within the lab, he is interested in designing biomedical sensors for disease diagnostics and monitoring. In his free time, Pablo enjoys hiking, travelling, cooking and spending time with his family.

Xiao Guo

My name is Xiao Guo, a Masters student in BME. I graduated from UCSD with a BS in BioE in 2019 and came to the eastside. I'm currently working with Junseon on her project. I love skiing, video games and sometimes rock climbing. Down for some fresh powder 24/7. After finishing my Masters in BME in the Chilkoti lab I am joining in 2021 as a PhD student!

Ziwei He

Ziwei He is an M.S student in BME. Ziwei focused on drug delivery nanoparticles for cancer treatment during his undergraduate study and earned his B.Eng degree in Biomedical Engineering at Sun Yat-sen University, China. Currently, Ziwei is working with Parul and Soumen on their novel drug delivery systems. Outside the lab, Ziwei enjoys reading books of humanity, classical music, operas, ballets, and animation. 

Jacob Heggestad

Jake studied chemical engineering as an undergraduate at Northwestern University. He is interested in further developing diagnostic devices for identifying disease and enhancing patient outcomes. Outside of lab, he enjoys traveling, playing basketball, and trying out new restaurants/food.

Irene Jenkins

Irene is from Roanoke, Va. She majored in biochemistry and nanoscience at Virginia Tech and minored in chemistry. Within the Chilkoti lab she is interested in fusing immunotherapy techniques with ELP delivery to create an improved therapeutic. In her free time she enjoys exploring Durham’s expansive food scene, shooting archery, trying her luck at bingo, and dog watching.

Garrett Kelly


Garrett is developing a library of ELP fusions for the improved delivery of cancer immunotherapies. He is a Duke graduate who majored in biomedical engineering. Outside of the lab he enjoys playing the ukulele, doing puzzles, building things, playing just about any type of sport.

David Kinnamon

Before starting his PhD at Duke, David (a Dallas native) earned his BS and MS in Biomedical Engineering at UT Dallas after which he worked for two years as a Research Engineer for the University. He is interested in working on translational point-of-care diagnostic biosensors. Outside of the lab, David likes a good round a golf, a quick match of tennis, cooking, and travelling to new cities. Being from Dallas he is of course a massive Cowboys and Mavericks fan.

Jason Liu

Jason is from Hockessin, Delaware. He completed his undergrad in Duke BME, c/o 2017. He is working to develop sensitive, user-friendly, portable, economical, and portable detectors for the D4 as a part of the surface subgroup. In his free time, he likes to tinker and make things (ask what he's up to-- he always has some side project!). 

Josh Milligan

Josh completed his undergrad at NC State University, where he graduated in 2019 with a BS in Biomedical and Health Sciences Engineering.  He is interested in combining ELPs with radiotherapy for cancer therapeutics.  Outside of the lab, he enjoys running, photography, and spending time with friends and family.

Junseon Min

Junseon is from South Korea. She studied bioengineering and biomedical sciences as an undergraduate and a Master’s student. She is interested in developing protein-based biomaterials. Her goal is to utilize her knowledge and experience to make a better world in the near future. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, surfing the internet, watching sports games, eating delicious food and traveling to collect nice stamps around the world.

Max Ney

Max is from sunny Malibu, California. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2019 with a joint degree in Bioengineering and Materials Science and Engineering. He is interested in granting new material properties to ELPs through structural modifications. Outside of lab he enjoys tennis, water polo, pottery, and exploring North Carolina.

Zachary Quinn

Zach, a Long Island native, completed his undergrad in BME at Binghamton University in 2020. He is interested in creating low-cost diagnostic and treatment options for both developing and advanced healthcare settings. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, hiking, and watching the Mets.

Daria Semeniak

Daria is from Russia. She earned her undergraduate and Master's degrees in biomedical engineering at the Ural Federal University. She came to the U.S. in 2015 as a Fulbright scholar and obtained her second Master's in BME at the University of Arkansas. Now, she is pursuing her Ph.D. in Chilkoti's lab and working on point-of-care diagnostic devices. Outside of the lab, she loves snowboarding, traveling, and reading. 

Dan Shapiro

Daniel Shapiro is from Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Yale University in 2018 with a double major in Physics and Molecular Biology. At Yale, he worked on making E. coli produce conductive protein wires with professors Farren Isaacs and Nikhil Malvankar. In the Chilkoti lab Daniel has has found himself in the field of intracellular phase separation, trying to get proteins and RNA to clump together with the eventual goals of gene regulation or mRNA delivery. Outside of lab, Daniel enjoys playing funk with his band, Feels on Hicks St., skiing, cooking, and hopes to become more ~outdoorsy~ while in North Carolina.

Parul Sirohi

Parul came to the lab from India. She majored in chemistry from University of Delhi and earned her master's degree also in chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. She is interested in development of protein-polymer conjugates to give a potential treatment therapy for cancer. In her free time, she enjoys playing badminton and watching movies/TV shows on Netflix.

Jonathan Su

Jonathan is from Portland, OR and studied bioengineering at Oregon State University. He is interested in ELP depots for drug delivery in cancer applications. Outside of the lab, he enjoys cooking, travelling, hiking, camping, disc golf, and playing violin.

Anastasia Varanko

Anya studied Biological Engineering as an undergraduate at Cornell University. She is interested in using ELPs for the delivery of drugs and therapeutic proteins. Outside of lab, she enjoys dancing, hiking, cooking and exploring new places with friends.

Research Technicians

Rhett Britton

Rhett is from Nashville, Tennessee, and earned his B.E. in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University in 2020. His undergraduate research included projects in structural biology and microfluidics. In the Chilkoti lab, he is working on developing the D4 assay. He has a long-term interest in technologies that directly benefit low-resource settings around the globe. Outside of the lab, Rhett loves to travel, hike, play piano and ukulele, and cheer on the Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans.

Jordan Brooks

Jordan earned a BS and MS in mechanical engineering at NC State University.  He has joined the lab as a research associate, and is interested in the D4’s potential to diagnose diseases for those who cannot access current diagnostic equipment.  In his free time, he enjoys church, rock climbing, classical guitar, piano composition, and board games.

Satyam Rajput

Satyam comes from a city called Jabalpur in Central India. He has a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from VIT University, Vellore and a Masters in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station. He is interested in the development and commercialization of medical devices and drug delivery systems, in general; and is currently working towards the development of the D4 assay platform in the lab. He wants to clear the air about the ongoing rumors that he joined Duke because of the Blue Devils basketball team rather than pursuing research, but doesn't understand why people do not believe him. 

Undergraduate Students

Jarrett Dobbins

Jarrett is an undergraduate student from Hickory, North Carolina studying Biomedical Engineering on the pre-med track (Class of 2022). He is working with Garrett on developing a cancer vaccine using  heat-responsive biopolymers. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, camping, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with friends.

Simone Wall

Simone is an undergraduate student from Chicago, Illinois studying Biomedical Engineering and Dance (Class of 2022). She is currently working with Jacob and Daniel on the D4 immunoassay. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and spending time with friends.

James Zheng

James is an undergraduate from Fort Collins, Colorado double majoring in Biomedical and Electrical/Computer Engineering (Class of 2023). He is currently working with Max on applying modifications to intrinsically disordered proteins to elicit new, useful material properties. Outside of the lab, he enjoys hiking, maintaining an amateur VSCO page, and having interesting conversations with friends and strangers alike.  James is working on developing a molecular “AND” switch using amyloid-like RIPK1-RIPK3 ELP modifications