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.

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.

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. 

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.

Taranpreet Kaur

Taranpreet is from Punjab, the northwestern state of India. She received her Bachelors and Masters in Physics from Punjab University, Chandigarh, India and her Ph.D. in Physics from SUNY Buffalo, NY. Her dissertation focused on understanding the phase behavior of multi-component self-assembling protein-RNA mixtures. Besides doing experiments, she likes singing, spending time with friends, and cooking

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.

Xiao Guo

Xiao Guo is a Masters student in BME. Xiao graduated from UCSD with a BS in BioE in 2019 and came to the east coast for his MS and PhD. He is currently working on developing novel methods for mRNA purification using the IDPs developed in the Chilkoti lab. Outside of lab Xiao loves skiing, video games and sometimes rock climbing. He's down for some fresh powder 24/7. After finishing his Masters in BME in the Chilkoti lab he joined the lab 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.

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 and currently has a focus on passively automated microfluidic devices. David loves movies, a good round of golf, cooking, and travelling to new cities.

Kat Lazar

Kat completed her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at Tufts University in Boston before moving to Duke. She is co advised by Professor Ashutosh Chilkoti and Professor Joel Collier. Outside of lab she enjoys reading, traveling, art, and dance. 

Chengyang Li

Chengyang Li is a first-year master’s student majoring in Materials Science and Engineering. Chengyang joined Duke this spring and is now working with Daria on the development of a plasmonically enhanced biosensor for point-of-care diagnostics. She likes outdoor activities like hiking, camping, swimming, and badminton. For indoor activities, Chengyang likes table tennis, dancing, cooking, and watching movies. She also has a big crush on animals, and wishes she can go to Africa in the future to do voluntary work for animal protection for two weeks or more per year!

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.

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.

Rachel Strader

Rachel grew up in South Carolina. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in 2022. She is interested in using ELPs for the delivery of immunotherapeutics. Outside of lab, she enjoys running, playing soccer, hiking, and being outdoors.

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

Stephanie Le

Stephanie is from Sanford, North Carolina and earned a BS in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She is interested in developing user friendly diagnostic tools for quick and accurate results improving the patient experience. In her free time she loves playing with her dog, Nakita, and knitting.   

Undergraduate Students

Arun Chakrabarty

Arun is an undergraduate from Chapel Hill, NC, studying Biomedical Engineering on the pre-med track with a minor in chemistry (Class of 2023). He is working with Josh on ELP-based cancer vaccine delivery. In his free time, he enjoys tennis, piano, traveling, and activities with family and friends. 

Doriz Concepcion

Doriz is an undergraduate student from Durham, North Carolina studying Electrical and Computer Engineering (Class of 2025). She is working with David Kinnamon on point-of-care diagnostic technologies. Outside of the lab, she enjoys reading, photography, and driving home every weekend to see her cat, Tuxedo.

Ethan Ong

Ethan is an undergraduate from Southern Pines, North Carolina studying Evolutionary Anthropology (Class of 2023). He is currently working with Dan Joh and Jordan on a project focused on orthopedic implants. In his free time, he enjoys triathlon, skiing, getting outdoors, and watching movies.

Joanna Peng

Joanna is an undergraduate who calls Seattle, WA home. She is studying Biomedical Engineering and Machine Learning on the pre-med track (Class of 2024). Working as a Pratt Fellow under the guidance of Cassio, she is looking at ways to improve the sensitivity of a diagnostic immunoassay for Ebola with the overall goal of bettering low-cost, point-of-care diagnosis of Ebola in low-resource settings. Beyond research, Joanna enjoys figure skating, spikeball, pickleball, and baking with friends.

Nikhil Peterson

Nikhil is an undergraduate from Nashville, Tennessee studying Biomedical Engineering with a Spanish minor on the pre-med track (Class of 2023). He is currently working with Jonathan on using ELPs for drug delivery to regulate the immune system in cancer applications. Outside of the lab, Nikhil enjoys playing tennis, traveling, and rooting for the Duke basketball team and the Tennessee Titans.

Katy Price

Katy is an undergraduate student from Greensboro, North Carolina studying Biomedical Engineering (Class of 2024). She is working with Parul on developing protein-polymer conjugates. In her free time, she enjoys reading, learning, and all things Disney.

Brooke Silverstein

Brooke is from Austin, TX and is in her Junior year. She is majoring in Chemistry with a concentration in biochem and minoring in sociology. Her previous research experience has consisted of working in Dr. Craig's material science lab. Outside of academics, she is on the duke club sailing team and volunteers with an organization called kidznotes, where she tutors inner city students who lack access to a formal arts education in violin. Brooke is working with Parul. 

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