Biophotonics across Energy, Space and Time
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Allison Curtis (Biomedical Engineering)
Allison Curtis

Allison Curtis is a doctoral student in the Biomedical Engineering Department, advised by Professor Elliot Hui. Her research involves the development of microfabricated tools to enable precise spatio-temporal control of cell-cell signaling. In particular, she uses micropatterning techniques to shape morphogen gradients involved in early tissue development. Outside of the lab, Allison enjoys going to the beach, discovering new restaurants in Orange County and wine tasting with friends.

Tara Gallagher (Molecular Biology & Biochemistry)
Tara Gallagher

Tara Gallagher is a doctoral student in the Whiteson Lab in the Department of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry. She is investigating how microbial physiology contributes to worsening lung function in cystic fibrosis patients. By combing Ďomics based approaches (genomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics) with microcopy of clinical samples, she hopes to identify metabolic biomarkers of worsening lung disease and their sources. Specifically, she is using confocal microscopy to image microbial communities and Raman spectroscopy to identify themetabolic profiles of microbes. When Tara isnít in the lab, she enjoys reading at the beach and playing softball.

Sean Horan (Mathematics)
Sean Horan

Sean Horan is a doctoral student in the Mathematics Department and came to UCI through the gateway program in Mathematical, Computation and Systems Biology. He is advised by Dr. John Lowengrub in mathematics and Dr. Vasan Venugopalan at BLI. His research focuses on applications of Bayesian uncertainty quantification to biological processes, measurement design, and numerical approximation of solutions to the radiative transport equation for heterogenous media. In particular, he is collaborating with another graduate student in modeling electrical behavior and possible intervention techniques in the brains of epileptic patients and recovering thickness and optical properties of unknown layers of tissue using Spatial Frequency Domain Imaging. In his spare time he enjoys fencing as both a competitor and a coach, and lives with his fiancee and two cats.

Sarah Nainar (Pharmaceutical Sciences)
Sarah Nainar

Sarah Nainar is a PhD student in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences where she works in the lab of Dr. Robert Spitale. Her research is focused on developing methods to tag the cellular RNA transcriptome using bioorthogonal chemical probes. She is specifically working on using light-activated chemistry to tag RNAs that reside in particular sub-cellular compartments, and in turn to investigate how this localization profile can change as a function of cell stress and disease states. When not in the lab, Sarah enjoys hiking, traveling and trying new foods.

Richard C. Prince (Biomedical Engineering)
Richard C. Prince

Richard C. Prince is a doctoral student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UCI. Working in the laboratory of Professor Eric Potma, his work focuses on developing the microscopy capabilities of stimulated Raman Scattering. In particular, Richard works on the development of biologically inert deuterium based tags as a form of imaging contrast in order to better target compounds of interest within cells and tissue. Richard graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in College Scholars where he focused on Science Policy and Academic Physics. When not in lab, he enjoys being on or under the water paddle boarding or SCUBA diving. Richard also enjoys photography, hiking, coffee shops, and reading.

Zi Yao (Chemistry)
Zi Yao

Zi Yao is a graduate student in the Chemistry Department, where he conducts research in Prof. Jennifer Prescherís laboratory. His research focuses on expanding the bioluminescent toolkit for in vivo imaging. In particular, he aims to use organic synthesis and directed evolution to engineer novel lucfierin/luciferase pairs, and make BLI compatible in a multicomponent setting. Outside of research, Zi enjoys watch soccer and playing board games.

Mona Oumais (Chemistry-Chemical Biology)
Mona Oumais

Mona Oumais is pursuing a PhD in Chemistry-Chemical Biology track at UC Irvine, under the supervision of Prof. Andrej Luptak. Her research focuses on developing luminescence-based RNA aptamers as tools for RNA imaging in vivo, and studying RNA-RNA interactions as well. When not in the lab, Mona enjoys reading, walking on the beach, and trying out new coffee shops.

Sara Sameni (Biomedical Engineering)
Sara Sameni

Sara Sameni is a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering and current NSF BEST IGERT fellow at UCI. Her research interest is to apply biophotonics technique in neurodegenerative diseases. Her current project involves using fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) coupled with phasor analysis to analyze cellular metabolism disturbed in Huntington Disease (HD). Sara is currently co-chair of ICS Engineering DECADE (Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience). By holding and coordinating various professional and social events, she is hoping to empower woman and minorities on campus, and help them achieve their goals. Besides, she collaborates with office of access and inclusion to help increase the diversity at UCI. She has also been appointed as a graduate interconnect peer mentor twice. She is currently mentoring group of newly admitted international graduate students to acclimate to UCI graduate life. In her spare time, Sara loves going to Zumba class, cooking, and going to the beach.

Todd Thorson (Chemical Engineering)
Todd Thorson

Todd Thorson is a doctoral student studying Chemical Engineering at UCI where he conducts collaborative research under Dr. Ali Mohraz and Dr. Elliot Botvinick. His research focuses on using a new class of complex emulsion-derived hydrogels in biomedical applications. Specifically, bicontinuous interfacially jammed emulsion gels (bijels) are used as template systems to generate fully percolating, bicontinuous void/polymer phases with potential relevance in therapeutic cell delivery systems, tissue engineering scaffolds, and immuno-interfacing coatings for biomedical implants and devices. In his spare time, Todd enjoys distance running, playing guitar and piano, attending concerts, and beach bonfires.

Will Thrift (Materials Science)
Will Thrift

Will Thrift is a doctoral student in Materials Science at UCI. Advised by Dr. Regina Ragan, his research seeks the union of contemporary optical/NIR antenna design with the sub-nanometer fabrication precision afforded by self-assembly. This work yields large area small molecule biosensors with unprecedented performance and novel sensing modalities. Currently, Will is investigating an electrohydrodynamic assembly mechanism to develop a plasmonic metasurface that exhibits a strong magnetic resonance. During the remainder of his time you can find Will brewing up a new batch of beer, cooking a delicious meal, or simply vegetating on the couch.

Andrew Trinh (Biomedical Engineering)
Andrew Trinh

Andrew Trinh is a doctoral student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UCI. As a member of Prof. Michelle Digman's lab, he is interested in applying fluorescence spectroscopy techniques to monitor protein dynamics during cancer progression. Specifically, he is identifying the effects of different extracellular matrices on tumor metastasis and growth. Outside of his research, he enjoys rock climbing and photography.

Christian Crouzet (Biomedical Engineering)
Christian Crouzet

Christian is a doctoral student in the biomedical engineering department, where he conducts research at the Beckman Laser Institute under Dr. Bernard Choi. His research interests utilize the technology laser speckle imaging (LSI). In particular, Christian uses LSI to examine blood flow in the brain for applications such as microhemorrhages and cardiac arrest. Furthermore, he is building a multi-exposure speckle imaging device to minimize the effect of static contributions on the blood flow signal. Outside of research, Christian enjoys to play basketball, do Mixx Yoga, watch Netflix, and eat Chipotle.

Michael Ghijsen (Biomedical Engineering)
Michael Ghijsen

Michael Ghijsen is an MD/PhD student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering at UC Irvine. His research focuses on developing novel techniques for imaging perfusion and oxygen metabolism for application to vascular disease. In particular, Michael is working toward integrating Laser Speckle Imaging (LSI) and spatial frequency domain imaging (SFDI) in order to make measurements of blood flow more quantitative. His research is advised by Professor Bruce Tromberg. Outside of work, Michael enjoys Brazilian jiu-jitsu and playing piano.

Emon Heidari (Biomedical Engineering)
Emon Heidari

Emon Heidari is a doctoral student in Biomedical Engineering at UCI. He is working in Dr. Zhongping Chen's lab at the Beckman Laser Institute where he is developing next generation minimially invasive imaging medical devices to improve health care diagnostics. Specifically, his research is concerned with developing a methodology based on angular light scattering and optical coherence tomography to differentiate cellular phenotype present in viral or bacterial states of diseases. When hes not in the lab he would most likely be found exploring orange county with his camera documenting nature, and the city life.

Jessica Kwong (Biomedical Engineering)
Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong is a doctoral student studying Biomedical Engineering at UCI, advised by both Dr. Gultekin Gulsen and Dr. Lydia Su at the Tu and Yuen Center of Functional Onco-Imaging. She is working on using structured-light to measure the percentage of dense fibroglandular tissue, consisting of stromal and epithelial tissues, within the breast volume. This percentage is an independent risk factor for breast cancer and we aim to use this as risk screening tool. In her freetime, Jessica likes drawing, knitting and playing with dogs.

Emma Mah (Chemical Engineering)
Emma Mah

Emma Mah is pursing doctoral research in Chemical Engineering at UCI. She is currently co-advised by Dr. Albert Yee from Chemical Engineering and Dr. Michelle Digman from Biomedical Engineering. Her research focuses on studying protein dynamics (adhesion and cell migration) of mammalian cells on nanopatterned surfaces and the effects it has on phenotype and morphology. Because of her association with the Laboratory for Fluorescent Dynamics at UCI, she is able to utilizing a variety of fluorescent microscopy techniques(raster image corrleation spectroscopy: RICS, Numbers and Brightness: N&B, and super resolution microscopy) to study the organization of focal adhesion proteins and actin and their role in adhesion and migration. In addition, she is able to look at changes in the metabolic pathway (using fluorescent lifetime imaging: FLIM) of macrophages due to nanopatterned substrates and determine their phenotype. Emma's end goal is to observe the interaction of breast cancer and macrophage cells to study their contribution to metastasis. In her spare time, Emma loves going to the movie theater, drinking milk tea, and exploring new restaurants.

Kamran Ali (Biomedical Engineering)

Kamran Ali is pursuing doctoral research in Biomedical Engineering at UC Irvine while obtaining a masterís degree in Statistics. Kamran graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis in Neurobiology where he grew interested in how the developmental logic of the brain is spatially coordinated. To this end his research interests are in developing optogenetics tools to control the differentiation of stem cells optically as well as evolving new optogenetic systems for multichannel optogenetic interfaces. Outside of lab, Kamran can be found reading or doing yoga, and is currently three songs away from a respectable mixtape.

Tobias Xiao Dong (Physiology and Biophysics)

Tobias Xiao Dong is an MD/PhD student in the Cahalan lab at the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. His research is focused the role of calcium signaling in immune cell function, particularly in T cells. Utilizing the latest tools in calcium imaging and microscopy, he hopes to further understand how this important second messenger pathway regulates T cell activation and immunosuppression. Tobias is also a dancer on the hip hop teams the Prototypes and the Survey Corps, but in his free time, if he ever has any, he loves to eat and sleep.

Yosuke Kurokawa (Biomedical Engineering)

Yosuke Kurokawa is a doctoral student in Biomedical Engineering at UCI. Working in the Steven George lab, his research involves the use of cardiomyocytes derived from induced-pluripotent stem cells. Specifically, he is utilizing fluorescent lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) to assess the metabolic maturity of the stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. Outside of research, Yosuke enjoys traveling, rock climbing, and playing the guitar.

Sophia Lin (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science)

Sophia Lin is a doctoral student in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, advised by Prof. Michelle Khine, at the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests lie in engineering surface structures using simple fabrication techniques for improved biomolecule detection. She hopes to integrate developed technologies into point-of-care diagnostics with optical read out methods. She is a co-founder of A Hundred Tiny Hands, a group that develops childrenís toys in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Sophia also enjoys growing vegetables and fruits, making food, and rock climbing.

Will Porterfield (Chemistry)

Will Porterfield is a second-year graduate student in the PhD program of UC Irvine's Chemistry Department, with a focus on chemical biology and is a member of Prof. Jenn Prescher's lab. His research is focused on the development of novel imaging tools, *via* chemical synthesis and biological manipulation of the bioluminescence emitting luciferase:luciferin, enzyme:substrate pair of the firefly. Applications for these tools are focused on whole animal *in vivo* imaging of cancer metastases, immune cell function and cell contact events. To escape the lab he enjoys spending time outside, especially in the ocean or in the mountains. If the weather is poor he may be found inside brewing and/or drinking beer.

Caitlin Regan (Biomedical Engineering)

Caitlin Regan is a doctoral student in the lab of Dr Bernard Choi at Beckman Laser Institute at UCI. Her main research interest is in laser speckle imaging (LSI), in particular developing, modeling, and characterizing a new method of speckle imaging called photothermal LSI. By selectively targeting photothermal absorption by hemoglobin, this technique demonstrates the ability to resolve deeper blood vessels than traditional LSI. When she is not in the lab, Caitlin enjoys doing anything outdoors, especially hiking, swimming, and playing water polo and tennis.

Julie Hsu (Chemistry)

Julie Hsu is a doctoral student in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine under the supervision of Professor Eric Potma. Her research focuses on development of a vibrationally resonant sum frequency generation microscope that combines the ability of infrared spectroscopy to generate vibrationally resonant signals specific to each molecule with the ability of coherent nonlinear imaging to obtain fast, high resolution, and three-dimensional images. The microscope is used to help gain fundamental understanding of the structure, orientation, and function of fibrous biomolecules. When not in the lab, Julie's interests include reading, playing board games, and listening to music.

Joseph Jing (Biomedical Engineering)

Joseph Jing is a doctoral student from the Biomedical Engineering department at UCI. He is a member of Dr. Zhongping Chen's group at the Beckman Laser Institute where he works on developing endoscopic imaging techniques using Optical Coherence Tomography. His research interests include high speed volumetric mapping of human upper airways for better fluid modeling of obstructions as well as utilizing phase sensitive techniques to visualize blood flow and photoacoustic contrast. During his free time, Joe enjoys riding bike around Irvine's many different bike paths as well as playing the piano.

Joanna Laird (Molecular Biology & Biochemistry)

Joanna Laird is a third year doctoral student in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at UCI. Her research interests lie in the design of bioluminescent tools to probe cell-cell interactions at a macroscopic level to visualize tumor-immune cell contacts. Her research is advised by Prof. Jennifer Prescher. When not in lab, Joanna enjoys musical theater, both performing and watching, spending time with her friends, and playing with her puppy, Doc.

Justin Luo (Biomedical Engineering)

Justin Luo is a doctoral student in Biomedical Engineering at UCI and performs research in a biophotonics laboratory. His research interests lie in the application of laser microbeams and advanced fluorescence methods to investigate the use of laser-cell interactions to modulate signal transduction in cells. His research is co-advised by Prof. Vasan Venugopalan and Prof. Elliot Botvinick. When not labbing, Justin enjoys eating all kinds of bread and sweets, drinking coffee and tea, and listening to oldies.

Kyle Nadeau (Biomedical Engineering)

Kyle Nadeau is a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering at UCI, conducting research at the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic. His research involves the implementation of advanced spatiotemporal frequency domain techniques for high speed quantitative tissue imaging spectroscopy. Additionally, he is pursuing the use of spatial frequency domain approaches to map the structural orientation of tissue via an optical diffusion tensor, an optical analog to diffusion tensor MRI. His work is advised by Dr. Bruce Tromberg. In his spare time, Kyle enjoys playing several musical instruments, going to concerts, and enjoying a pint of craft beer at a local brewery or watering hole.Kyle Nadeau is a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering at UCI, conducting research at the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic. His research involves the implementation of advanced spatiotemporal frequency domain techniques for high speed quantitative tissue imaging spectroscopy. Additionally, he is pursuing the use of spatial frequency domain approaches to map the structural orientation of tissue via an optical diffusion tensor, an optical analog to diffusion tensor MRI. His work is advised by Dr. Bruce Tromberg. In his spare time, Kyle enjoys playing several musical instruments, going to concerts, and enjoying a pint of craft beer at a local brewery or watering hole.

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