Meet the 2023 Doctoral Fellows

Oct 24 2023

Valentina Gonzalez Andrade

Graduate Research Assistant, MR Science Lab
PI: Christoph Juchem

Valentina was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and raised in Mexico City. In 2019, she moved to the United States to pursue an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University. During her academic journey, Valentina assumed leadership roles within the Formula Racing Team and the Mexican Student Association, while at the same time discovering her profound passion for the application of engineering in healthcare through internships at leading  MedTech companies like Intuitive Surgical and Bayer, where she contributed to medical device development. This newfound passion propelled her to pursue a Master's Degree in Biomedical Engineering, with a concentration on design and innovation. Valentina has joined the MR Science Laboratory, where she will work on the design and development of novel MRI hardware. Valentina is deeply committed to championing women in STEM, leveraging technology for social impact, and building a career in medical device design. Her passion is to enhance healthcare through cutting-edge engineering.

Alma Davidson

Graduate Research Assistant, MR Science Lab
PI: Christoph Juchem

Alma is an incoming PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering department. She earned her Bachelor’s degrees from Tel Aviv University, as part of the dual degree honors program in Biomedical Engineering and in Biology with an emphasis on Neuroscience. She later completed her Master’s degree in the Biomedical Engineering department at Tel Aviv University. Alma joined the MR Science laboratory, advised by Prof. Christoph Juchem, studying clinical applications of MR in psychiatry using signal processing techniques. She has previous research experience in various research initiatives combining computational biology, imaging and brain disorders, and is excited to integrate the areas of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience in her research at Columbia University. In her free time, Alma likes to play basketball, practice Pilates and bake different kinds of pastries.


Sharifa Davis

Graduate Research Assistant, Columbia Stem Cell Initiative
PI: Stephen Tsang

Sharifa Davis graduated from Drexel University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and is originally from Long Island, NY. After graduating, she joined a Cell and Gene Therapy start-up to work in process development for AAV therapeutics. She will be joining the laboratory of Stephen Tsang, MD, PhD as an MS/PhD student in Biomedical Engineering focusing on genome engineering therapeutics to treat monogenic disorders, including retinitis pigmentosa.   In the US alone, over 30 million individuals are impacted at some point in their lives by disorders caused by mutations in a single gene.


Jiahui (Devany) Du

Graduate Research Assistant, Morphogenesis and Developmental Biomechanics Lab
PI: Nandan Nerurkar

Jiahui (Devany) is a first-year MS/PhD student at the Morphogenesis and Developmental Biomechanics Lab. Having grown up in major cities, she hails from Shanghai, China and later relocated to Los Angeles, California; she pursued her undergraduate studies in Boston, earning Bachelor's degrees in Physics and Biology from MIT. Now transitioning to New York, she embarks on her Biomedical Engineering journey at Columbia, where her work focuses on understanding how the identity and fate of stem cells are regulated in developing embryos. She feels deeply honored to be a recipient of this award!


Veronica Farag

Graduate Research Assistant, Nanotherapeutics and Stem Cell Engineering Lab
PI: Kam Leong

Veronica Farag is a first-year M.S./Ph.D. student in the Nanotherapeutics and Stem Cell Engineering Lab under the guidance of Dr. Kam Leong at Columbia University. Her research interests and experiences revolve around drug and gene delivery. She is particularly fascinated in navigating therapeutics across challenging physiological barriers, such as the blood-brain barrier. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Veronica received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers University.


Elyse Fleck

Graduate Research Assistant, Chahine Lab
PI: Nadeen Chahine

Elyse Fleck is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Nadeen Chahine’s lab, part of the Carroll Laboratories for Orthopedic Surgery. She graduated from the University of Michigan with her B.S.E. in Materials Science and Engineering and her M.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in biomaterials and regenerative medicine. During her time at Michigan, Elyse studied the ovarian cancer microenvironment via tissue engineered spheroids and before returning to graduate school, she worked under the guidance of Dr. Joseph Potkay in the Extracorporeal Life Support Lab developing microfluidic artificial lungs for respiratory support. Elyse is excited to continue her studies at Columbia where she will develop biomaterial systems that mimic the intervertebral disc to explore tissue engineering and regenerative medicine approaches for spinal injury repair.


Ryan Ramsey Hosn

Graduate Research Assistant, Nanoscale Immunoengineering Lab
PI: Santiago Correa

I am a first year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at the Correa lab working on better understanding and modulating the immune system in order to develop new Biomaterials to help in the fight against immune related diseases such as Cancer and Alzheimer's. Born to two Lebanese parents in the USA, I grew up in Gambia and continued my schooling in Spain, where I earned my Bachelors in Biomedical Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. I later completed my Masters in Bioengineering with a focus on tissue engineering at Trinity College of Dublin in Ireland, where under the tutelage of Dr. Caroline Curtin, I worked on the development of in-vitro models to study breast to bone cancer metastasis. Prior to joining Columbia, I spent two and a half years as a research assistant in the Irvine Lab at MIT where I honed my technical skills and gained valuable theoretical knowledge in immunoengineering. As I embark on my PhD journey, I am eager to apply the skills honed throughout the years under Dr. Correa's guidance and contribute to clinically translatable research.


Shiqi Hu

Graduate Research Assistant, Ultrasound and Elasticity Imaging Lab
PI: Elisa Konofagou

Shiqi grew up in Guilin, China, and completed her bachelor’s degree in physics through a collaborative education program between Beijing Normal University and the University of Manchester. She became a part of her current lab during her master’s studies. While working on the development of an automated tumor segmentation tool for multi-AM harmonic motion imaging (HMI), she discovered her profound passion for ultrasound elasticity imaging. Looking ahead, she’s dedicated to enhancing the clinical applications of HMI for breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. She is so excited to work in this field to improve people’s health by harnessing the mechanical properties of tissues. In her free time, she enjoys KPop and Jazz dancing, as well as making desserts.



Maho Koga

Graduate Research Assistant, Chahine Lab and Biomaterials and Interface Tissue Engineering Lab
PI: Nadeen Chahine and Helen Lu

Maho Koga is a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering co-advised by Dr. Nadeen Chahine (Chahine Lab) and Dr. Helen Lu (Biomaterials and Interface Tissue Engineering Laboratory). Maho is interested in pursuing research in the field of orthopedics, specially looking at tissue-engineered therapies for intervertebral disc degeneration in the spine. She obtained her B.S. in Biological Engineering and M.Eng in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University, where she previously conducted research under the supervision of Dr. Eve Donnelly for undergraduate research and Dr. Lawrence Bonassar for her Master's. She worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 2 years after graduation, and is excited to begin her PhD at Columbia University.

Lynette Xiadani Lopez

Graduate Research Assistant, Bone Bioengineering Lab
PI: Edward Guo

I am from Nogales, Mexico and I obtained my Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Engineering, specializing in bionics at the Institute of Technology of Hermosillo. My research background is in implementing nanotechnology as a tool to obtain biomaterials for bone regeneration. In my role as a graduate research assistant at the BBL, I will be focusing on clinical mechanics of bone in osteoarthritis disease. I am extremely grateful and honored to be receiving the Van C. Mow Fellowship, and I am eager to join the frontline of biomechanics research.

Artemis Margaronis

Graduate Research Assistant, Nanoscale Immunoengineering Lab
PI: Santiago Correa

Artemis is a first year MS/PhD student in the Nanoscale Immunoengineering Lab with Professor Correa, working on utilizing nanomaterials to engineer the immune system. Originally from Athens, Greece, where she spent half her life prior to moving to Bethesda, Maryland, she attended Boston University for her undergraduate studies in Biomedical Engineering. In her free time, Artemis loves to do yoga and pilates, travel, and facetime her dog, Millie. 


Elaine Nagahara

Graduate Research Assistant, Huang Lab
PI: Alice Huang

I am a first year BME MS/PhD graduate student in the Huang Lab. I am from Maryland and completed my undergraduate in Materials Science and Engineering with a concentration in Biomaterials at Johns Hopkins University. 

James Wang

Graduate Research Assistant, Nanoscale Immunoengineering Lab
PI: Santiago Correa

James is a first-year MS/PhD student in the Correa lab interested in improving understanding and efficacy of cancer immunotherapies. Graduated from UC San Diego with BS degrees in cognitive science and chemical engineering, he is excited about integrating cross-disciplinary approaches to tackling challenges in immuno-oncology. In his free time James enjoys cooking, playing the piano, and exploring new places and cuisines.


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