My research interests lie at the intersection of mechanical and biological engineering, in which I hope to utilize engineering and design principles to solve problems in areas of medicine and global health. Some topics I am especially interested in include tissue engineering & organ regeneration, affordable diagnostics and therapeutics, microfluidics & organ-on-a-chip platforms, brain-machine interfaces, and nanotechnology.
I am also an advocate for open-source/open-access hardware and medical devices, with many of my projects aiming to democratize technology for low-resource communities.
Please see below for a summary of my major research involvements and publications since 2016.
Therapeutic Technology Design & Development Lab, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, MIT (September 2021 – present)
Working under Professor Ellen Roche, I am currently involved in developing VivoPrint, a magnetically-actuated robotic catheter for patient-specific cardiac occlusion, with the goal of stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation. My work focuses on creating a physiologically relevant benchtop circulatory flow loop that combines a biohybrid heart model with interchangeable, patient-derived appendages
Dai Group, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tsinghua University (March 2021 – August 2021)
Working under Professor Xiaochuan Dai, I researched tissue scaffold-like electronics for bio-sensing and brain-machine interfacing applications. My work involved developing an optimized delivery device for accurate and non-invasive delivery of mesh neural probes.
Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies, MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research (Sept. 2019 – May 2021)
Working under Professor Sangeeta Bhatia, I was involved in engineering low cost and non-invasive activity-based diagnostics for cancer. I helped create a deep learning model to accurately predict and generate protease cleavage sites relevant in lung cancer. I was also involved in developing activatable zymography probes (AZPs) to localize abnormal protease activity ex-vivo and analyzed RNA-seq datasets for differentially expressed genes in early-stage tumors.
Community Biotechnology Initiative, MIT Media Lab (June 2020 – Dec. 2020)
As an undergraduate researcher, I worked as an outreach coordinator for Metafluidics – an open-source repository for fluidic systems – helped optimize the design of Zappore – a low-cost electroporator for education – and assisted in the organization of the 4th annual Global Community Bio Summit, during which I was a panelist for two workshops.
Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) (June 2019 – Aug. 2019)
I was selected from a competitive applicant pool for the Singapore-MIT Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SMURF) Program, working in the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) IRG under the guidance of Prof. Jongyoon Han. I designed and prototyped an Arduino-based, low-cost precision pressure controller to drive microfluidic systems for sepsis detection, enabling for point-of-care diagnosis. For more details about the device, please see my projects page.
Niles Lab, Department of Biological Engineering, MIT (Jan 2019 – June 2019)
As an undergraduate researcher at the Niles Lab, I bioengineering malaria (P. falciparum) parasites to uncover druggable pathways via bioconversion. I characterized the activity of a heme iron-binding mutant cytochrome gene-of-interest using the synthetic gene regulation system, TetR-DOZI-aptamer, and performed drug dosage-response assays to identify new targets for drug discovery in the bioengineered parasites.
Bailey-Serres Lab, Institute for Integrative Genome Biology, UC Riverside (June 2016 – Aug. 2018)
As a high school intern, I researched rice (Oryza sativa) molecular biology to better understand the genetic mechanisms behind plant response to abiotic stress factors, with the eventual goal of crop improvement and sustainable agriculture. My research included the development of technologies to access genomic regulation in response to stress — including cell-type specific nuclei purification (INTACT) and ribosomal immunopurification (TRAP) — and the identification of novel gene and gene regulatory networks in the rice meristem after long-term flooding through genomic profiling of translatome and chromatin status. My work was awarded 4th and 3rd Place Grand Awards at the 2017 and 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).
Multiscale profiling of enzyme activity in cancer. Amini, A.P., Kirkpatrick, J.D., Wang, C.S., Jaeger, A.M., Su, S., Naranjo, S., Zhong, Q., Cabana, C.M., Jacks, T., Bhatia, S.N., Nature Communications, 2022.
Activatable zymography probes enable in situ localization of protease dysregulation in cancer
Soleimany, A.P., Kirkpatrick, J.D., Su, S., Dudani, J.S., Zhong, Q., Bekdemir, A., Bhatia, S.N.
Cancer Research, 2021