Graduate Student Profiles

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Bria Macklin wins NIH fellowship for work with stem-cell derived vascular cells

Today, when someone experiences heart disease—the No. 1 killer in the U.S.—surgeons often use stents and grafts to bypass the diseased blood vessels. While helpful, this approach is a temporary solution; not one that allows the vasculature to recover its function. Fourth-year PhD candidate Bria Macklin is trying to develop a more permanent approach. Her […]

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Toward more sustainable fertilizer

As fourth-year PhD candidate Michael Manto was completing his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Lehigh University, Johns Hopkins was not on his PhD radar because he mistakenly believed the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering was “all bio.” Manto’s sister, a Hopkins undergrad at the time, quickly set him straight, filling him in on […]

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Using machine learning to refine antibody structural modeling

Antibodies—antigen-binding proteins widely used as therapeutics and as research tools—represent a huge field in biological research. Second-year master’s student Xiyao Long is among those best versed in one very particular corner of antibody research, as she creates machine learning models to predict the structural classes of the antigen-binding regions of the antibodies. Long, who hails […]

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Siebel Scholar works toward new model of cancer control

In the field of cancer treatment, what if a “cure” is the wrong goal? What if, asks fourth-year PhD candidate Daniel Lewis, we focused instead on controlling the disease in much the same way we manage diabetes or high blood pressure? “If we can keep the tumor the same size and in check, it wouldn’t […]

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Keeping antibodies pure and costs down

Third-year PhD candidate Yi Li is planning a career as an industrial research scientist because she wants to help create new products to treat cancer. In her ChemBE lab, she’s laying the foundation for that future by working on an antibody purification project using self-assembling peptide nanofibers. Li, a native of China’s Shandong province who […]

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Embracing the impossible

When Gayatri Dhara came to ChemBE at Johns Hopkins, she found a whole new approach to research. A native of Hyderabad, India, Dhara earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, Hyderabad and then worked in the bioprocess division of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, also in Hyderabad. Now […]

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Getting down to the fundamentals

For an engineer who loves basic science like fourth-year PhD candidate Hao Su, the specifics of a research project are just one avenue into the heart of the matter: understanding the fundamentals behind the phenomena revealed by the investigation. Su’s current pursuits revolve around conjugating hydrophilic peptides with hydrophobic anti-cancer medicines to create new forms […]

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Both sides now: Exploring drug discovery in academia and industry

When second-year PhD candidate Natalia Majewska was completing an internship at MedImmune after her junior year of college, little did she know she’d return to the research and development company a few years later as one of the first-ever Johns Hopkins-MedImmune Scholars. The program—the first in the U.S. between a major university and a biopharmaceutical […]

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Digging deep to fight breast cancer

Hypoxia, explains second-year PhD candidate Inês Godet, is counterintuitive. While most cells die if removed from a source of oxygen, some breast cancer cells are so mutated that a lack of oxygen serves to empower them, making them more aggressive and more likely to go on the attack. Researchers know that hypoxia is related to […]

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Brain tumors present special challenges for treatment because the blood-brain barrier, the protective mechanism that keeps most substances carried by the blood from entering the brain, prevents sufficient concentrations of systemically delivered drugs from reaching the tumor site. But a hydrogel that third-year PhD candidate Rami Chakroun is working on has the potential to sidestep […]

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Photo of Quinton Smith
Student Profile


From REU to award-winning doctoral candidate

As an undergraduate at the University of New Mexico, Quinton Smith spent two summers in the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, where he worked with ChemBE faculty member Sharon Gerecht. The experience applying engineering principles to solving biological problems piqued his interest. Now Smith, a PhD candidate working in […]
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