Commercialization Academy Interns

Commercialization Academy Interns


Alexis Pena Alexis Peña

Alexis Peña is a PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering program at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Whiting School of Engineering. Her work in the lab of Dr. Elisseeff involves harnessing biomaterials and the immune system for regenerative medicine. Outside of lab, Alexis commits time to service. She is a current PTech mentor at Dunbar High School and an active mentor in Brotherhood Alliance for Science and Education (B.A.S.E.) a high school mentorship program through the School of Medicine.

Current Training: JHU SOM and WSE Biomedical Engineering

Faculty Mentor: Jennifer Elisseeff, PhD, Wilmer Eye Institute and Biomedical Engineering, Translational Tissue Engineering Center, Board of Maryland’s Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO)

Favorite Quote: ” I come as one, but stand as 10,000.” – Maya Angelou


Andrew JinAndrew Jin

Andrew Jin is a senior undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Andrew currently does research on creating an ionic neurological interface under Dr. Gene Fridman. Andrew is also involved in a design team, which aims to create a cheap, portable pupillometer in order to measure patient sleepiness. Outside of class, Andrew enjoys baking, hiking, and playing badminton.

Current Training: WSE Undergrad – Biomedical Engineering

Favorite Quote: “They say the secret of success is being at the right place at the right time, but since you never know when the right time is going to be, I figure the trick is to find the right place and just hang around” – Bill Watterson​


Anish ThyagarajanAnish Thyagarajan

Raised in Indiana, Anish is currently a rising junior studying Biomedical Engineering and with a secondary focus in Entrepreneurial Management. He has been involved in Alzheimer’s Research with a specific study on the GILZ peptide as a possible use for dementia related disorders. He has also created and presented a pitch deck for this idea under his lab PI to potential investors. His involvement in not only research but also in the commercialization of the product has stimulated his interest in the bridging the gap from research to market. Anish is the president of the Financial Analyst Club, a Vice President for JHU’s Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Club, and is an active member in many other clubs on campus.

Current Training: Biomedical Engineering

Favorite Quote: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison


Ashley N. StewartAshley N. Stewart

Ashley N. Stewart is a PhD candidate in the Cellular and Molecular Physiology program at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her work in the lab of Dr. William Wong involves elucidating the roles and regulation of novel secreted proteins that regulate carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in mammalian systems. Throughout her studies, Ashley has also committed her time to helping promote and support a diverse and inclusive culture on the Johns Hopkins campus through her leadership in activities and organizations that support underrepresented minority graduate students.

By building business experience and knowledge of the biotech industry during her time at JHTV, in combination with her scientific understanding and team leadership skills, Ashley aims to ensure the success of innovative biotechnology ventures throughout a career in business development.

Current Training: JHU SOM PhD- Cellular and Molecular Physiology

Faculty Mentor: G. William Wong, PhD

Favorite Quote: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – President Barack Obama


Brian GibbsBrian Gibbs

Brian Gibbs is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology. He completed his Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studied genetic mutations recovered from a large scale forward genetic screen in mice to identify genes involved in causing congenital heart defects. Currently, he is using in vivo mouse models and in vitro embryonic stem cell lines to understand Hedgehog signaling on cardiac progenitor cells proliferation and renewal during heart development.

Current Training: SOM Post-Doc-Cardiology

Faculty Mentor: Chulan Kwon, M.D, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Cardiovascular

Favorite Quote: “Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.” – Jonas Salk


Calvin ChangCalvin Chang

Calvin Chang is a 4th year PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Whiting School of Engineering. His work in Dr. Hai-Quan Mao’s lab focuses on using nanofiber-hydrogel scaffolds in conjunction with stem cells for treating soft tissue defects in order to promote natural tissue regeneration. He is interested in bridging the gap between bioengineering and consumer technologies to enable widespread understanding and usage of modern biotechnologies.

Current Training: JHU SOM and WSE Biomedical Engineering

Faculty Mentor: Hai-Quan Mao, Institute for NanoBioTechnology, Materials Science & Engineering Department, Biomedical Engineering; Translational Tissue Engineering Center

Favorite Quote: “Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Damali Egyen-Davis Damali Egyen-Davis

Damali Egyen-Davis is a junior undergraduate student majoring in Biomedical Engineering and minoring in Entrepreneurship and Management. She has been involved in research that focused on using CRISPR/CAS9 technology to study a possible cancer biomarker. After presenting an independent research project on improving prosthetics to congressmen, she became interested in being involved in the commercialization of new inventions so they can be used to improve the lives of patients. Damali is also a board member of Johns Hopkins’ National Society of Black Engineers, and helps to organize MedHacks in the fall. Outside of academic work, she enjoys singing in her gospel choir and reading.

Current Training: WSE Undergraduate – Biomedical Engineering

Favorite Quote: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt


Dustin GreenDustin Green

Dustin Green is a post-doc in the Department of Neuroscience and the recipient of a National Institutes of Health NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship. Working in the lab of Xinzhong Dong, Dustin examines the role of Mrgpr’s in pain and itch. Several members of the Mrgpr family are expressed only in sensory neurons. However Dustin’s work is currently focused on Mrgprb2, found specifically on mast cells, and how it contributes to inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
Dustin received his PhD training in the lab of Ken Hargreaves at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Where with funding provided by an NIH F31 graduate training fellowship, he examined how the release of lipid metabolites contribute to sustained pain after burn injury.

Current Training: Neuroscience fellow

Faculty Mentor: Xinzhong Dong, Ph.D, Professor, School of Medicine, Neuroscience

Favorite Quote: “Anytime you learn, you gain.” – Bob Ross


MeghanEric Cao

Eric is currently a sophomore pursuing a major in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. He has experience working on design teams where he has conducted bench tests and created prototypes of medical devices. In the past, he’s worked on many robotics projects, including one that involved creating a mechanical manta ray as a demonstration of wireless power transfer. In his free time, Eric enjoys building robots and taking walks around campus.

Current Training: WSE Undergraduate – Biomedical Engineering

Favorite Quote: “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better, and your better is best.”


Eric MarroEric Marro

Eric is a 4th year Chemistry PhD candidate in the Klausen lab at Johns Hopkins University. His research entails the synthesis and characterization of poly(cyclosilanes) and evaluating their potential use as organic semiconductors. Eric received his B.S. in Chemistry from Boston College in 2011, and worked as an R&D Chemist at Cabot Corporation prior to accepting a graduate position at Johns Hopkins. Outside of the laboratory, Eric enjoys running and is a major board game enthusiast.

Current Training: KSAS Ph.D.-Chemistry

Faculty Mentor: Rebekka Klausen, M.D, Assistant Professor-FAC, Krieger School of Arts and Science, Chemistry

Favorite Quote: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller


Jackson Morrill

Jackson is a rising junior at Yale University. He is majoring in Economics and looks to bring his interest in business development to the Corporate Partnerships team. He participates on the Yale lacrosse team and enjoys music and traveling.

Current Training: Economics

Favorite Quote: “The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to mind.” – Friedrich Nietzsche


James Qin

James is currently a rising junior at the Johns Hopkins University. He is studying Biomedical Engineering with a focus in Cell and Tissue Engineering. Currently, he conducts research on corneal collagen reconstruction in the Elisseeff lab. Along with his interest in research, he is very passionate in intellectual property and patent law and plans to pursue a law degree post-graduation.

Current Training: WSE Undergraduate – Biomedical Engineering

Favorite Quote: “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt


Jessica MiciakJessica Miciak

Jessica Miciak is a fifth year graduate student in the Cellular & Molecular Medicine program. In the laboratory of Dr. Fred Bunz, she studies the role of the tumor suppressor p53 in the antiviral response. Prior to her graduate studies, she received her BS and MS in biology from Johns Hopkins University. Outside of science, she pursues impromptu comedy as a member of the Baltimore Improv Group.

Current Training: Cellular & Molecular Medicine

Favorite Quote: “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” – T.S. Eliot


Kristin PotiKristin Poti

Kristin is a PhD candidate in Dr. David Sullivan’s lab in the Molecular Microbiology and Immunology Dept. at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Her thesis research is in the field of malaria diagnostics where she is characterizing the in vivo kinetics of an important protein biomarker to generate a more sensitive diagnostic test to better detect subclinical malaria. Kristin received her BS in both Biology and Biotechnology and Hispanic Studies from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. As an undergraduate, she conducted research investigating cell-cycle proteomics using yeast as a model organism. Kristin is interested in the innovative junction that bridges bench science, technology, business and patent law, which are all critical components of the commercialization process.

Current Training: Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

Faculty Mentor: David J Sullivan, M.D., Professor, Medicine, Infectious Diseases

Favorite Quote: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt


Lilian Zhou Lilian Zhou

Lilian Zhou is a sophomore Johns Hopkins undergraduate studying Computer Science and Economics. She has done research in economics, as well as, the medical field and is interested in seeing how discoveries in the lab go through the process of commercialization as a part of the Commercialization Academy. At Hopkins she enjoys being a board member for Habitat for Humanity and Youth Library Tutorial. Some of her current hobbies outside of work include cooking and photography.

Current Training: WSE Undergraduate – Computer Science

Favorite Quote: : “It is never too late to be what you might have been” – George Eliot


Maya Lapinski

Maya is a rising sophomore undergraduate student studying Biomedical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University. She has wet lab, dry lab, and design team experience, seeking treatments and cures for conditions ranging from postpartum hemorrhage to normal pressure hydrocephalus to asthma. She’s also passionate about community service, and is a brother in Alpha Phi Omega, a tutor for Tutorial Project, and a hotline responder for the Sexual Assault Resource Unit. Outside of school, she enjoys petting dogs, listening to music, and listing things in sets of threes. In the future, she hopes to pursue neurosurgery.

Current Training: WSE Undergraduate – Biomedical Engineering

Favorite Quote: “Life loves the liver of it.” – Maya Angelou


MeghanMicheal Wormald

Michael is a 4th year graduate student studying pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University. His research under Dr. Jim Barrow focuses on the discovery of new types of drug molecules with the potential to treat metabolic and behavioral disorders. Previously, Michael studied organic and medicinal chemistry at the University of Richmond while obtaining his Bachelor’s degree. He is excited to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit at Johns Hopkins and help bring new discoveries to light.

Current Training: Pharmacology and Molecular Science

Faculty Mentor: James Barrow, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences

Favorite Quote: “Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.” – Edwin Powell Hubble


Samiksha Ramesh Samiksha Ramesh

Samiksha is a sophomore undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins University, studying Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Management. Samiksha is a member of a Design Team which developed a pressure-regulating ocular device and is currently in the process of filing a provisional patent application through JHTV. In addition, Samiksha serves as secretary of Alpha Phi Omega, the service fraternity, is the treasurer of the South Asian Students at Hopkins, and works as a manager for the college consulting company CollegeVine. Ultimately, Samiksha plans to attend law school and become a corporate or intellectual property lawyer.

Current Training: WSE Undergraduate – Biomedical Engineering

Favorite Quote: “It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.” – Seneca


ReidSanjay Elangovan

Sanjay Elangovan is a sophomore undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins University. He is pursuing a major in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Entrepreneurship and Management. Sanjay has experience from working on independent design teams, through which he has done everything from prototyping and conducting bench tests to constructing business plans and patent landscapes. Sanjay is also a board member of the Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering Society and is a brother of Alpha Phi Omega. He intends to pursue a career in patent law, with a focus on bio-technology and medical devices.

Current Training: WSE Undergraduate – Biomedical Engineering

Favorite Quote: “Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.” – Max Planck


Seema KackerSeema Kacker

Seema is an MD-PhD student currently in the third year of her graduate program in health economics in the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the effects of free services on patient preferences and demand in developing contexts. Between college and medical school, she helped to run field-based development economics research projects in India and later worked in an HIV lab conducting mathematical modeling analyses. Seema has a B.S. in Economics from MIT.

Current Training: Health Economics
Faculty Mentor: David M. Bishai, M.D., PH.D., M.P.H, Professor, Population and Family Health Sciences (SPH)
Favorite Quote: Learn to love each other more and more each day, on average – paraphrased from Dr. Khalil Ghanem


Thomas RileyThomas Riley

Tom is an incoming Herchel-Smith Fellow at the University of Cambridge, who will read for Masters in the History and Philosophy of Science as well as Bioscience Enterprise. Tom received his B.A. from Williams College where he graduated magna cum laude with honors in history and a degree in biology. At Cambridge, Tom will extend his undergraduate thesis by researching epistemic virtues as well as the relationship between scientific and non-scientific communities in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Current Training: History and Philosophy of Science/ Bioscience Enterprise

Favorite Quote: “Better to be, rather than to appear” – Cicero


Valerie CohenValerie Cohen

Valerie Cohen is a fourth year graduate student in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine graduate program. In the lab of Dr. Justin Bailey and Dr. Andrea Cox, she studies the role of neutralizing antibodies in clearance of human Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection with the goal of developing an effective prophylactic HCV vaccine. Prior to her graduate study, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of Maryland-College Park. During her undergraduate studies, she studied the porcine immune response to a variety of pathogens at the USDA.

Current Training: Cellular Molecular Medicine

Faculty Mentor: Justin Bailey, MD, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, School of Medicine, Infectious Disease & Andrea Cox, MD, Ph.D, Professor of Medicine, Oncology, and Immunology, Infectious Disease

Favorite Quote: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein


Vance Wood Vance Wood

Vance is a rising sophomore in the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science and minors in Marketing and Applied Math. He’s done research on the Cosmic Microwave Background in the JHU physics and astronomy department. Vance also received the second prize in the 2016 French Math Olympiad. Since he first watched “The Princess Bride” ten years ago, Vance has been fencing and is now a starter on the JHU fencing team. Due to his disdain for inefficiency, Vance wants to help bring new technologies to market to help the world run a little more smoothly.

Current Training: WES Undergraduate – Computer Science

Favorite Quote: “I want to thank my parents for somehow raising me to have confidence that is disproportionate with my looks and ability.” – Tina Fey


Wesley Meadowcroft Wesley Meadowcroft

Wesley Meadowcroft is a second year undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park and is a Marketing and Public Policy double major in the Smith School of Business. Wesley works under the supervision of Jorge Aquino in the FastForward sector of the Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures program, working to bring investors to the incubator companies developing with FastForward.

Current Training: Marketing and Public Policy

Favorite Quote: “It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are… than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.” – Henry David Thoreau


Zachary ZarubinZachary Zarubin

Zachary is a rising sophomore pursing a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering with minors in Computational Medicine, Computer Integrated Surgery, and Entrepreneurship & Management. He currently does research at the Institute for Computational Medicine studying computational anatomy and how it can be used to understand motivation and incentive. His experience as an Undergraduate Design Team member for the Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design fostered his interest in the commercialization of biotech and medical devices. Zachary aspires to work in Venture Capital and the startup community, using his background in biomedical technologies to specialize in said industries. He hopes to gain further knowledge for this endeavor at the Commercialization Academy and other opportunities at Johns Hopkins University.

Current Training: WSE Undergraduate – Biomedical Engineering

Favorite Quote: “America has the best doctors, the best nurses, the best hospitals, the best medical technology, the best medical breakthrough medicines in the world. There is absolutely no reason we should not have in this country the best health care in the world.” – Bill Frist