Commercialization Academy Interns

Commercialization Academy Interns


Annabeth Rodriguez Annabeth Rodriguez

Raised in Seattle, WA, Annabeth is a rising senior pursing a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering with minors in Mathematics and Entrepreneurship & Management. She currently does research at the Institute for Computational Medicine studying the development of HIV/AIDS and is an undergraduate Design Team Leader for the Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design. Her experiences from design team have exposed her to the world of innovation and she hopes to further knowledge at the Commercialization Academy.

Current Training: WSE Undergraduate – Biomedical Engineering

Favorite Quote: “At any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing” – Theodore Roosevelt


MeghanBlake Scott

Blake is currently a fourth-year Cellular and Molecular Medicine PhD and a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s GRFP award. His work in the lab of Elizabeth Jaffee is focused on tumor immunology and pre-clinical modeling in models of breast and pancreatic cancer. He received his Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma and graduated magna cum laude with departmental honors. Blake is passionate about understanding frameworks, systems, and their interplay both in and out of the lab. He is interested in understanding the commercialization process and bringing the systemic thinking learned in the lab to other avenues of work. He believes that data-driven thinking and optimization is a powerful method of approaching the complex problems in this and other sectors.

Current Training: SOM PhD-Tumor Immunology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee

Favorite Quote: “The discipline, nonetheless, is exacting: everything that can be observed should be observed, even if it is only recalled as the bland background from which the intriguing bits pop out like Venus in the evening sky. The goal is always finding something new, hopefully unimagined and, better still, hitherto unimaginable.” – K. Barry Sharpless


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


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


SchiffhauerEric Schiffhauer

Eric is a PhD candidate in the BCMB program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In the lab of Douglas Robinson, PhD, he studies the ability of cells to sense and respond to mechanical forces through the cytoskeleton, especially how this applies to pancreatic cancer cell metastasis. Prior to his PhD work, Eric studied the maturation and function of ion channels relevant to Cystic Fibrosis as a Research Technologist in the lab of Pamela Zeitlin, MD PhD, also at Johns Hopkins SOM. During the completion of his B.S. in Biology at George Mason University, he studied bacterial cell migration in the lab of Monique van Hoek, PhD. Eric is also interested in spreading science and learning to Baltimore youth as a part of the Summer Academic Research Experience program at Johns Hopkins and Thread organization.

Current Training: JHU SOM PhD- Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Douglas Robinson

Favorite Quote: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau


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


Julie LeeJulie Lee

Julie Lee is a senior pursuing a BS degree in Neuroscience and a minor in entrepreneurship and management. For the past three years at Hopkins, she has been studying the effects of cell solubility in Schizophrenic patient and conducting clinical research with breast cancer patients. Julie is also interested in computer science as well as public health policy.

Current Training: KSAS Undergraduate – Neuroscience

Favorite Quote: “I would always rather be happy than dignified.” – Charlotte Bronte


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


Leah Walker

Leah is a PhD Candidate in the lab of David Sullivan in the Dept. of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Her PhD work focuses on evaluating the pharmacodynamic properties of antimalarial drugs with the downstream goal of increasing the efficacy of current treatment regimens. Previously, she received her BS in biology at the University of Notre Dame and performed research investigating in vitro growth dynamics during competition assays of drug resistant and drug sensitive P. falciparum. Following undergraduate, she pursued an MSc from University College London in Infection and Immunity where she evaluated multilocus sequence typing as a phylogenetic classification method for Shigella isolates.

Current Training: SPH-PhD-Molecular Microbiology & Immunology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Sullivan

Favorite Quote: “Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive.” – 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


Maxim BogoradMaxim Bogorad

Max is a PhD student and American Heart Association Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Nanobiotechnology. He received a B.S. in Materials Science from Cornell University College of Engineering where he was a Jacob’s Scholar and 4-year winner of the Cornell Presidential Research Award in biomedical engineering. His current graduate work is focused on developing pre-clinical models for studying heart-attacks and strokes using tissue-engineered blood vessels. Max’s interests include tennis, downhill skiing, and pursuing his ambition of becoming a scratch disc-golfer.

Current Training: WSE PhD – Materials Science & Engineering

Faculty Mentor: Peter C Searson, PH.D, Professor, Joint, Oncology Center-Division of Chemical Therapeutics

Favorite Quote: “The ball is round, the game lasts 90 minutes…everything else is pure theory.” Sepp Herberger


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


MeghanMegan Callanan

Megan is a junior majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in entrepreneurship and management. She has been involved in biomaterials research for five years, at Case Western Reserve University in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio during high school and now as a part of the Mao lab at Hopkins. She was exposed to how research discoveries are commercialized while interning in the Cleveland Clinic Innovations department this past summer and is looking forward to helping to foster the development of breakthrough ideas during her time in the Commercialization Academy.

Current Training: WSE Undergraduate- Biomedical Engineering/Minoring in Entrepreneurship and Management

Favorite Quote: “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt


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


MeghanMike Nedelcovych

Mike Nedelcovych is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Neurology under the mentorship of Dr. Barbara Slusher, Director of Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery. His research centers on the development of translational biomarkers to elucidate the neurobiology of brain-based disorders and to aid in the discovery of new drug treatments. As a member of the Johns Hopkins NIMH Center for Novel Therapeutics for HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND), Mike is especially focused on disease modeling and preclinical testing of potential treatments for HAND. Mike received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt University having trained in the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery. While there, he studied the sleep disturbances associated with schizophrenia and PTSD, and took advantage of novel small molecule therapeutics developed at VCNDD to test the effects of cholinergic and glutamatergic modulation on rodent and primate EEG measures of sleep architecture and arousal. Mike is excited to leverage his expertise in early stage drug discovery to assess the potential health benefits and commercial value of new inventions made by Johns Hopkins researchers.

Current Training: SOM Post-Doc-Neurology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Barbara Slusher

Favorite Quote: “The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest.” – Kilgore Trout


MeghanPamela Colleen LaVinka

Colleen is from Chicago, Illinois. She received her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the Neurobiology Group at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Xinzhong Dong’s lab where she is studying the enteric nervous system or ‘second brain.’ Using Dr. Dong’s many genetic mouse lines and varied techniques, Colleen is investigating the role of inflammation within intestinal disease and pain.

Current Training: SOM Post-Doc-Neuroscience

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Xinzhong Dong

Favorite Quote: “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Carl Sagan


MeghanParama Paul

Parama is a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She completed her PhD in Cell Biology, where she performed a small molecule screen to identify a potential drug for a devastating genetic disease Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease. Currently, in her postdoctoral lab she strives to understand one of the fundamental process that regulate important developmental functions, the tube formation. Along with her science fascination, she is also very passionate about intellectual property protection and technology commercialization. She worked as an intern in a patent law firm to gain experience in patent protection and also took an online course from USPTO. As a commercialization academy intern, she plans to combine her interest in science and technology protection. In her leisure time, she enjoys listening to music and traveling.

Current Training: SOM Post-Doc-Cell Biology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Deborah Andrew

Favorite Quote: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs


PeterPeter Boutros

Peter is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering studying neuro-engineering. He received his B.S. degree in biomedical engineering from The University of Connecticut in 2008. His undergraduate research investigated non-linear temporal coding in the rabbit inferior colliculus, a central area of auditory neural processing. Peter’s PhD research is focused on developing the signal processing and stimulation strategies of a vestibular prosthesis, a device that aims to restore balance sensation in patients with bilateral vestibular hypofunction via electrical stimulation of the vestibular nerve. He is interested in the development and commercialization of neural prosthetics aimed at improving the quality of life for individuals with diverse neurological disorders.

Current Training: SOM Ph.D.-Biomedical Engineering

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Charley Della Santina

Favorite Quote: “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” – Thomas Pynchon


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


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


ZacharyZachary Kelly

Zach is a 4th year Chemistry PhD Candidate in the McQueen lab at Johns Hopkins University. His thesis focuses on the structure-function relationship of magnetic solid state materials. More specifically, he applies low temperature synthetic techniques to synthesize novel magnetically frustrated materials and measure their emergent properties. This research will lead to a better understanding of useful emergent properties, such as unique magnetic states and superconductivity.
During his studies at Johns Hopkins, he has received the NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes fellowship where he conducted research on novel magnetic iridium honeycomb compounds for 10 weeks at Kyoto University in Japan under Professor Hiroshi Kageyama. Previously, he received a B.S. in Chemistry from Penn State University in 2010 and worked as a scale-up chemist for the DOW chemical company before accepting a graduate position at Johns Hopkins. He enjoys running, hiking and playing softball.

Current Training: KSAS Ph.D.-Chemistry

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tyrel M. McQueen

Favorite Quote: “The true delight is the finding out rather than in the knowing.” – Issac Asimov


Zinnia XuZinnia Xu

Zinnia is currently a PhD candidate in the Biomedical Engineering department and a recipient of the NIH F31 predoctoral NRSA. Her PhD work in the lab of Dr. Peter Searson is focused on investigating leukocyte transmigration across the blood-brain barrier. She received her BS in Bioengineering from the University of Washington where she assessed ultrasound elastography detection of stroke and traumatic brain injury. Outside the lab, she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and perusing the farmer’s market.

Current Training: Biomedical Engineering

Faculty Mentor: Peter C Searson, PH.D, Professor, Joint, Oncology Center-Division of Chemical Therapeutics

Favorite Quote: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” —Oscar Wilde.