Student Leadership Council President
Jesse Fine, TAMU
Jesse is a first year PhD student at Texas A&M working under Drs. Cote and McShane. With a background in microfluidics and microfabrication, he aims to switch gears and develop a dissertation surrounding optics and wearable devices. Jesse completed his undergraduate work at Ohio State, working on his thesis under Dr. Daniel Gallego-Perez and brings to the SLC a history of leadership and ambition to promote the mission of PATHS-UP and the success of its fellows/scholars.
Student Leadership Council Past President
Paul Gordon, TAMU
After spending several months in Guatemala fixing medical equipment for an undergraduate co-op while at the University of Cincinnati, Paul became interested in improving access to quality healthcare for people in low-resource areas. A few years later, he and his wife Amanda found themselves moving to Texas to pursue his PhD working with Dr Cote on point-of-care malaria diagnostic tools. When he’s not in the lab or dodging the Texas heat, you might find Paul playing board games, camping, or rowing a boat somewhere.
Vice-Presidents of Workforce Development
Ping Dong, TAMU
An international student from China, the student is now a third-year Ph.D. student of Texas A&M BMEN program. As part of Dr. Grunlan’s polymeric biomaterial lab, she has research interests toward polymeric hydrogels and their biological responses.
Mel Boonya-ananta, FIU
Tananant (Mel) Boonya-ananta received his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California in 2017. His Master’s work involved wind turbine gear box analysis with modeling and simulation using Finite Element Analysis and Multi-Body Dynamics. He is currently a NSF PATHS-UP Fellow and a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering working with Dr. Jessica Ramella-Roman. Mel is currently involved in the development of wearable technologies and devices using optical technology for the obese to aid in monitoring and care of chronic diseases.
Vice-Presidents of Culture of Inclusion
Zach Ballard, TAMU
Zachary Ballard received his B.S. degree in Engineering Physics from Brown University in 2013. After graduating, he was a visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen, Germany where he worked with free-space couple micro-resonators for bio-sensing applications. He is currently an NSF fellow and pursuing a PhD degree in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of California, Los Angeles. His work aims to apply computation and machine learning techniques for improving the development and performance of point-of-care diagnostics. As a PATHS-UP fellow, he works on developing paper-based tests and low-cost assay readers for quantifying cardiac biomarkers
Amruta Pai, Rice
Amruta Pai is a third-year graduate student in the MS-PhD program at the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, Rice University. She works in the Scalable Health Lab with Dr. Ashutosh Sabharwal and Dr. Ashok Veeraraghavan. Her Masters work was on non-contact robust heart rate variability monitoring using a camera. Her research interests are in bio-behavioral sensing and quantifying different dimensions of human behavior through signal processing, computer vision and data science. Being an international student herself from India, she is passionate about creating a more diverse working environment for her fellow student researchers at PATHS-UP.
Vice-Presidents of Innovation Ecosystem
Lin Tong, FIU
I am Lin Tong, first year PhD Student, working in Nano-Bioengineering /Bioelectronics Lab of Biomedical Engineering in Florida International University. My current project is Nanozyme integrated immunological microfluidic sensing platform, which aims at developing a POC and low cost device for detecting chronic cardiac diseases. Meanwhile, I am VP of Innovation Ecosystem in Student Leadership Council of PATHS-UP. I will try to make a bridge between industries and schools for transferring our research and provide more opportunities for SLC members.
Andres Rodriguez, FIU
Andres Rodriguez, was born in Colombia and grew up in Miami, FL, where he earned a Degree as a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering at Florida International University. During his time as an undergraduate, he joined a research lab to study the mechanical properties of tissue scaffolds; He helped organize professional events and workshops as an E-board member of an engineering honor society (AEMB); and he team-worked on the “C-Scope: a portable, polarized, cost-effective colposcope” as a placing senior design project. This project introduced Andres into the world of optics, which has led him to join MPL full-time. Recently accepted to FIU’s graduate school as a PATHS-UP fellow, Andres aims to combat the clinical needs of under-served patients by researching and creating novel wearable imaging and spectroscopic technologies.
Aidan Curtis, Rice
Aidan is a Junior at Rice University studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He works with Ashutosh Sabharwal on HealthSense, an innovative platform for hosting large scale longitudinal studies that gather both behavioral and biological data, for novel bio-behavioral studies.
Ashley Clemens, UCLA
Ashley Clemens is an Undergraduate Scholar Representative in PATHS-UP for the 2018-2019 academic year. She is currently working at UCLA under Professor Aydogan Ozcan on making a low-cost CRP assay in conjunction with other partners, such as members from Professor Dino Di Carlo’s lab.
To contact Ashley: firstname.lastname@example.org
Farhara Haque, UCLA
Hello! My name is Farhana and I am a 4th year bioengineering major at UCLA. I have been involved with the Ozcan laboratory since my sophomore year and my project focuses on embedding a plasmonic sensor onto a contact lens for eventual biosensing applications. For the PATHS-UP program, I am working on an imaging platform to detect C-reactive protein, a potential biomarker for cardiovascular disease. The PATHS-UP program has allowed me to be in a position in research that allows me to be at the forefront of such radically interdisciplinary innovations and work towards a more democratized future in medicine. Having worked at Illumina and Medtronic Diabetes the past two summers, I look forward to working full-time in the R&D or operations space to continue exploring the medical device industry!
Karina Nugroho, UCLA
Karina is a fourth-year Biochemistry student at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her interest in the intersection between biomedical science and engineering led her to join the Ozcan Research Group to study the antibody-protein interaction for early detection of cardiovascular disease, which will be implemented in a portable medical device. Over the summer, Karina explored her interest in cell culture and genetic sequencing at Keck Medicine of USC. Given her immense interest in biomedical and engineering, Karina is currently serving in the PATHS-UP Student Leadership Council as a Scholar Representative. As she finishing her last year in her undergraduate career, Karina is preparing to enter the biopharmaceutical industry to gain valuable experience in Research and Development sector before she starts her graduate studies.
Shanika Pascal, FIU
Shanika Pascal is a new addition to our team of PATHS-UP scholars. She is currently a senior in the Biomedical engineering discipline at FIU where she intends to pursue a graduate degree. Through FIU’s summer 2018 REM Shanika has been able to explore usefulness of optics in biomedical applications and anticipates making it the focus of her future graduate research.