My academic journey, an ongoing pursuit for discovery
I received my Bachelor's of Engineering in Bioengineering, and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 2014.
I earned a PhD in Biological Engineering with Advisor Angela Belcher in 2019. My thesis centered at the intersection of material science, synthetic biology, and heavy metal chemistries.
My thesis, "Engineering Yeast for Heavy Metal Waste Remediation" was reviewed by Committee members K. Dane Wittrup (Chair), Cathy L. Drennan, and Angela M. Belcher (Advisor).
I joined the Design Lab at the Media Lab (formerly known as the Mobile Experience Lab) to work with Puma's innovation team in designing a next generation shoe.
I led the embedded and electronic engineering team. The goal was to create a responsive shoe that could monitor and provide feedback to the athlete.
I am a huge fan of DIY projects and garage-based innovation
I felt that learning concepts and definitions on paper was incomplete if I was not able to physically represent my learnings in the real-world. Therefore, I make.
A colleague and I decided to make things in the digital world using machine learning, taught by skills we learned in the real-world.
Hackathons were a way for me to test my skills and invent in short yet meaningful working sessions with new faces and collaboraters at the event.
I am a firm believer of paying it forward, and for me, that means to teach and inspire the next generation of makers.
I worked as a Communication Fellow during my graduate studies, which meant mentoring students on the writte and verbal skills to communicate intricate scientific work.
I held a position as a teaching assistant for the Gordan Engineering Leadership Program, specifically on effective communication.
During my time as a Comm Fellow and Teaching Assistant, I compiled my learnings into online articles and repositories so others can learn from.
Outside of my academic circle, I began mentoring students as an EIN at the University of New England for their own entrepreneurial initiatives.
Never a master, but always trying to refine my skills. Here is just a list of some of the workflows I use everyday.
My academic and professional success have been supported by several organizations. These are the groups I am currently active in.
I was awarded the NSF graduate fellowship for my PhD research, as well as the NSF I-Corp grant for user research.
Post-academic career, I became a member of the New Lab Community, an upcoming innovation and maker space for entrepreneurs and inventors in the Brookyln and New York area.
A multi-national group centered on inventors and makers in the hardware space. I have been a member since early 2020
I had the honor of attending UC Berkeley, an amazing instution where I gained a passion for academic rigor and scientific discoveries. I received a B.S. in Bioengineering along with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 2014. I studied under Professor David V. Schaffer (Scahffer Lab) and Mikhail Shapiro (Shapiro Lab). While there I received the Regents & Chancellor's Scholarship, Leadership Award, the IMSD NIH Research Fellowship and proudly led the Campus Residential Tutoring Services for Chemistry. I had an incredible experience, and an opportunity of a lifetime.
My advisors at Berkeley greatly influenced my passion for the biological and engineering sciences. I began my PhD career in 2014 with advisor Angela Belcher (Belcher Lab). My research was at the intersection of synthetic biology and biomaterials, focusing on sustainable solutions for removing and remediating heavy metals. Several of my publications can be found at Nature Publication, and several personal projects will be published on bioRxiv. While at MIT I was awarded the Presidential Fellowship, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, the Bose Fellowship, and several other research-based grants.
My thesis titled Engineering Yeast for Heavy Metal Waste Remediation, contains work related to methods, strategies, and inventions on engineering yeast (the common Baker's yeast) as a vehicle to sequester, consume, and recycle heavy metals from waste environments. Those interested can read my dissertation, defended on June 6th, 2019. The study required an interdisciplinary combination of synthetic biology, protein engineering, and material science which caters itself to a broad range of scientific audiences and enthusiasts.
While at MIT, I took a year to work on cross-displinary project with the Media Lab and Puma's Innovation Team. I worked under Federico Casalegno, Yihyun Lim, and Puma's Global Innovation Director Charles Johnson. I led their embedded design and electronics group, in hopes of creating a new wave of intelligent footwear. I was exposed to new design thinking and a unique creative energy that comes from a merge of an academic institution and a world leading consumer brand. These insights have shaped how I view problems from both an engineering and aesthetic perspective to this day.
There were three overaching projects, a materials track, an electronics track, and a machine learning and intelligence track. The goal was to create a future fit shoe with the capacity to learn and respond to the user in a learned manner. This project, and subsequent showcase can be found by clicking the link below.
I took How to Make (Almost) Anything , a course taught by Neil Gershenfeld. It was one of the few courses that changed my perspective on making, and that is, anything can be made with the right skills and attempts. You can see my portfolio of projects in the link below. You can also see my colleagues inventions and makes here .
Early in my academic career, I participated in several hackathons to learn new skills, but also test my abilities in brainstorming, prototyping, and inventing under stressful and constrained circumstances. The hackathons I attended ranged from healthcare hackathons such as Hacking Medicine, to artistic events such as Hacking Arts, and finally my favorite — hardware-based hackathons, some of which were sponsored by Intel and other companies which released upcoming tools and hardware before being released to the public.
I trained as a Fellow at the Biological Engineering Communication Lab, where we mentored those interested in crafting compelling written, visual, and oral scientific narratives. I worked closely with Diana Chen and Prerna Bhargava for setting up Comm Lab appointments, go through training materials, and host seminars and work sessions for students. Linked below are some events which I spoke at during my time as a Comm Fellow:
Seminar speaker Department speaker Poster winner
I worked as a Teaching Assistant for Professor David Niño in his course Leading Creative Teams, where I held a seminar on effective verbal and nonverbal messaging. My responsibilities were providing feedback and constructive reviews on student's leadership narratives. I also research ways to quantify effective communication, by integrating speech recognition and machine learning to extract verbal cues such as pauses, intonation, and filler words like 'um' and 'like'.
What teaching has taught me is that knowledge should be shared freely, and that collections of knowledge are enhanced tremendously with contributions from a variety of sources. Therefore, materials (much like this website) are publically available via open repositories like Github. This movement is not new, so while at the Communication Lab we adopted formats such as the Awesome Lists, open source tutorials and labs. You can follow much of my personal work on my github page where I create templates, generators, and wiki articles on how to build minimum viable working solutions for a variety of software and hardware problems.
I worked closely with Anthony Santella from 2017-2019 on opening their P.D. Merrill Makerspace at the Unversity of Maine. The culmination of our work were the annual Student Innovation Challenge. While as a judge, it was one of the few experiences where I saw what it was like to be on the other side of the judging table. It is humbling to say that it was extremely difficult to qualify a variety of variables, such as the difficulty of the project, how the student conveyed a compelling narrative, and how impactful their solution was.
New Lab was inspired on the design and creative thinking that came from the Media Lab, so a home away from home in my case. The space boasts upwards of 150 member companies ranging from automated vehicles, agriculture, sports, to even rocket science. As a member, we are proud to be the leading face of innovation in the Brookyln and New York area, and always happy to get more involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
I am always suprised by the diversity of thinkers and inventions that comprise the community. The group was created in 2015 and founded by Alexis Houssou. As of this writing, there are over 360 startups from 30 countries in the community, and I am happy to I can add to that number.