Past Synergy Students & Projects

Interested in the Synergy Research Program?

Wondering if your research interests align with the SBME Synergy Summer program? Take a look at the exciting and diverse projects that our previous students have worked on!

Featured Projects

Type-2 innate immune signals are dispensable for muscle regeneration and progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy pathology in mdx mice

Omar Husain Syed
Applied Biology | Kelly McNagny Lab


Type-2 immunity plays key roles at mucosal surfaces in allergic responses, as the first line of defense against large parasites, and tissue repair. The latter has also been demonstrated in sterile injury of skeletal muscle for which eosinophils and type-2 innate IL-4/IL-13 signaling have been shown as essential regulators of muscle resident fibro-adipocyte progenitors (FAPs) proliferation. FAPs in turn promote the proliferation of muscle stem cells (MuSc) resulting in growth and muscle regeneration. In this study, we further investigated this observation using STAT6−/− mice that have impaired type-2 innate signaling as well as ΔdblGATA mice that lack eosinophils. Contrary to previous findings, we found that neither STAT6-/- mice nor ΔdblGATA mice show differences in their regenerative capacity compared to wild-type mice following acute skeletal muscle injury. We also show that STAT6-/- mice have no significant differences in the number of proliferative FAPs and MuSc indicating that type-2 innate signals are not essential for their proliferation. Lastly, we investigated if the absence of type-2 innate signaling impacts skeletal muscle pathology, specifically fibrosis deposition in mdx mice – a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We observed that neither 3-month old nor 10-month old MDX:STAT6-/- mice showed a difference in disease progression compared to mdx mice with functional type-2 signaling. In conclusion, type-2 innate signaling is dispensable for skeletal muscle regeneration after acute injury as well as for fibrosis deposition in chronic skeletal muscle disease.

Microscale Molecular Gradients on Open Biological Surfaces

Jake Pringle
BioEngineering | Govind Kaigala Lab


Biochemical gradients are abundant in dynamic biological systems for guiding the growth, migration and differentiation of cells within living tissues. Their simulation in vitro would allow the study of various physiological and pathological conditions; yet, systems able to replicate the spatiotemporal nature of biologically relevant gradients are limited. In the present work, a cohort of microfluidic probes (MFPs) for generation of biochemical gradients on open biological surfaces were designed. MFP employs hydrodynamic flow confinement (HFC) to localize species at the microscale above a substrate, via the simultaneous injection and aspiration of fluid from microchannels at controlled rates. Thereby, computer aided design, digital light processing 3D printing, finite element flow simulation, and pneumatic controlled flow systems were employed to develop MFPs and operating conditions able to produce linear, exponential, and gaussian shaped concentration profiles in both smooth and stepwise function types, within the flow confinement. Given the HFC exists in the open space, the gradient could potentially be applied to any liquid-submerged sample underlying the device’s apex. In addition, changing the injection flow rates demonstrates the ability to tune the gradient’s profile in the time domain, while changing the substrate’s position via a motorized stage introduces a spatial dynamic of the gradient generating system. Overall, the ability to generate temporally and spatially tuneable gradients in the open space is presented as a toolbox for those interested in studying and designing dynamic biological systems.


At the end of the program, Synergy students present their work at the Synergy Research Day. This is an excellent opportunity for students to gain valuable presentation skills, as well a chance to network with SBME’s vibrant community of researchers and industry partners. Below are the programs from previous Synergy Research Days; they’ll give you an idea of the type of research that past Synergy students have conducted during the program.

SBME Synergy Alumni

2023 Cohort

Synergy Student


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Jennifer Mitchell

Jennifer Mitchell is a 5th year Biology undergraduate student at UBC. She currently works as a Co-op student in Dr. Sheila Teves’ lab, contributing to a variety of projects, including establishing a working protocol for the differentiation of embryonic stem cells into neural progenitor cells, and a completed project regarding transcription factor mitotic bookmarking. Her research interests include the research of cellular identity, epigenetics, as well as immunogenetics. In her spare time, Jennifer also enjoys travelling, making pottery, and watching numerous movies to add to her Letterboxd profile. Under the supervision of Dr. Teves, Jennifer will continue to work on her independent research project investigating the dynamics of distal cis regulatory enhancer regions using dCas9 to activate a GFP reporter system. Jennifer is very excited to be joining this year’s cohort of SBME Synergy students, and looks forward to a fun Summer program!

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Margaret Javier

Margaret is a fourth-year Honours Cell and Developmental Biology student at UBC. She recently completed a Co-op placement at the Vancouver Prostate Centre where she led and assisted in various studies investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying nucleolar protein regulation and its implications on prostate cancer development and progression. Margaret is grateful for the opportunity to now explore the field of regenerative medicine as she starts her work under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Laver. This summer, she will be conducting research to develop cell-based therapeutics for the treatment of retinal degenerative diseases and trauma. With a keen interest in translational medicine research, Margaret is excited to join and learn from the SBME academic community!

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Chaehyeon Lee

Chaehyeon Lee is a third year Biomedical Engineering undergraduate at UBC, specializing in cellular bioengineering. Her research interests include the integration of bioinformatics analysis and cellular engineering to advance medicine and healthcare. Her previous research experience includes working as a research assistant at the UBC Behavioural Reward Affect + Impulsivity Neuroscience (B.R.A.I.N.) Lab, where she developed scripts to collect and process EEG data from participants. She is also currently involved in UBC’s synthetic biology design team (UBC iGEM) as the dry lab lead, coordinating multiple projects to provide computational insight for the project. This summer, Chaehyeon will be working under the supervision of Dr. Nozomu Yachie to develop quality control metrics for cell lineage trees reconstructed through high-throughput single cell RNA sequencing. She is looking forward to gaining hands-on experience in working with cell lineage tree reconstruction pipelines and learning how to critically analyze cutting-edge cell lineage tracing technologies.

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Joshua Lowery

Joshua Lowery is an incoming third-year Bachelor of Kinesiology student specializing in neuromechanical and physiological sciences. He has found interest in the research area of biomechanics and will continue to develop this passion throughout the summer while working on multiple projects with the Fewster Spine Lab. Under the supervision of Dr. Kayla Fewster, his main project will aim to quantify in-vitro cervical facet joint capsule strain as a percentage of ultimate shear failure force across different loading rates. With the help of the SBME Synergy Studentship, Joshua plans on developing his knowledge of all aspects of biomechanical research, including motion capture software such as Visual 3D, highspeed strain mapping, and different tissue dissection techniques.

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Jillian Feliciano

Jillian Feliciano is a second-year Integrated Sciences student at UBC. Although she is from Toronto, she was born in the Philippines; this has played a big part in fostering her passion for equitable health in vulnerable populations and community engagement. She is very interested in learning about the complex interactions that play a role in cell regeneration. This summer, she will be working in the Rossi Lab at UBC’s Biomedical Research Centre. Under the supervision of Dr. Marine Theret, she will explore cell processes during skeletal muscle regeneration, primarily focusing on the role of the TGFb signaling pathway in the differentiation of fibro/adipogenic progenitors into matrix-producing cells. She is very excited about the applications of this study and is looking forward to a great summer at the Rossi Lab!

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Matin Narimani

Matin Narimani is a second-year biomedical engineering student with a passion for improving human performance and well-being through the integration of technology. He is particularly interested in the application of technology to the fields of biomechanics, cellular and genetic engineering, and neuroscience. Currently, he is working under the supervision of Dr. Manu Madhav in the Neural Circuits for Computation, Cognition, and Control (NC4) lab on a reconfigurable maze designed to investigate the neuronal activity of rodents performing spatial navigation tasks. His work involves creating a rodent deterrence system for training, developing a robot arm feeding system, and fabricating the tetrode drive which will be implanted in the rats. Outside of his academic pursuits, Matin enjoys playing basketball, watching movies, and playing the guitar. He is excited to explore new research avenues and discover his passion for scientific inquiry as he continues his work in the NC4 lab.

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Eric Song

Eric Song is a biomedical engineering student at the University of British Columbia. He just recently finished his second year and plans to focus his study on Biomechanics. He is passionate about the human anatomy, and researching injuries on how they occur, and how they can be treated. Currently, he is working with Dr. David Wilson in the Centre for Aging Smart as a Research assistant where they are currently working on how cartilage behaves when subject to different loads. Eric’s passion for sports has led him to pursue this opportunity. From this opportunity, Eric will gain many practical skills ranging from 3D modeling and segmentation, to harvesting and load testing specimens.

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Joyce Xi

Joyce Xi is a second-year Biomedical Engineering student planning to specialize in Molecular and Cellular Engineering. As a volunteer in Dr. Elizabeth Rideout’s lab, she has been conducting statistical analyses of brain lipids in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster). Joyce is passionate about Women’s Health and the development of sex-specific treatments in medicine. In her previous projects, she developed a CT scan processing pipeline to determine male-female differences in bone density. This summer, she will continue working in the Rideout Lab to further investigate sex-linked differences in metabolism and fat storage. Her Synergy project aims to evaluate healthy aging of male and female Drosophila through controlled ablation of insulin-producing cells. A native Vancouverite, Joyce is an avid explorer of Pacific Spirit Regional Park and enjoys taking long walks by the beach. In her spare time, you can also find her playing video games or cooking up traditional Chinese dishes.

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Graeme McIntosh

Graeme McIntosh is a fourth year Bachelor of Science student at UBC in the Cellular and Physiological Science Program who was born and raised in Richmond, BC. He is passionate about research with clinical applications to gain deeper understanding of diseases effecting society, and looks forward to gaining further experience in this field of study this summer. Currently, he is a research assistant in the Allan Laboratory working on the SFARI project which strives to develop assays to understand the clinical interpretation of Autism gene variants using Drosophila as a model system. This summer under supervision from Dr. Allan, Graeme will be analyzing gene variants of the gene PTPN11 and TCF4. In his free time, Graeme enjoys playing tennis for the UBC Tennis Team, golfing, camping and having fun with friends.

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Aileen Liman

Aileen Liman is a third-year student in the UBC-BCIT Biotechnology program. She enjoys applying her passion for cell biology and immunology to investigating human diseases, particularly cancer. In her free time, she enjoys reading, drawing, and rock climbing. As a co-op student in the Roskelley lab, she will help create CRISPR knockouts in mouse tumour cell lines to help evaluate the efficacy of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) in treating breast and ovarian cancer. This summer, she hopes to explore her research interests and strengthen her tissue culture, molecular biology, and lab animal handling skills.

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Jake Pringle

Jake Pringle is a fourth-year Dean’s Honour List Bioengineering student at McGill University. Although Jake was born in London, England, he now calls West Vancouver home and enjoys all outdoor activities, from skiing to paddle boarding. From a professional perspective, Jake is fascinated by the use of mathematical modelling to simulate cellular interactions. As such, Jake is working in the Quantitative Biomedicine Lab under Dr. Kaigala to model and test the use of open microfluidics for chemical gradient generation. Additionally, Jake has recently had his interests piqued in synthetic biology, winning McGill’s Sustainability in Synthetic Biology Conference with a design of baker’s yeast able to carbon source from polyethylene. In his time at UBC, Jake hopes to complement his extensive industry internship experiences with research skills, with the aim of graduating next year well-rounded in all of the steps behind a product’s research and development to market entry.

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Sofia Colmenares

Sofia Colmenares is a 3rd-year Food Science student at UBC. After growing up in Colombia, she obtained an associate’s degree in Baking and Pastry Arts from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Inspired by her experience as the Latin American Cultural Exchange Fellow at the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute, she arrived to Vancouver in 2020 to advance her studies. Since September 2022, Sofia has been engaged as a WorkLearn Project Assistant at the Foster Laboratory, where she is exploring the fascinating world of mass spectrometry and its application to analyze metabolites in honey. With her mentors, Dr. Leonard Foster and Dr. Armando Alcazar Magana, Sofia is working towards developing a mass spectrometry database of honey composition. This will establish a comprehensive and reliable resource for data on honey’s chemical composition, helping us understand the complex flavor and nutritional properties of this delicious natural sweetener.

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Sabine Lim

Sabine is in her third year of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Victoria. She grew up in Vancouver, BC and enjoys good food, traveling and playing piano. She is interested in research and design in the medical field and using technology to improve healthcare. She will be working on her Synergy project with Dr. Peter Cripton this summer in his ICORD lab. She will be developing and testing an omnidirectional surrogate neck for research in head trauma and SCI. By simulating and testing this surrogate neck upon impact, they will gain insight into the biomechanics of the human neck during different types of accidents, aswell as how to best prevent them. Some of her applicable technical skills include stress testing, design and 3D printing. She hopes to improve her research and design skills throughout this project, as well as gain valuable project work experience and technical skills while contributing to meaningful SCI research.

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Nikolay Alabi

Nikolay Alabi (he/him/his) is a first year medical student at UBC who was raised in Calgary, AB and completed his undergraduate degree at Queen’s University. He is passionate about the use of technology and AI to improve health and well-being. His past personal projects include developing a machine learning algorithm to differentiate between esohageal-like and gastric-like cancer at the gastroesophageal junction using molecular methylation data. In his free time he enjoys playing basketball and skateboarding. Under the supervision of Dr. Ali Bashashati, he will develop machine learning models to analyze ovarian cancer histological slide images in order to improve classification and diagnosis.

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Maria Stephenson

Maria Stephenson is a fifth year computer science student, minoring in microbiology and immunology. She is interested in pursuing translational bioinformatics – a field of research in which computational tools are developed and applied to patient data, with the goal of identifying new avenues for treatment and improving disease outcomes. Her past research experiences range from developing a visualization tool for RNA expression in single cells, to characterizing the epigenomes and transcriptomes of acute myeloid leukemias. Currently she is working in the Karsan lab at the Genome Sciences Centre, where she is investigating how the epigenome affects response to azacitidine treatment in myelodysplastic syndromes. She is excited to learn more about myelodysplastic syndromes, and gain experience working with different types of sequencing data.

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Omar Husain Syed

Omar Husain is a third-year Applied Biology student. He is fond of learning about immunology and understanding how the immune system responds to different groups of pathogens. Currently, he is an undergraduate research student at the School of Biomedical Engineering investigating the immune regulation of muscle repair; his primary focus will be the analysis of skeletal muscle regeneration in STAT6-deficient mice in the context of both chronic and acute muscle injury. Omar is quite grateful for this unique opportunity and will be conducting his research at the Kelly McNagny lab under the leadership of Dr. Melina Messing. Outside of research work, Omar is also an International Undergraduate Student Scholar and the Vice-President of the UBC Food Science Club. With the SBME Synergy program, Omar hopes to identify how the absence of a functional type-2 immune response might change the overall pathogenesis of DMD which would lead to the discovery of novel therapeutic targets.

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Maiara Burgess

Maiara Burgess is a second-year Biology undergraduate student at UBC, specializing in cell and developmental biology. In her free time, she enjoys playing the guitar, Latin dancing, and hiking. She is particularly interested in how changes in the brain circuits are related to neurodevelopmental disorders. Currently, Maiara is working as a research assistant in the Haas Lab at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. During the summer, she will mainly be investigating the impact of mutations associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder on neuronal growth and excitability. She plans to use the program Dynamo to image and measure the growth behavior of neurons. Maiara is excited to continue working in the Haas Lab, where she will gain valuable skills such as programming 3D models of tectum neurons and imagining neuron growth.

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Keheng Wang

Keheng (Tina) Wang is a third-year Microbiology and Immunology student at UBC. Throughout her learning in the degree, she developed a great interest in human immunology and developmental biology, specifically in the area of hematopoiesis and stem cell self-renewal. This summer, she will work closely with Dr. Margarita MacAldaz at Connie Eaves Lab, aiming to identify the immunophenotypes that stably characterize human fetal liver hematopoietic stem cells with retained regenerative capability in various culture conditions. Through this experience, she hopes to deepen her knowledge of human stem cell biology and gain proficiency in a diverse range of wet lab techniques, gaining a solid foundation for future research. Outside of school, Tina loves painting and music. She also enjoys cooking and is a big fan of bubble tea.

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Ghazal Fallahpour

Ghazal Fallahpour is entering her third year of Biomedical Engineering at UBC. She was born in Iran and raised for in Vancouver, BC. Her interests lay in developing software for medical diagnostic and treatment devices. Over the summer she will be working at the Shadgan lab in ICORD, developing a high-performance signal processing software, as well as visualization tools for displaying signal data and analysis results for a NIRS device. She is currently apart of a project in the Rideout Lab, analyzing experimental lipidomic data of drosophila. Outside of academics you can find her working as a Personal Trainer at UBC Recreation or searching for the best restaurants in the city.

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Steve Wang

Steve is a third year student in Biochemistry from Faculty of Science. This summer, he will be woking in Dr. Eric Jan’s lab as an undergraduate research assistant to develop new strategies on improving synthetic circular RNA (circRNA) production and identify RNA elements that could enhance their therapeutic protein expression. In particular, he will be evaluating the viability of a novel circRNA synthesis approach and creating an algorithm to annotate functional RNA elements from recent metagenomic analysis. Due to its extraordinary intracellular stability, Steve is really interested in the therapeutic potential of circRNA. However, challenges including complicated manufacturing process and limited translation efficiency greatly restricted its therapeutic applications to this date. Therefore, from this experience, Steve is hoping to address these challenges by streamlining the production of circRNA and improving its design. In his free time, Steve enjoys watching movies and reading novels. His favorite protein is glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase.

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Qide Ma

Qide Ma is a Manufacturing Engineering student, focusing on mechanical and manufacturing aspects of engineering. He believes this knowledge is critical to other research-based engineering fields, as it facilitates the design and production of related hardware and software necessary to support research activities. In a previous project, He developed a digital dispenser cap that monitored residual silicon volume in non-transparent dispensers. This design integrated hardware and software components, featuring a laser sensor and display for station operators in a factory manufacturing environment. During the Synergy studentship program this summer, Qide will work alongside Dr. Jane Hill. He will be involved in technical activities and tests aimed at integrating sensor modules into the multi-channel universal breath cartridge (UBC) of the lab’s beta sampler prototype for respiratory disease and breath biomarker analysis. He hopes to gain a better understanding of applying engineering design in the biomedical field and to build connections with program participants.

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Bjorn Holst

Björn Holst is a second-year Computer Science student currently pursuing his degree at UBC. He was born in Vancouver, Canada, and grew up in Saudi Arabia, where he developed an interest in science and technology during his time interning at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). His current research interests revolve around applying machine learning and data visualization to STEM, with a focus on genetics, human movement, and robotics. His prior experience in the area has involved applying reinforcement learning in Unity ML-Agents and visualizing epigenomic data with Pandas and Tidyverse. He is currently working under Dr. Carl de Boer and Abdul Muntakim Rafi to refine existing cis-regulatory ML models, with the aim of improving their ability to predict gene expression from DNA regulatory sequences. Outside of academics, Björn loves volleyball, playing chess, and poetry.

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Jason Yuan

Jason Yuan is a second-year biomedical engineering student at UBC who was born and raised in Vancouver, BC. In his spare time, he enjoys playing soccer, ultimate frisbee, and listening to music. From his love for sports, he has developed an interest in sports biomechanics and improving athletes’ health and well-being using technology. This summer, he will be working as a research assistant in the Human Motion Biomechanics Lab (HuMBL). Under the supervision of Dr. Calvin Kuo, he will be performing video analysis of UBC soccer athletes who are instrumented with wearable sensors. This will be used to develop machine learning algorithms to predict the risks of lower limb injury. Jason hopes to learn more about wearable sensor assembly, as well as kinematics measurements and their relevance to the biomechanics of movement.

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George Xu

George Xu is a fifth year Applied Science student majoring in Engineering Physics. He is interested in using technology such as machine learning in medical applications. Currently he is working with Dr. Roger Tam and Dr. Rachel Eddy to predict hyperpolarized xenon-129 gas MRI images from CT scans in the lungs. Through this experience he hopes to hone his skills and accumulate knowledge in the biomedical field in preparation for graduate studies or future work.

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Aditya Swaro

Aditya Swaro is a second-year neuroscience student who was raised in Calgary, AB. He is passionate about developing computational neuroscience tools and using AI to improve the healthcare workflow. His prior research involved exploring the use of point-of-care ultrasound techniques to pre-screen for brain disease, aiming to address the issue of prolonged MRI wait times. For his Synergy project, he is working in Dr. Mark Cembrowski’s Lab, where he will develop computational tools for interpreting traumatic brain injury spatial transcriptomics data, and develop a web portal to host these data and tools. In his free time, Aditya enjoys playing soccer and making terrariums.

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Bhavya Sabbineni

Bhavya Sabbineni is a third-year Biomedical Engineering student at the University of British Columbia. She is interested in applying synthetic biology and genetic engineering to address real-world problems and improve lives. She has a keen interest in combining molecular biology and technology and actively participates in UBC iGEM, a student-led research team, to pursue her passion. At the James Johnson Lab, she is investigating the transcriptional factors and molecular mechanisms that contribute to the dynamic nature of the Ins2 gene in pancreatic beta cells. Her research involves high-content imaging, screening, and insulin secretion assays to assess beta-cell subpopulations. Understanding the functional differences in beta cell subpopulations is relevant to the field of islet homeostasis and beta-cell biology, which in turn is important for understanding the pathobiology of diabetes. Outside of work, Bhavya indulges in reading, outdoor activities, and science communication.

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Ali Zaidi

Ali is a 4th year Microbiology & Immunology student at UBC. He is passionate about exploring the transformative potential of non-invasive techniques, including advanced imaging and biomarkers, to optimize patient care and improve outcomes. This summer, Ali will be working under the supervision of Dr. Jonathan Loree at BC Cancer to evaluate the effectiveness of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) as a predictive tool for assessing treatment response in neuroendocrine tumour patients undergoing Peptide Receptor Radioligand Therapy (PRRT). Ali is also part of the UBC Biomedical Engineering Student Team where he is investigating the impact of naturally-derived polyphenols on pancreatic beta-cell apoptosis and insulin secretion. He looks forward to an exciting summer program and gaining valuable experience in cancer research.

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Katrina Jewell

Katrina is a third-year biomedical engineering student passionate about applying engineering principles to better understand and manipulate biological systems and improve the lives of others. Her current research with the Biomedical Engineering Student Team investigates the potential of cinnamon polyphenols as a novel treatment for insulin resistance and diabetes. Through the Synergy program with the Zandstra Stem Cell Bioengineering laboratory, Katrina will be continuing to develop a molecular reporting system to track expression of key transcription factors during in vitro T cell differentiation. These sensors will be used to drive the expression of transgenes to enhance T cell differentiation, which has the potential to massively lower the cost of and thereby increase accessibility to T cell therapy.

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Hanna Khan

Hanna Khan is a third-year biomedical engineering student at UBC, with a specialization in biomedical informatics. She is passionate about the use of mathematical tools to solve problems in medicine. This broadens her research interests to fields of engineering, computer science and artificial intelligence to advance medical industry solutions. This summer Hanna will be working under Professor Ilker Hacihaliloglu to explore de-identification, a process of removing identifying features of an individual’s clinical data for medical imaging AI development. In partnership with Synthesis Health, her goal is to understand which features are most relevant and can be kept, without re-identification. The outcome of this research will aid the development of new approaches and regulatory guidelines for current de-identification methods of medical imaging data. Outside school, Hanna is co-captain of Multiple Sclerosis to Movement (M2M), a sub-team on UBC Biomedical Engineering Student Team (BEST). In her free time, she enjoys badminton, playing the viola and jogging.

2022 Cohort



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Allison Dummel

Allison Dummel is a third year student in the Faculty of Sciences, working on her Biology degree. She is working with the Blakney Lab to develop a procedure for freeze-drying RNA-encapsulating lipid nanoparticles in order to increase the shelf life and stability of future RNA vaccines.

Amy Ker

Amy Ker is a UBC medical student part of the Class of 2025. Amy grew up in Vancouver, on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Traditional Territory. She completed her BSc at McGill in Neuroscience in 2020. After spending time researching the development of spinal circuitry in her undergrad, Amy became interested in the complexity of brain and spinal cord injury. She hopes to continue pursuing this interest in the field of medicine by exploring novel treatment options for nervous system injury. She will be working with Dr. Michael Berger at ICORD investigating functional outcomes following nerve transfer surgery. She is grateful and excited to be a part of the SBME Summer program.

Angie Peng

Angie Peng is currently a second year Biomedical Engineering student at the University of British Columbia. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, skiing, and baking. Angie is originally from Calgary, Alberta, and is interested in neurodegenerative diseases and therapeutics. She also has a mechanical engineering role on the Biomedical Engineering Design Team (BEST). This summer, Angie will be working under the guidance of Dr. Shernaz Bamji to ultimately determine factors which impact myelination rates, with future applications in regenerative medicines for patients with Multiple Sclerosis. She will be working with cuprizone treated demyelinated mice, and exhibiting differing expression rates of the palmitoylating enzyme DHHC9 to measure its sufficiency in increasing myelination. Angie is extremely eager to see what this summer holds, and looks forward to the opportunities provided under Synergy.

Ardin (Art) Sacayanan

Ardin (Art) Sacayanan is a graduating student majoring in biomedical engineering, specializing in cellular bioengineering. This summer, he will be working with Dr. Laksman to study arrythmias in patients with a history of sudden cardiac arrest. In his spare time, he likes to hike, camp, read, sketch, paint, build, and do a bit of gardening. He has also developed an interest for watching movies recently, and he welcomes suggestions. He looks forward to meeting everyone.

Christian Thorson

Christian Thorson is a first-year bachelor of science student at UBC. Christian has lived in Vancouver for most of their life, and graduated from Mulgrave school last year. Christian’s project involves the usage of machine learning to automatically grade prostate cancer. Christian’s interest in machine learning and the intersections between health and engineering was kickstarted by working under Dr. Abolmaesumi on a machine learning project – Christian had the opportunity to sit in on several meetings with his team, who were at the time collaborating with the Vancouver General Hospital echocardiography lab on the implementation of artificial intelligence in echocardiography.

Christina Pan

Christina Pan is a third year student in UBC’s Biochemistry Honours program. While at UBC, she completed the Science One program in her first year and continues to be involved with this program as a Wellness Tutorial Leader – providing first year students with tools to help them manage their time, stress levels, and general wellbeing. Over the summer, she will be working on a project that seeks to identify substrates of MALT1 and whether or not the cleavage of known substrates will vary with different CBM platforms. Outside of school, Christina enjoys playing the piano and tennis.

David McKay

David McKay is a 4th year undergraduate student in the Biomedical Engineering program at UBC. His project this summer will focus on characterizing stem cells while optimizing their maintenance and differentiation to insulin-producing cells for type 1 diabetes treatment in the Kieffer Lab. He enjoys playing soccer, going for long runs, and listening to podcasts while cleaning. He looks forward to meeting everyone in the Synergy program and seeing their projects on Research Day.

Emilie Wang

Emilie Wang is studying integrated sciences at UBC while minoring in health and society. She loves long walks, being outside in the sun, and is always happy to read a good book. This summer, she is working with Dr. Jenna Usprech. Her project focuses on research communication and education strategies that can promote science and health literacy in newcomer women to BC.

George Xu

George Xu is an undergraduate student in Engineering Physics, with a focus on software and biomedical imaging. His current project aims to develop an AI lung nodule management system, with an end goal of integration with a microwave treatment system.

Ipek Egilmez

Ipek Egilmez is finishing up her fourth year as an undergraduate student at SBME. She will be working in the Shakiba lab this summer. She moved to Canada from Turkey in 2018 to pursue a degree in engineering as one of the 35 international students in her admission year to be given the International Leader of Tomorrow Award by UBC for her achievement in academics, as well as leadership skills and community engagement projects. Ipek is in the cellular bioengineering stream of the Biomedical Engineering degree, and also doing a minor in Microbiology and Immunology. She is the team lead of UBC BEST’s Biochemical Innovation Team, and also one of the three founding members of the non-profit Building Blocks Employment.

Jason Sunardi

Jason Sunardi will be entering his third year of undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto in the fall, majoring in Biomedical Systems in the Engineering Science program. This summer he will be conducting a research project in the Yachie lab focusing on developing a novel random mutagenesis tool for high-resolution cell lineage tracing and gene editing. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, playing strategy games, and watching movies. He’s looking forward to a great summer at SBME!

Jessica Jung

Jessica Jung is a fourth-year student enrolled in the Cellular Bioengineering stream of the Biomedical Engineering program at UBC. She recently completed her co-op placement at Amgen BC where she worked collaboratively with the Functional Screening Group to examine the applications of advanced cell culture systems for bioassay antibody screening. Jessica’s final co-op term will be completed this summer at the Neural Circuits for Computation, Cognition and Control (NC4) Laboratory at UBC headed by Dr. Manu Madhav. Her work will entail optimizing and performing the protocol for iDISCO brain clearing, immunolabeling and imaging of whole brain tissue using light sheet microscopy. Jessica is actively involved with student-led teams including her role as Vice President External of Engineers Without Borders UBC, where she works with an interdisciplinary team to foster global thinkers by facilitating connections among community members and introducing them to new perspectives.

Karolina Moo

Karolina Moo is a second year undergraduate biomedical engineering student at UBC, originally from Ottawa, Ontario. She believes in technology’s potential to improve human health and diagnosis, and is particularly interested in fostering collaboration between engineers, medical professionals, and researchers alike. Karolina is also passionate about helping students from underrepresented populations pursue their interest in engineering and STEM, which she does through outreach and mentorship. Through the Synergy program, Karolina will be working with Dr. Karen Cheung and graduate students to develop a microfluidic airway-on-a-chip model to study the effect of air pollution and woodsmoke on COPD, in addition to working on the Mend the Gap spinal cord injury project. Outside of school and work, she enjoys exploring the outdoors, learning new languages and singing with her a cappella group.

Kate Halverson-Kolkind

Kate Halverson-Kolkind is a fourth year student currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Sciences at UBC. Kate became interested in research during high school, when she participated in a program offered by Oregon Health and Sciences University. She gained laboratory experience working within the Department of Proteomic where I assisted research in cataract formation. Through the experience, Kate came to appreciate the importance of collaboration, persistence, and curiosity. This summer Kate will assist Dr. Anna Herrmann in developing immunomodulating polymer conjugates to target and treat glycocalyx dysfunction in inflammatory conditions.

Katelin Flick

Katelin Flick is completing her third year of mechanical engineering at Dalhousie university and is working towards a certificate in biomedical engineering. Katelin first became interested in biomedical engineering after being introduced to it in her previous job when she was tasked with the mechanical design of a biomedical device. She is excited to have the opportunity to learn more about this field while working with a great team.

Katrina Jewell

Katrina Jewell is a second-year biomedical engineering student passionate about applying engineering principles to better understand and manipulate biological systems and improve the lives of others. Her current research with the Biomedical Engineering Student Team investigates the potential of cinnamon polyphenols as a novel treatment for insulin resistance and diabetes. Through the Synergy program with the Zandstra Stem Cell Bioengineering laboratory, Katrina will be developing a molecular reporting system to track expression of key transcription factors during in vitro T cell differentiation. These sensors will be used to drive the expression of transgenes to enhance T cell differentiation, which has the potential to massively lower the cost of and thereby increase accessibility to T cell therapy.

Makenna Clement-Ranney

Makenna Clement-Ranney was born and raised in Vaughan, Ontario, and is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Western Ontario completing an Honours Specialization in Genetics. This summer Makenna will be moving to Vancouver to work under Dr. Pamela Hoodless at the BC Cancer Research Institute on an NSERC USRA. Makenna’s project will focus on analyzing human induced pluripotent stem cells, using mouse and human in vivo data to establish the best in vitro model to study human liver development. Throughout Makenna’s undergrad, she has been a member of multiple peer support groups on campus, including the University Students’ Council Peer Support Center and the Genetic Mentorship Program, to provide students with support that is rooted in the shared student experience at Western University. Makenna loves to spend time outdoors hiking and swimming and is very excited to explore beautiful British Columbia. Makenna is excited to advance her knowledge in the field of research and aspires to one day pursue a career as a genetic counselor, whereby she hopes to use the principles of biomedical engineering to advance genetic testing and diagnosis, improving human health.

Marcus Shew

Marcus Shew is a third-year student at UBC. He is thrilled to be able to continue with research at the CBR and the opportunity to study the quality of red blood cell quality in fatty whole blood donations this summer. He is grateful for the support and mentorship of Dr. Dana Devine, Dr. Narges Hadjesfandiari, as well as the Centre for Blood Research.

Melody Weng

Melody Weng is an aspiring UBC nursing student who has completed her second year in microbiology and immunology. She is passionate about equitable public health and STEM-focused educational initiatives. On the microbiology end, she has dabbled in research involving genome extraction and sequencing on microbial matter isolated from secondary wastewater treatment plants. This summer, she is excited to perform research exploring the efficacy of calcium administration in promoting hemostasis and reducing hypovolemic shock in trauma patients. She will be quantifying relationships between calcium administration, patient outcomes, and other relevant laboratory values with data from patient charts. Through her research, she aims to gain more insight into improving trauma patient prognoses by exploring best practices in calcium administration, providing trauma physicians with empirical guidance under time-critical situations.

Nathan Louie

Nathan Louie is excited to be a part of the Synergy Program and to be working in the Foster Lab this summer! Nathan will be entering the final year of the Microbiology and Immunology program at UBC this upcoming fall, and is interested in research focused on bacteriology and host immune responses. Nathan enjoys running cycling, and going out to eat with friends!

Paniz Ghavimi

Paniz Ghavimi is a second-year student in the faculty of Sciences at UBC. Paniz is interested in human anatomy and physiology, and has a particular interest in the cardiovascular system. This summer, Paniz will be working in Dr. Conway’s lab, and investigating and exploring alternative roles for Factor D in vascular homeostasis. Paniz looks forward to developing skills and being a part of the CBR and SBME academic community.

Quan Nguyen

Quan Nguyen recently completed my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry Honours at UBC. Quan worked in the Kim lab for his thesis project, investigating the role of the actin cytoskeleton in platelet microparticle formation and release. During that time, Quan also investigated the mechanisms related to platelet activation by bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) through the toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) pathway. This summer, Quan looks forward to continuing my project to explore the signaling pathways (and intermediates) downstream of TLR4 activation in platelets.

Ralph Uy

Ralph Uy is a 4th year student at UBC majoring in Integrated Sciences with a focus on immunology and physiology. Ralph enjoys playing badminton or going to the gym, and is excited to be a part of the Synergy program!! As someone who is considering going into research in the future, being able to have the opportunity of working in a lab will help Ralph build skills and experience. Ralph is looking forward to working on his project.

Sana Ahmed

Sana Ahmed is a recent graduate with an Honours Biochemistry degree from UBC. Sana’s undergraduate thesis focused on examining the membrane contact sites between the mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum using super-resolution microscopy, and is planning to continue this project by examining their dysregulation. This has Sana occupied at the lab but outside it she loves to play the piano, converse in Vines, and explore the sights that Vancouver has to offer.

Sarah Lim

Sarah Lim is a second year undergraduate student in the electrical/biomedical engineering program. She is interested in the application of technology to healthcare and is excited to be undertaking a research project which bridges medicine and engineering. Sarah will be completing her research at the BC Cancer Research Institute’s Terry Fox Laboratory in the Eaves Lab. She is looking forward to gaining experience utilizing cellular assays to analyze variable cancer and hematopoietic stem cell behavior.

Sofie Levy

Sofie Levy is an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia completing her Bachelor of Science with a major in Biology. She spent the past year at Oak Tree Clinic as a co-op student assisting with clinical study visits for the BCC3 study which aims to learn more about the healthy aging of women living with HIV. She will now be working in the Cote lab to analyze how persistent viral infections may further contribute to HIV-induced chronic inflammation and affect all-cause mortality risk.

Stephanie Nguyen

Stephanie Nguyen is a biomedical engineering student who’s passionate about learning and creating nanotechnology, and anything related to therapeutics. She aims to be able to create novel solutions to address the needs in healthcare and industry, not just in the lab but also by working with organizations to disseminate awareness.

Sze Lok Ng

Sze Lok Ng is an incoming third-year Biomedical Engineering student. Sze enjoys reading, working out and hanging out with family and friends. Sze also greatly enjoys playing video games and watching Kdrama. Sze’s research interest is in developmental biology, especially in the process of stem cell differentiation, development and their regenerative properties. Moreover, Sze is interested in the similarities between cancerous cells and stem cells.

Tien Do

Tien Do (preferred name: Tien, pronunciation: /ti – en/, pronouns: she/her) has just finished the second year of her Joint Honours Combined UBC-BCIT Biotechnology degree. She is passionate about Microbiology and Molecular Biology, especially about how they can transform human health. As a recipient of the Centre of Blood Research Award 2022, she is going to work at Hancock Lab on evaluating the synergistic interaction between antimicrobial peptides and other antibiotics to tackle the current antibiotic resistance problem.

Tiffany Huang

Tiffany Huang is a second-year Biomedical Engineering student at the University of British Columbia. She is interested in stem cell and tissue regeneration research. This summer, under the guidance of Dr. Fabio Rossi, Tiffany will be investigating the role of stromal cells in modulating muscle mass. In her spare time, Tiffany enjoys staying active by dabbling in calisthenics, playing sports and doing Kendo. She is also a project lead on the UBC Supermileage design team and is competing at the Shell Eco-Marathon competition this April.

Waris Bhatia

Waris Bhatia is in the final year of his undergraduate degree pursuing a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc) in the Department of Pathology. He is currently supporting the universal blood project in the Kizhakkedathu Lab at the Centre for Blood Research (CBR). His interests lie in conducting translational biomedical research as well as interdisciplinary health research. In his free time, he enjoys playing chess, pottery, and going on long hikes.

Xavier Lam

Xavier Lam is a first year Applied Science student and Schulich Leader Scholar at UBC who was born and raised in Vancouver, BC. He is passionate about the use of technology and AI to improve health and well-being. Currently, he is a research assistant in the Human Motion Biomechanics Lab (HUMBL) at UBC using wearable sensors and machine learning to analyze soccer moves to predict the risk of injuries. His past personal projects include a machine learning algorithm that helps detect skin cancer, and an AI pipeline to expedite CT scan segmentation for mandible imaging. In his free time, he enjoys playing piano and saxophone, watching anime, and listening to jazz music. Xavier’s background as a competitive épée fencer for over 10 years inspired his Synergy project this summer. Under the supervision of Dr. Calvin Kuo, he will analyze the biomechanics of fencing lunges using motion capture techniques in order to examine the physical stresses responsible for common knee injuries in fencers.

Yasmin Lau

Yasmine Lau is a 4th year Biochemistry student in KMM Lab. Her ongoing projects heavily involve podocalyxin protein and consequences of its heterozygosity relating to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). For the past year, Yasmine has been studying and carrying out induction of nephrotic syndromes in in vivo renal disease murine models, working towards a mechanism of FSGS. Her current inquiries involve a multidisciplinary collaboration with other labs and experts at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) to develop a non-invasive, inexpensive method of detecting and diagnosing fibrotic kidney disease with quantitative ultrasound (QUS). Apart from research, Yasmine’s interests include art projects of varying mediums, bone maceration, and foil fencing.