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Faculty and Residents

Sourabh Shukla, Ph.D.

Sourabh is a CSE BME Research Assistant Professor and has been a member of the Steinmetz lab since 2010. His work has been focused on evaluation of structure-function relationships of viral nanoparticles (VNP) and developing VNP-based platform technology for drug delivery and imaging applications. His current research interest lies in development of viral nanoparticles based cancer vaccines and immunotherapies. Prior to his current work at Steinmetz lab he did post-doctoral research at the Bar-Ilan University, Israel (2008-2010) working on the development of nanoparticle-based anti-viral therapies.  Sourabh obtained his PhD from the National Chemical Lab in Pune, India (2007).

Hema Masarapu, Ph.D.

Dr. Hema Masarapu is a Professor in the Department of Virology, Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, India. She received her master’s and Ph.D., degrees in Virology from the same University. She has 20 years of research experience in the field of Molecular Virology by working in reputed national and international laboratories such as Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore, India), Indian Immunologicals Ltd. (Hyderabad, India), Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana) and Texas A & M University (College Station, Texas). She is working on projects related to molecular characterization of plant viruses, development of viral diagnostic tools and development of virus-based nanocarriers. She is the first inventor of a novel diagnostic technology based on a process which was patented by Indian Immunologicals Ltd in India, US, Europe and Australia. She has 7 book chapters and 40 publications to her credit. She was awarded with United States-IndiaEducation Foundation (USIEF) Fulbright Nehru Academic and ProfessionalExcellence Fellowship for the year 2016-2017 and currently she is working as Fulbright visiting faculty at Dr. Nicole Steinmetz Laboratory, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University. 

Ravi Patel, M.D. Ph.D.

Ravi is a fifth year resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center as well as an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. He received his Ph.D. in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University where the focus of his thesis work was on imaging and intratumoral drug delivery devices. During residency, he has developed an interest in classical radiobiology and combination drug therapies to enhance the efficacy of radiation treatments. His current research focus in the Steinmetz lab is on developing treatment strategies combining radiation and viral based immunotherapy.  

Post-doctoral Fellows

Andrzej Pitek, Ph.D.

Andrzej is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Steinmetz lab. His interests lie in viral nanoparticle based delivery systems for clinical applications. His work will focus on investigation how nanoparticle design influences their fate in biological systems (i.e. target accumulation, clearance time and biodistribution) in context of theranostics of cardiovascular diseases. Andrzej obtained his Ph.D. from University College Dublin in Ireland (2014), where he investigated the effects of protein corona on BioNano interactions of nanoparticles with blood plasma and cellular machinery. In his free time he enjoys fiction books and movies, traveling and socializing with friends over a Guinness or two…

Patricia Lam, Ph.D.

Patricia is a Postdoctoral Scholar and joined the Steinmetz lab in March 2015.  She received her Ph.D. in Botany in 2013 from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada where her thesis work uncovered a novel pathway for the regulation of cuticular wax biosynthesis in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.  As the lab molecular biologist, she has developed a diagnostic tool for detecting Ebola. Her ongoing work focuses on synthetic biology approaches to nanomanufacture plant viruses.  Outside the lab, Patricia enjoys traveling and doing nerdy things like reading comic books and playing Heroclix.

Brylee Tiu, Ph.D.

Brylee is a joint post-doctoral researcher working in the laboratories of Dr. Nicole Steinmetz in Biomedical Engineering and Dr. Rigoberto Advincula in the Macromolecular Science & Engineering department. Early 2016, he has obtained his Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University where he fabricated thin polymer film sensors and multi-component conducting polymer micropatterns. His work is now geared toward mesoscale assemblies and mesoporous films using virus-based building blocks. Outside research, he enjoys biographies, broadway musicals, occasional trips to NYC, and lots of karaoke.

Duc Le, Ph.D.

Duc Le is a Postdoctoral Scholar and joined the Steinmetz Lab in February 2016. His research focuses on using viralnanoparticles for drug delivery and cancer immunotherapies. Duc obtained his Ph.D. in ChemicalEngineering from the University of Tokyo, Japan where he conducted his work on designing novel elastin-like polypeptides for tissue engineering applications. In his spare time, Duc likes to travel, go to concerts, or draw manga.  

He (Andy) Hu, Ph.D.

Andy joined the Steinmetz lab as a Postdoctoral Scholar in April 2016. His research interest lies on the development of multifunctional nanomaterials for molecular imaging and nanomedicine application. His current research will focus on the virus nanoplatform for MRI and therapy of cancer. He obtained his PhD from Fudan University, China (2009), he then worked one year as postdoctoral research associate at University of SouthernCalifornia (2012). He then was awarded a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship, and moved to the University of Torino in Italy for 2 years (2013-2015). In his free time, he likes watching movies,traveling, and he is a half-Marathon runner.

Chao Wang, Ph.D.

Chao is a Postdoctoral Scholar and joined the Steinmetz lab in May 2017. She is interested in plant viral nanoparticle-based immunotherapeutic strategies for the treatment of cancer. She received her Ph.D. in Environmental Science in 2015 from Iowa State University. The focus of her thesis was on detection of extremely low concentration waterborne pathogen using a multiplexing self-referencing SERS microfluidic biosensor. She worked one year (2016) as a postdoctoral scholar at Georgia State University in investigating novel nanoparticle-based influenza vaccines. Outside research, she enjoys music and road trips.

Hui Cai, Ph.D.

Dr. Hui Cai joined the Steinmetz Lab in June 2017 as a postdoctoral research associate. His current research focuses on the plant viral nanoparticle-based vaccines for cancer immunotherapy. He obtained his PhD from Tsinghua University in 2011 with the focus of his thesis on MUC1 glycopeptide anti-tumor vaccines. He was awarded a Humboldt Postdoctoral fellowship and worked in Germany from 2012 to 2014. From 2015 to 2017, he worked as a postdoctoral scholar at University of Maryland on chemoenzymatic synthesis of N-linked glycopeptide with special focus on HIV-1 vaccine development. In his free time, he enjoys watching soccer and traveling.

Jooneon Park, Ph.D.

Jooneon Park joined Steinmetz lab as a postdoctoral scholar in Aug 2017. He earned his PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Utah (2017). His research interest lie in nanoparticle-based diagnostics and disease therapy. His current research in our lab is designing TMV nanoparticles for risk stratification and intervention of deep vain thrombosis.

Lab Manager

Frank Veliz, M.Sc.

Frank Veliz joined the Steinmetz lab in Winter 2015. Frank is the Steinmetz Lab Manager. He collaborates with Dr. Pitek on the engineering of nanoparticle surfaces with biomolecules to create stealth particles capable of avoiding the mononuclear phagocyte system. In ongoing work he is developing virus-inspired photonic devices. Frank graduated with a master’s degree in Medical Physiology from Case Western Reserve University in 2015. He previously completed his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California, Irvine. In his spare time, Frank likes to watch LA Lakers games, play the guitar, go to concerts, and travel.

Graduate Students

Anna Czapar

Anna  is an M.D./Ph.D. student in Pathology from Rochester, IL.  She joined the lab in August 2013 after graduating from University of Illinois with a degree in Bioengineering.  She is interested in targeted plant virus-based drug delivery and how viral nanoparticles affect the immune system.  Outside of lab she enjoys cooking, riding her bike, and being outside.

Abner Murray

Abner is a M.D./Ph.D. Student in Molecular Virology. Abner was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and raised in Miami, Florida. He graduated from Florida International University (FIU) with a B.S. in Biology. As a MARC U-STAR and Ronald E. McNair Fellow at FIU, he conducted research on the translational initiation strategies of mammalian Orthoreoviruses. In 2011, he enrolled in the MSTP at CWRU, where he has been involved as a regional board member of the Student National Medical Association and a National board member with the Latino Medical Student Association. Abner joined the Steinmetz Lab in January 2015 and he is studying plant virus-based cancer immunotherapies. 

Mike Jandzinski

Mike graduated in 2015 from the University of Connecticut honors program majoring inPhysiology & Neurobiology and completed his honors thesis on the effects of the endogenous gut floraon ischemic stroke. After completing his undergraduate education, he moved to continue work on hisproject at the Texas Medical Center in Houston in Dr. Louise D. McCullough’s lab. He moved to Clevelandin the summer of 2016 after joining the Medical Scientist Training Program at Case Western ReserveUniversity School of Medicine. 

Neetu Gulati

Neetu is a Ph.D. Student in Pharmacology, Co-Mentor: Phoebe Stewart, Ph.D. Neetu is a graduate student from Michigan.She came to CWRU in 2012 after completing her undergraduate degree at theUniversity of Michigan in Biochemistry and Biophysics and her masters degree atWayne State University in Basic Medical Sciences. She is co-mentored by Dr.Phoebe Stewart of CWRU Pharmacology. She is interested in understanding thestructure of viral particles for use in the development of therapeutics bycryo-electron microscopy. She can frequently be found at the Cleveland Centerfor Membrane and Structural Biology (CCMSB). Neetu enjoys cooking, knitting,and being outdoors.

Paul Chariou

Paul is a Ph.D. Student in Biomedical Engineering. Paul joined the Steinmetz lab in September 2011 for his undergraduate research on targeted plant virus nanoparticles [Bioconjugate Chem 2015].  His current work in synthetic virology explores novel virus-templated designs for sensing applications.  When not in the lab (or studying for the next exam), Paul likes to listen to music, watch movies, spend time with his friends, play video games and badminton.

Richard Lin

Richard is a Ph.D. Student in Biomedical Engineering. Rich obtained his B.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Connecticut in 2015. In the Steinmetz Lab Rich develops and studies virus-based theranostics for cancer imaging and treatment.

Christina Franke

Christina Franke is a BS/MS student in biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University. She joined the Steinmetz lab in the fall of 2014, and her research focuses on the development of viral nanoparticles as drug delivery systems for ovarian cancer treatment. In her free time, Christina enjoys singing a cappella and exploring Cleveland.

Bindi Patel

Bindi Patel is a MS Student in Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. She joined the Steinmetz Lab in Fall of 2016 and her research focuses on developing viral nanoparticles based cancer vaccines for triple negative breast cancer treatment.

Laura Marin Caba

Laura is a PhD Student in Physical Chemistry at University of Vigo (Spain). She graduated from Polytechnic University of Valencia with a MS degree in Biotechnology. She joined to Steinmetz lab in April of 2017 as Visiting Graduate Student. Her research focuses on development of carbon nanotube-based, and now also virus-based nanocomposite for biomedical applications. In the Steinmetz lab, she studies viral-based nanostructures for drug delivery. Outside the lab, Laura enjoys sports in nature and painting.

Brendan Barton

Brendan is an M.D./Ph.D. student in Pathology/Immunology, originally from the Philadelphia suburbs. He graduated from the University of Rochester with a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.A. in German Studies. Previous to joining the MSTP at Case Western Reserve University in 2014, he studied the role of T cell memory in allogeneic models of pregnancy with Dr. Paige Porrett and Dr. E. John Wherry. He is interested in the response of the immune system to viral nanoparticle-based cancer immunotherapy. In his free time, Brendan enjoys crossword puzzles, reading, and triathlons.

Undergraduate Students

Xingjian (Jack) Gong

Jack is a sophomore biomedical engineering student on the biomaterials track at Case Western Reserve University. He started working in the lab in the fall of 2015. His research focuses on engineering cowpea mosaic virus and potato virus X as a platform for HER2-positive cancer treatment. In spare time, Jack likes to write Chinese caligraphy, play badminton, play the flute, and travel.

Alan Dogan

Alan is a freshman biomedical engineering student at Case Western Reserve University. He joined the Steinmetz Lab in the fall of 2016. Alan is a member of the Case tennis and fencing clubs and enjoys hanging out with friends and going to the gym in his free time.

Akshata Rudrapatna

Akshata is a first-year Systems Biology and Origins Sciences student at Case Western Reserve University. She joined the Steinmetz lab in the spring of 2017. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and playing the violin. 

Cian Desai

Cian is a second year biomedical engineering student at Case Western Reserve University who joined the Steinmetz Lab in the fall of 2017. On campus, Cian is a member of Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity and co-president of TEDxCWRU. In his spare time, he enjoys playing recreational sports and hiking.



Ibrahim Yildiz, Ph.D.


Jon Whitney, Ph.D.


Mike Bruckman, Ph.D.


Ph.D. students

Amy Wen, Ph.D.


Karin Lee, Ph.D.


Master Students

Daniel Kernan, M.S.


Visiting Faculty

Peter, Cigler, Ph.D.

Academy of Science of the Czech Republic

visited in 2011, 2012

Post-doctoral Fellows

Ibrahim Yildiz, Ph.D. from Miami University | Steinmetz Lab 2010-2012, Post-doctoral Research Associate | present: Professor at Khalifa University of Science, Technology, and Research (KUSTAR), Abu Dhabi |

Jon Whitney, Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. | Steinmetz Lab 2013-2014, Post-doctoral NIH trainee | present: Research Associate in the Center of Computational Imaging and Personalized Diagnostics.

Mike Bruckman, Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina | Steinmetz Lab 2012-2015 | present: Scientific Director of NanoBioSystems (Cleveland, OH) and Adjunct Faculty Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University

Graduate Students

Amy Wen, Ph.D. | Steinmetz Lab 2011-2016 | Thesis: Engineering virus-based nanoparticles for applications in drug delivery, imaging, and biotechnology. | present: post-doctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

Karin Lee, Ph.D. | Steinmetz Lab 2011-2016 | Thesis: High aspect ratio plant virus-based carriers for cancer therapy | present: post-doctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute at NIH.

Dan Kernan, M.S. | aka Master Dan | Steinmetz Lab 2013-2016. Thesis: Delivery of Potent Anti-MitoticChemotherapeutic Using High AspectRatio, Soft Matter Nanoparticles | Engineer at Epic Consulting.

Visiting Researchers

Herdis Bludau | Ph.D. Student at TU Dresden in Germany, advisor: Professor Dr. Rainer Jordan) | She visited the Steinmetz Lab in the Fall of 2015.

Luan Africa, M.Sc. | Ph.D. Student at Stellenbosch University, advisors: Professor Dr. Johan Burger and Dr. Hano Maree |  He visited the Steinmetz Lab in the Summer of 2015.

Peter Cigler, Ph.D. | Principal Investigator at the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic | He and his Team visited the Steinmetz Lab in 2011 and 2012.

Undergraduate students

Craig D’Cruz (BME, Fall 2011, Spring 2012), Brian So (BME, Fall 2011, Spring 2012), Christine DeBaez (BME, Summer 2012), Josh Mealy (REU student from University of Pittsburgh, Summer 2011), Mary Ryan (Honors Student, University of Dayton,Summer 2011), Siji Oluwadara (REU student from Vanderbilt University, Summer2012), Sid (Sourav) Dey (BME, Spring 2011-Fall 2012), Samuel Alexander (BME,Spring 2011-Fall 2012), Nadia Ayat (BME, Fall 2010-Spring 2013), Kevin Chen (BME, Fall 2010-Spring 2013), Alice Yang (BME, Summer 2011-Spring 2013), Pooja Rambhia (Biochemistry, Summer 2012-Spring 2013, Co-mentor, Neil Greenspan, CWRU Pathology), Matt Plecha (BME, Summer 2012-Spring 2013), Steven Hern (BME, Fall2011-Fall 2013), 

Mengzhi Wu (BME, Spring 2013-Spring 2014), John Kim (Biology,Summer 2014-Spring 2015),  Nick DiFranco (BME, Spring 2014-Spring 2015), Lauren Randolph (BME, Fall 2011-Spirng 2015), Paul Chariou (BME, Fall 2011-Spring 2015), Allen VanMeter (BME, Summer 2012-Spring 2015), Greg Hsu (Chemistry, Spring 2013-Spring 2015), Michael McBurney (BME, Spring 2013-Spring 2015), Diana Acosta (BME, Summer 2013-Spring2015), Adithy Nagarajan (BME, Fall 2013-Spring 2016), Katherine Krawiec (BME, Summer 2014-Spring 2016), Slater Jameson (BME, Fall 2014-Spring 2016), Sarah Woods (BME, Summer 2014-Spring 2016), 

Jacob Schimelman (Macro, Summer 2012-Spring 2016), Bryce Stamp (BME, Fall 2014-Fall 2016), Jeffrey Shen (BME, Summer 2016-Fall 2016), Stephen Wang, (BME, Summer 2016-Fall 2016), Paul Lin (CSU, Fall 2016-Spring 2017), Ishan Singhal (Fall 2016-Spring 2017), Jing Pu (Fall 2016-Spring 2017).

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