Members

Laboratory Manager

Ronak Afshari

Dr. Ronak Afshari received her B.Sc. in Chemistry from Tehran University (2010); M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry from Amirkabir University of Technology (2013) and Ph.D. degree in Organic Chemistry from Shahid Beheshti University (2019), Tehran-Iran, for studies concerning functionalization of carbonaceous nanomaterials as well as metal/polymeric nanoparticles for drug delivery and catalysis. Meanwhile, she has been awarded the best researcher of 2019 among Ph.D. students at Shahid Beheshti University. She also pursued a postdoctoral course in the Department of Physics at the Sharif University of Technology with a focus on the synthesis and functionalization of nanobubbles as neoteric medicinal platforms. She has over 25 papers, reviews and science books and made over 5 announcements at international scientific conferences. Her current research interests lie in designing novel organic synthetic routes for the functionalization of nanomaterials including carbon nanostructures and biopolymers, in developing multifaceted and stimuli-responsive biomaterials. Her hobbies include reading, traveling and spending time with her friends/family.

rafshari@g.ucla.edu

Postdoctoral Scholars

Tess De Maeseneer

Dr. Tess De Maeseneer joined the Annabi lab in March 2024. She obtained a B. Sc. degree in Engineering Sciences from KU Leuven (Belgium) in 2017. Afterwards, she enrolled in a M. SC. program in Chemical Engineering at KU Leuven (Belgium). In 2019, she decided to join the Soft Matter, Rheology and Technology lab (KU Leuven,Belgium) as a PhD student. Her PhD work was centered around the development of a novel breast reconstruction method in close collaboration with UGent (Belgium), VUB (Belgium) and UZGent (Belgium). Her main research focus was on the structural characterization of injectable hydrogels intended to be used as scaffold materials. She currently works for the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and the Department of Medicine at UCLA under joint mentorship of Dr. Nasim Annabi and Dr. Renea Sturm. The main focus of her work is on the use of advanced fabrication methods for the regeneration of a hierarchical blood vessel network in urological tissues. In her free time, she likes to do sports, meet with friends and travel to the world’s most famous surf spots.

tess.demaeseneer@kuleuven.be

Arpita Roy

Dr. Arpita Roy joined the research group of Prof. Annabi as a postdoctoral researcher in 2022. She obtained her B.Sc. degree from the University of Burdwan, India in 2014 and completed her M.Sc. degree in chemistry (Gold Medalist) from Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines) Dhanbad, Jharkhand, India in 2016. Then, she received her Ph.D. degree from Dept. of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines) Dhanbad, in 2022 under the supervision of Prof. Sagar Pal at IIT (ISM) Dhanbad. Prof. Santanu Dhara from School of Medical Science and Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT KGP) was her external supervisor. Her research interests include the synthesis and design of various hydrogels/composites and their biomedical applications. In leisure time she likes to dance, travel, and spend time with her family and friends.

arpitachem28@g.ucla.edu

Yavuz Oz

Dr. Yavuz Oz received his B.Sc. in Chemistry in 2010 from Gazi University. Then, he completed his M.Sc. in 2014 and Ph.D. in 2020 in Chemistry at Bogazici University under supervision of Prof. Amitav Sanyal. During his Ph.D., he focused on smart polymer nanocomposites and graphene based materials tailored for targeted delivery and imaging. After gaining 2 years of experience in industry, Dr. Yavuz Oz started his post-doctoral studies in Prof Nasim Annabi`s research group in Spring of 2022. Currently, he is working on functional polymeric nano-platforms utilized for targeted delivery and controlled release. In his spare time, he enjoys travelling, spending time with his family, and watching Premier League.

yoz@g.ucla.edu

Visiting Scholar

Sabooh ul Ain

Sabooh ul Ain is a PhD scholar from Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan. Her research area is ‘Designing Biocompatible Materials for Tissue Regeneration’. She worked on the ‘Fabrication of Biodegradable Metallic Bone Implants’ in her Masters at the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Institute of Advance Materials, at Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan with Prof. Dr. Muhammad Najam-ul-Haq. Now she is working on Composite Nano-Materials for Bone Tissue Regeneration in Ph.D Research. She also works on Oxidized Regenerated Cellulose (ORC) based hemostatic materials and alginate-based wound dressing with Masters students in Pakistan. She joined the Annabi Lab on 1 st February 2024 as a visiting scholar for 6 months on the Research Support Initiative Program (IRSIP) from the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. Here she is working on the Interphase Tissue Regeneration for Dental Pulp by 3D Bioprinting. She is enjoying her time here in the States learning and exploring her field of studies and also exploring LA with her new friends and colleagues. She also likes to spend her free time listening to music and talking to her family and friends back home in Pakistan.

saboohulain@g.ucla.edu

Zijian Zhong

Zijian is a volunteer research assistant in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department. Raised in Beijing, a city full of universities, Zijian has a background in magnetic resonance imaging from his alma mater, Case Western Reserve University, and a background in semiconductor fabrication as well as drug delivery in his master school, Johns Hopkins University. He has done research on microinjectors for oral-delivery of macromolecular drugs and interned at an exoskeleton designing company. Currently, he is working on electrospinning and 3D bioprinting projects with Ronak. In his spare time, Zijian enjoys listening to pop music and watching soccer matches.

zijianzhong0519@g.ucla.edu

Graduate Students

Yuting Zheng

Yuting began her research in Professor Annabi’s lab as a PhD student at UCLA in the Fall of 2020. She received her bachelor’s degree with a major of Chemistry from University of Shanghai for Science and Technology and received her master’s degree from University of California, Berkeley, majoring in Chemical Engineering. During her master’s degree, she worked in Prof. Phillip Messersmith’s lab as a student researcher. Her research fields mainly focus on developing functional biomaterials with tunable mechanics, self-healing properties and stimuli-responsive behaviors for a wide range of biomedical applications such as tissue regeneration, tumor therapy, wound healing, immunomodulation, etc. She aspires to develop these therapies to improve the quality of healthcare around the world by engineering smart hydrogels and nanocomposites for drug/cell delivery and dynamically crosslinked materials that suit their drug cargo and delivery needs on a molecular level. Yuting also worked as a full-time analytical assistant in Estee Lauder R&D center for half a year. In her free time, Yuting likes to travel, planting and enjoy her time with the family!

Zyt0825@g.ucla.edu

Saumya Jain

Saumya received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Seattle University in the spring of 2020. Three years of her undergraduate studies were dedicated to carbohydrate chemistry research in the lab of Dr. Joseph Langenhan. She worked on developing a novel synthetic route to produce a glycosylated asparagine residue that is vital in post-translational cellular modifications and, therefore, in many areas of drug development. Among various technical skills she has learned during undergraduate research, Saumaya most enjoys synthesis, analysis by NMR, and recombinant gene expression using PCR. Saumya joined Dr. Nasim Annabi’s lab in the fall of 2020  as she pursues her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at UCLA. Outside of the sciences, Saumaya loves listening to music, learning new songs on the guitar, hiking, teaching new crafts to her younger sister, and spending time with friends.

Saumyaaditi@gmail.com

Joyce Huang

Joyce is a PhD student in Bioengineering at UCLA. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Bioengineering from University of Washington Seattle (2020). She previously worked with Dr. Rajiv Saigal at UW in developing electronic drug delivery microneedles for treatment of spinal cord injuries. Her current research interests lie in developing functional and stimuli responsive biomaterials.

joycehuang616@gmail.com

Zhanpeng (Jim) Liu

Jim joined Professor Annabi’s lab as a Ph.D. student in the fall of 2023. He received his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in Shenzhen, China (2023). For his undergraduate research, he focused on developing the microbially induced polyetheretherketone (PEEK) surface modification approach and investigating the unique mechanics of the generated structure, as well as fabricating the novel drug delivery system which could be used for bone regeneration. He is now interested in the design of biomaterials which is inspired by nature or could mimic the characteristics of bio-interface in human body, for example, the hard-soft tissue interface, for tissue adhesive or regeneration applications. In his free time, Jim likes reading books, listening to J-pop music, learning finger-style guitar, playing computer games and spending time with family and friends.

zpliu30@g.ucla.edu

Min-Hsuan (Jessie) Lin

Jessie joined Dr. Annabi’s lab in 2023 as a PhD student of Chemical Engineering. She received her bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from National Taiwan University (NTU) (2020). She then worked in Dr. Ying-Chih Chang’s lab at Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan, in which she helped develop an in vitro drug screening system for circulating tumor cells (CTCs). After that, she came back to NTU to study for her master’s degree with Dr. Jiashing Yu, focusing on the research of conductive biomaterials for tissue engineering. She is now interested in exploring biomaterials that have multifaceted applications and unlocking their potential to solve pressing real-world challenges. In her free time, Jessie enjoys watching comedies and animes and spending time with friends.

minhsuanlin74@gmail.com

Fang Zhou

Fang became a member of Professor Annabi’s lab as a master
student in the fall of 2023. She received her bachelor’s degree of
Chemical Engineering from Soochow University in 2019 and
studied the photo-induced self-assembly polymerization of
biodegradable polyester as her undergraduate dissertation. After
working as a research assistant in a scientific corporation, Fang
got familiar with the techniques to obtain polymer-stabilized
metallic nanoparticles and their medical applications. Now she has
great interest in electroconductive biomaterials for myocardial
infarction repair, meanwhile, to achieve a combination with her
research background. In her spare time, Fang enjoys singing,
watching anime and jogging.

florazhou@g.ucla.edu

Albert Lee

Albert received their B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Philosophy from UCLA in 2021. During his studies, he had experience working in two different laboratories, the first of which was focused on developing nanopatterned bactericidal polyurethane for medical devices in Dr. Albert Yee’s lab at UC Irvine in 2016. The second focused on working with nanoencapsulation of proteins for drug delivery in Dr. Yunfeng Lu’s lab at UCLA during his undergraduate studies. His interests are currently focused on the applications of nanotechnology and nanostructures in biological devices. Albert joined the Annabi Lab in the fall of 2021 and hopes to focus on research involving nanostructured scaffolding and tissue repair devices. Outside of the lab, he dedicates his time to esports, visiting national parks, traveling, teaching, and spending time with their friends and family,

leealbert999@g.ucla.edu

ZHONGHONG KONG

Zhonghong received his B.S. in Materials science from Technion in 2022. During his studies, he worked in surface engineering and corrosion lab and mainly focused on nanoporous anodic oxides for the functionalization of metal surfaces. He joined the Annabi Lab in the winter of 2022 and focuses on developing mucoadhesive nanoparticles for drug delivery. Outside of the lab, he enjoys playing table tennis, electric guitar and video games.

zhkong@g.ucla.edu

Steven Vo

Graduating from UCLA in June of 2023 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Steven returned to his alma mater to continue his research with Dr. Annabi in the Annabi Lab as a graduate student in chemical engineering. His time as an undergraduate in the Annabi Lab primarily consisted of tough hydrogel optimization and characterization for ocular drug delivery and wound healing. As a graduate student, his focus has shifted into exploring tough hydrogels capable of supporting tissue growth. More specifically, he is working on utilizing hydrogels for creating neovaginas to assist in male to female bottom gender reassignment surgery. Outside of the lab, Steven’s hobbies include cooking new recipes around the world, playing competitive online games, spending time with family, and listening to music.

stevenvo46@gmail.com

Undergraduate Students

Jacob Pearl

Jacob is a second-year Bioengineering student. He is working under Avijit with biomaterials and is creating a hemostatic patch. He is interested in learning more about biomaterials and other chemistry-based biomedical applications. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, photography, video games, sports, and hanging out with friends.

Parmida Abbasi

I am Parmida Abbasi. I am a third-year Biology major interested in learning more about 3D bioprinting and hydrogel applications. I am a dental assistant, and I love how the 3D printing relates to creating dental crowns. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with friends, movies, trying different restaurants, and going to the beach.

parmida@g.ucla.edu

Nina Ofitserova

Nina is a second year Chemical Engineering student interested in surgical sealants and biomaterials. She is currently working under Avijit and is excited to learn more about chemical engineering’s application in the medical field. In her free time, she enjoys finding new coffee shops, going to the beach, listening to music, and spending time with friends.

ninaofitserova@g.ucla.edu

Shea Zenker

Shea is a third year Bioengineering student at UCLA. She is interested in learning more about 3D bioprinting and electrospinning, and is excited to contribute to the growing field of biomechanical and tissue engineering research. She is also involved in the Biomedical Engineering Society, and is the president of Phi Sigma Rho, a sorority for women and nonbinary people in STEM. In her free time, she enjoys reading, thrifting, and baking.

Kaimana Lum

Kaimana is a third-year chemical engineering major student. Her lab mentor is Ronak Afshari and they work on synthesizing gels with functional properties. The gels will be used for 3D printing organs, electrospinning, or as a bioadhesive. She is involved in the American Institue of Chemical Engineers as a family head and as a team member of Chem E Car stopping mechanism, Biomedical Engineering Society where she volunteers to teach middle schoolers STEM topics, and works as a lifeguard for UCLA. She enjoys being with friends, cooking, listening to music, going to the gym, and swimming.

Karina Bender

Karina is a third-year Bioengineering student double majoring in Mathematics. She is working with Ronak Afshari on the bioprinting project to continue the research previously done concerning the engineering of the urethra. In her free time, she tries to pursue her hobbies, which include reading, crocheting, and creating mathematically inspired art.

Edrees Mahmood

Edrees is a second-year Neuroscience student. He is interested in learning more about the field of Bio-adhesives/Sealants, and Elastin-Based Biomaterials and hopes to contribute alongside fellow lab members. In his free time, he enjoys spontaneous adventures with friends, watching T.V, cooking, reading, and trying new activities.

Lakshmi Mohan

Lakshmi Mohan is a second-year Bioengineering student who is interested in hydrogel applications specifically in the field of regenerative medicine. She is currently working under Saumya on the synthesis of a hydrogel that can aid with cardiac tissue regeneration. She is a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society as well as a Society of Women Engineers Family Head, and in her free time she enjoys drawing, reading, playing piano or video games, and spending time with friends and family.

Ashlyn Harris

Ashlyn is a first-year Chemistry/Materials Science student at UCLA. She is working under the mentorship of Ronak Afshari on the 3D Bioprinting project to engineer elastic bioinks used with 3D printing technology that mimic the mechanical behavior and complex microarchitecture of human urethrae for surgical application. She is Chapter President of the A Moment of Magic Foundation’s UCLA chapter and volunteers at Venice Family Clinic as a Healthcare Navigator at their Colen location and a produce bagger at their Food Insecurity Program. In her free time, Ashlyn likes to travel, watch movies, make candles, and go to the gym. At the lab, she hopes to learn more regarding bioengineered improvements in surgical procedure.

Tiffany Jean

Tiffany is a fourth-year Chemical Engineering major interested in learning more about functional biomaterials, specifically gene and drug delivery. The intersection of chemical engineering and healthcare has always fascinated her. Outside of school, she enjoys spending quality time with friends, camping, snowboarding, and going to the beach!

Ethan Mai

Ethan is a third-year Chemical Engineering major interested in learning more about biomaterials customization and integration. He is currently involved with UCLA SEA CLEAR as the retention coordinator. In his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar, dancing, and going to the gym.
ethandmai@g.ucla.edu

Spencer Kelly

Spencer is a third-year Bioengineering student at UCLA with an interest in biomechanics, control system design, 3D bioprinting, and bio-circuitry integration. He is working as a research assistant in Dr. Annabi’s laboratory working on scaffold designs for a 3D bio-printed urethra and designs for conductive hydrogels  He is passionate about environmental conservation, cooking, climbing, and learning different languages.
Spencerkelly25@g.ucla.edu

Cindy Wang

Cindy Wang is a third-year Microbiology, Immunology, and Genetics student interested in learning more about Drug Gene Delivery. She is most excited to do meaningful work to help support the gaps in healthcare. Cindy is involved in the Los Angeles Health Initiative as the current President. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, hanging out with friends, and painting.
cindywang02@g.ucla.edu

Ketan Yadav

Ketan is a third-year Psychobiology major looking to learn more about bioadhesives and their applications in the medical field. He is part of the Regent Scholar Society and works in EMS. He hopes to one day see the intersection between his work and the lab topics. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with friends, playing videogames, and rock climbing.
ketanyadav@g.ucla.edu

Sara Nejad

My name is Sara Nejad. I am a third year undergraduate Psychobiology major at UCLA. I want to pursue a career in dentistry. I am curious in understanding how hydrogels can act as biocompatible scaffolds for tissue regeneration. In addition, I want to learn more about how biomaterials can accomplish wound repair in ways that sutures, and staples cannot. I am particularly interested in this research because tissue adhesives can be used for dental applications. I am looking forward to learning more about this field and developing my skills in research.
saranejad8@g.ucla.edu

Alumni

Boyi Wang, Undergraduate Student

Cathy Lu, Undergraduate Student

Lorin Danielsen, Undergraduate Student

Yimin Gu, M.S Student, UCLA 23′

Yadi Huo,
M.S Student, UCLA 23′

Annabella Budiman, M.S Student, UCLA 23′

Hossein Montazerian, Ph.D Student, UCLA 23′

Avijit Baidya, Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA

Jose Chevalier, Visiting Scholar, Undergraduate Student, UCLA 22′

Esha Sharma, Undergraduate Student

Heather Griffiths, Undergraduate Student

Diya Kapur, Undergraduate Student

Hamed Nilchi, M.S Student, UCLA 22′

Emily Dunn, Undergraduate Student, UCLA 22′

Daniel Booth, M.S Student, UCLA 22′

Shameek Mitra, Undergraduate Student, UCLA 21′

Mahsa Ghovvati, Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA

Reza Moonesirad, Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA

Jharana Dhal, Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA

Yangcheng Liu, M.S. Student, UCLA

Chen Xi, M.S Student, UCLA

Mahtab Bayani, Visiting scholar, Iran

Mitchell Nguyen, Undergraduate, UCLA

Azadeh Mostafavi, Visiting Ph.D. Student, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Shima Gholizadeh, Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA

Sevana Baghdasarian, M.S. Student, UCLA

Pradeep Sharma, Visiting Scholar, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, India

Hojin Choi, Undergraduate Student, UCLA

Jonathan Soucy, PhD Student, Northeastern University

Jessii Chun, Undergraduate, UCLA

Nicole Prusty, Undergraduate, UCLA

Yizhen Guan (Yvonne), Undergraduate, UCLA

Gokberk Unal, Master’s Student, UCLA

Mustafa Nakipoglu, Visiting Scholar, Middle East Technical University (Turkey)

Gabriela Djuhadi, Undergraduate, UCLA

Ehsan Shirzaei Sani, PhD Student, UCLA

Brian Walker, PhD Student, UCLA

Sohyung Lee, PhD Student, UCLA

Senne Seneca, Visiting Scholar, University of Hasselt (Belgium)

Marianna Cosentino, Visiting Scholar, University of Rome (Italy)

Ashley Dickman, Undergraduate, UCLA

Ziqing Wang, Undergraduate, Central South University China  (China)

Sinziana Popescu, Visiting Scholar, Romanian Academy (Romania)

Andrew Spencer, PhD Student, Northeastern University

Brenden Lee, Undergraduate, UCLA

Andrea Winslow, Undergraduate, UCLA

Brijesh Hirani, Master Student, Northeastern University

Zheng Cao, Master Student, Northeastern University

Abolfazl Akbarzadeh, Visiting Professor, Tabriz University (Iran)

Devyesh Rana, Master Student, Northeastern University

Jinzhao Fu, Master Student, Northeastern University

Islam Khalil, Visiting Scholar, University for Science and Technology (Egypt)

Ebrahim Mostafavi, PhD Student, Northeastern University

Bahram Saleh, PhD Student, Northeastern University

Jakub Erben, Visiting PhD Student, Technical University of Liberec (Czech Republic)

Hailey Konisky, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Shannon Joyce, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Jaiden Cruger, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Spencer Lake Jacobs-Skolik, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Dina Mohsen, Visiting Master Student, The American University of Cairo (Egypt)

Chu-Hsiang Yu, Research Assistant, Brandeis University

Shashank Madhu, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Bradley Priem, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Divya Vijayakumar, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Amy Sevigny, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

William Kimball, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Nooshin Zandi, Visiting PhD Student, Sharif University (Iran)

Gustavo Hernánde, Visiting PhD student, Monterey Tech University (Mexico)

Paula Rodrigues Fontes Sousa Moraes, Visiting PhD Student, Sao Paulo University (Brazil)

Roberto Portillo Lara, Postdoctoral Fellow, Monterey Tech University (Mexico)

Eulalie Leroux, Visiting Undergraduate Student, University Paris Descartes, (France)

Navin Jayaswal, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Asel Primbetova, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Benjamin Houang, Visiting Master Student, Grenoble (France)

Soundarapandian Kannan, Visiting Professor, Periyar University (India)

Jessie Gifford, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Amanda Bretti, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Fayez Ghazi, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Sophia Maciel, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Andi Shehu, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Jennifer Silva, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Mingzhi Dai, Visiting Professor, Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering (China)

Mohammad Fares, Visiting Professor, Jordan University of Science and Technology (Jordan)

David Villiard, Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

Bastien Delaly, Visiting Master Student, Northeastern University

Nicholas Duva, Visiting Undergraduate Research Assistant, Northeastern University

Rhayza Oliveira, Visiting Undergraduate Research Assistant, Federal University of Sao Carlos (Brazil)

Mohammad Reza Aziziyan, Visiting PhD student, University of Sherbrooke (Canada)

Iman Noshadi, Postdoctoral Scholar, Northeastern University

Lauren Tips, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Northeastern University

Jamal Ashrafi, Visiting PhD Student, Tehran University (Iran)

Wendy Yu, Undergraduate, Vanderbilt University

Hannah McFetridge, Undergraduate, Cornell University

Nayara Gomes, Undergraduate, New Mexico State University (Brazil)

Felipe Dias, Undergraduate, New Mexico State University (Brazil)