I am currently a graduate student in Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. My advisors are Efronsini Kokkoli (CEMS), Michael Tsapatsis (CEMS), and Klearchos Papas (Surgery).
My research involves immunoprotection and cytoprotection of porcine islets of Langerhans using novel directed-delivery and encapsulation techniques. The islets, which are isolated pancreatic beta cell clusters from pigs, are desired as xenotransplantation candidates in humans. Utilizing designed immunoprotection to achieve "stealth" transplants, we hope to increase the islet cell lifetimes and make this promising new technology a more viable treatment for Type 1 Diabetes. Ultimately, I am working to eliminate immunosuppression therapy for these donor recipients, which increases quality of life by reducing the potential for further complications due to the therapy.
I aspire to demonstrate my aptitude in novel, independent research by May 2014, completing my candidacy and meriting an award of Doctor of Philosophy. I then hope to continue in academic research and teaching with a post-doctoral position.