Principal Investigator

Lesley W. Chow, PhD
Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) & Bioengineering (BIOE)
Postdoc, Materials & Bioengineering, Imperial College London
PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University
BS, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Florida
lac415 at lehigh.edu



Graduate Students

Paula Camacho (BIOE)
DVM, Veterinary Medicine, Universidad San Francisco de Quito
pac417 at lehigh.edu

My research focuses on developing 3D-printed scaffolds functionalized with bioactive peptides to guide functional osteochondral tissue regeneration. I am particularly interested in exploring how spatial organization of biochemical cues influences cell behavior and tissue formation. Outside the lab, I enjoy hanging out with my dog Luna and husband Roberto, reading, and traveling. Fun fact: My hobby growing up was riding horses and show jumping.

Diana Hammerstone (MSE)
BS, Materials Science and Engineering, Lehigh University
NSF Graduate Research Fellow
deh220 at lehigh.edu

My research focuses on characterizing the effect of peptide functionalization on material properties of our 3D-printed constructs. I am investigating how the addition of different peptide-polymer conjugates and concentrations affects mechanical and surface properties across length scales. Apart from my lab work, I enjoy running, hanging out with my dog Desi, and water sports like water skiing and wake surfing. Fun fact: My main hobby from kindergarten through the beginning of high school was Irish dancing. 

Natasha Hunt (BIOE)
BS, Bioengineering, Lehigh University
nkh222 at lehigh.edu

My research focuses on incorporating a protease-sensitive peptide into a polymer backbone to promote scaffold degradation via cellular processes occurring in the regenerating tissue. By employing the same cellular proteases that break-down the extracellular matrix for tissue reorganization and growth, the scaffolds will simultaneously degrade as tissue grows at the just-right, “Goldilocks” rate to facilitate uniform, dense bone tissue growth in the defect site. Outside of the lab I enjoy backpacking, traveling, baking, and motorcycling. Fun fact: I am a plant mother to 54 plant children.

Andrew Kitson (MSE)
BS, Bioengineering, Lehigh University
NSF Graduate Research Fellow
ank519 at lehigh.edu

My research focuses on the characterization of our solvent cast 3D-printed polymer scaffolds as their physical properties are altered to drive cellular response. I am particularly interested in decoupling the effects of interdependent physical properties and understanding how these independent properties cue cells in vitro and in vivo. Outside of the lab I enjoy reading, working out, and hiking/swimming with my dog Kova. Fun fact: While I am currently studying bioengineering, I was previously in nursing school.

Chiebuka Okpara (BIOE) (joint with TGF Lab)
BS, Biomedical Engineering, The College of New Jersey
cho222 at lehigh.edu

My research focuses on characterizing a peptide-polymer-based scaffold that will respond to localized anti-inflammatory cytokines. I’m particularly interested in designing 3D-printed constructs that are tunable for the cellular microenvironment. Outside of the lab, I enjoy drawing, exercising, watching movies, and getting out of my comfort zone (e.g., learning how to swim). Fun fact: When I was in high school, I visited Lehigh University for the first time to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition Mid-Atlantic District Championship.

Gerardo Ortega Oviedo (BIOE)
BS, Biomedical Physics, National Autonomous University of México
feo222 at lehigh.edu

My research focuses on the use of growth factor-mimetic peptides to induce osteochondral tissue regeneration. I am particularly interested in controlling the spatial and temporal delivery of these peptides in the presence of cells through bioorthogonal click chemistry. I’m a queer Mexican and outside the lab I really like watching TV series and movies (except horror), exercising, going to theater, drag shows and coffee shops, camping and getting to know new places. Fun Fact: I’m so used to drinking coffee that it doesn’t keep me awake anymore.

John Tolbert (Polymer Science and Engineering; PSE)
BS, Materials Science and Engineering, Lehigh University
jwt318 at lehigh.edu

My research focuses on characterizing the mechanical and degradation properties of our solvent-cast polymer-based scaffolds and membranes. I am particularly interested in how these properties can be tuned by changing polymer chemistry and molecular weight. Outside the lab I enjoy running, playing disc golf, and cooking. I also love spending time with my dog Desi and hamster Ruby. Fun fact: My family has a leopard gecko that is thirteen years old. 

Learn more about John and his work in this video!

Rosa Chowshuck
*BS, Basic Obedience
(joint with Pashuck Lab)

My research focuses on getting as many pets and treats as possible. I am particularly interested in whatever you are eating right now and what you may be eating in the future. Outside the lab, I enjoy napping, going to the dog park, hiking, chasing after tennis balls, eating, sleeping, getting pets, eating, and napping. Fun fact: I am a very good girl.

*needs 3 credits



Undergraduate Students

Fenet Demissie
’24 IDEAS / Bioengineering, Lehigh University
RARE Scholar, LUSSI Scholar, POSSE Scholar
fgd224 at lehigh.edu

My research focuses on synthesizing growth factor-mimetic peptides using Fmoc solid-phase peptide synthesis and modifying them using bioorthogonal click chemistry. I aim to spatially and temporally control peptides on conjugated PCL in the presence of cells. Outside the lab, I enjoy listening to music, podcasts, audio-books, reading, and watching k-dramas.

Tyler French
’23 Materials Science and Engineering, Lehigh University
tyf223 at lehigh.edu

My research focuses on characterization of the mechanical properties of solvent-cast 3D-printed scaffolds. I am particularly interested in the effects of changing the polymer composition of the ink by varying molecular weight and polymer type on the mechanical properties of the resulting scaffolds. Outside the lab, I enjoy running, soccer, music, and biking. Fun fact: During COVID I biked all 105 miles of Skyline Drive in a day.

Juliana Forero Arevalo
’24 Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Lehigh University
juf224 at lehigh.edu

My research focuses on the synthesis of protease-sensitive peptides that are integrated into a polymer backbone to enhance cell-mediated degradation of said polymer. I am particularly interested in how different types of amino acids affect the rate and effectiveness of degradation. Outside of the lab I really enjoy learning new languages, reviewing movies (my favorite movie is Before Sunrise), baking and crocheting. Fun Fact: I routinely drink green tea every morning.

Juan Mendoza
’24 Materials Science and Engineering, Lehigh University
jpm224 at lehigh.edu

My research focuses on characterizing the architecture of our solvent-cast 3D printed scaffolds and the resulting changes in mechanical properties. I am particularly interested in creating areas of high strain and low strain within the same scaffold by altering scaffold layer alignment. My pastimes outside the lab include exercising, listening to music, caring for my plants/pets, and any outdoor activities. Fun Fact: My favorite dessert is cheesecake!


Photographers: Sareena Karim and John Tolbert

 

Alumni

Postdoc
Dr. Katherine Hudson, PhD – Senior Scientist, Astellas Pharmaceuticals

Graduate students
Hafiz Busari, MS ’19 (MSE) – Polymer Engineer, PolyMed, Inc
Kelly Seims, MS ’22 (MSE) – R&D Associate, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Undergraduate students
Elizabeth Andrews, Lehigh BIOS ’21 – NIH Postbaccalaureate Scholar
Anne Behre*@, Lehigh BIOE ’19 – PhD student, Carnegie Mellon BME (Feinberg Lab)
Sarah Boyer*, Lehigh MSE ’20 – PhD student, Northwestern MSE (Joester Lab)
Reilly Callahan, Lehigh BIOE ‘19, SOC ‘20G – Health Outreach Coordinator, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
Ruth Cannon, NUI Galway, BME ‘17
Natalie Condon, Lehigh BIOE ’22 – Research Associate, IVIVA Medical
Yaa Donkor^, Lehigh ChBE ’23
Matthew Fainor#, Lehigh IDEAS/BioE ’20 – Research Engineer, University of Pennsylvania (Gullbrand Lab)
Rachel Fan#, Lehigh BIOE ’18 – Health Industries Advisory Consultant, PwC
Daphna Fertil, Lafayette ChBE ’22 – NIH Postbaccalaureate Scholar (Sadtler Lab)
Jenna Fromer, Tufts ChemE ‘21 – PhD student, MIT Chemical Engineering (Coley Lab)
Matthew Green, Northampton ENG ’19
Diana Hammerstone*@, Lehigh MSE ‘20 – PhD student, Lehigh MSE (Chow Lab)
Natasha Hunt#, Lehigh BIOE ’21 – Graduate student, Lehigh BIOE (Chow Lab)
Caroline Kaufman, Lehigh BIOE ’18, HSE ‘19G – MD student, Sackler School of Medicine
Orlaith Kennedy, NUI Galway BME ’22 – MS student, NUI Galway BME
Kevin Kim, Lehigh BIOE ‘20
Vaughan Kramer, Lehigh BIOE ’22
Zhongrui Liu, Lehigh MSE ’18 – PhD student, UC Davis MSE (Parikh Lab)
Nicole Malofsky@, Lehigh BIOE ’19, BIOE ’21G – PhD student, Vanderbilt BME
Sareena Karim^, Lehigh BIOE ’22 – Founder and Owner, FoliQ
Andrew Kitson@, Lehigh BIOE ’21 – PhD student, Lehigh MSE (Chow Lab)
Patricia Morales^, Lehigh BIOE ‘19
Kaung Myat, Lehigh MSE ‘19
Divya Patel*, Lehigh BIOE ‘18 – Software Test Engineer, Nihon Kohden
Saral Patel, Lehigh BIOE’19, HSE ‘20G – MD student, New York Medical College
Nicole Pellecchia, Lehigh BIOE’18 – Associate Scientist, GSK
Kydia Ruiz^, Lehigh BIOS ’21
Kelly Seims*, Lehigh BIOE’18 – Graduate student, Lehigh MSE (Chow Lab)
Ivan Spann#, Lehigh BIOE’20 – Associate Failure Analysis Engineering, Insulet
Claire Ternes, Lehigh IDEAS/MSE ’20 – Graduate student, McMaster Engineering Design
Lucien Schreiber, NUI Galway BME ’20 – PhD student, NUI Galway BME
Vincent Torelli. BIOS ’18 – OMS student, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Sydney Yang#^@, Lehigh BIOE ‘19 – PhD student, University of Maryland BME (Duncan Lab)
Nathaniel Yuchimiuk, Lehigh BIOE ’21 – Associate Project Engineer, Globus Biomedical


*Clare Boothe Luce Scholar
#Grants for Experiential Learning in Health (GELH) Scholar
^Rapidly Accelerated Research Experiences (RARE) Scholar
@NSF Graduate Research Fellow