Lab Members

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Staff

Wendy E. Brown

Administrative Assistant
webrown@mit.edu

Wendy Brown has been at MIT since 2006 in various support positions. In 2017, she became the administrative assistant to Professor Michael Cima. Wendy provides support to the Cima lab team—including lab technicians, postdocs, and research assistants at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. She also provides support for Professor Cima’s teaching activities and his responsibilities as co-director of the MIT Innovation Initiative and the associate dean of innovation of the School of Engineering. Wendy additionally offers some administrative and financial support to the Lemelson-MIT Program and MIT's Glass Lab, both of which Professor Cima serves as faculty director.

 

Postdocs

Helen N. Schwerdt

Helen N. Schwerdt, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate
schwerdt@mit.edu

B.S., Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2008
M.S.E., Electrical and Computer Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2009
Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, Arizona State University, 2014

Project: Injectrode

My broad research interests are in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), nonlinear microwave devices, wireless implantable devices, bioelectronics, and instrumentation for understanding and/or treating the brain and its related disorders. I am also interested in applying wireless modulation and/or interrogation schemes towards more clinically relevant applications including neuromodulation, drug delivery (ie. blood brain barrier), etc.

 

Graduate Students

Ashvin Bashyam

PhD Student, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Project: MR Contrast Agents and Devices   

Ashvin grew up in Austin, TX where he attended The University of Texas at Austin. He worked on medical imaging techniques for cancer staging using photoacoustic imaging and plasmonic nanoparticle contrast agents. Eager to make an impact outside of his research, he explored a diverse set of translational projects which included image processing of X-ray fluoroscopy for diagnosing spinal disorders, robotic ultrasound-based surgery for cancer ablation, laparoscopic electrosurgery tools for general surgery, and intravenous fluid warming for hypothermia and trauma. After four years immersed in the development and commercialization of medical devices, Ashvin saw a need for better long-term disease-state monitoring technologies to improve patient outcomes.

As a PhD student in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science supported by the Hertz Fellowship and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, he works on NMR-based devices to perform non-invasive physiological sensing of fluid volume status and myopathies. These portable, low-field MR sensors will find applications in monitoring dehydration, fluid overload, organ failure, and trauma. Outside of the lab, Ashvin enjoys playing competitive soccer, hiking no matter the weather, and rock climbing.

Lina Colucci

Lina Colucci

PhD Student, Health Sciences and Technology
lcolucci@mit.edu

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Duke University

Project: Hydration

Lina’s research focuses on developing a non-invasive, portable sensor for assessing fluid status in congestive heart failure patients. Lina graduated from Duke University in Mechanical Engineering. As a Robertson Scholar, she was a dual student at both the University of North Carolina (UNC) as well as Duke. Having a life at both of these universities is blasphemy in basketball but a very complementary experience in everything else. Lina was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, moved extensively between Brazil, Canada and the United States, and has done research in India and Sweden. Lina is also a ballerina, an avid classical and jazz clarinetist, and a lover of art in all forms.

Max Cotler

PhD Student, Health Sciences and Technology
mjcotler@mit.edu

B.S. Biomedical Engineering, Boston University

Project: Injectrode

Max grew up in Sarasota, FL then made the questionable decision of leaving the warmth for Boston to attend Boston University where he focused on nanoparticle drug delivery. Max is now a NSF fellow and PhD candidate in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST) program studying medical engineering and medical physics with a focus in chemistry. Max has a broad array of drug delivery experience through his undergraduate research in liposomal drug delivery and polymer coatings on medical devices. His current project is focused on designing and testing chronic implanted drug delivery systems to treat brain disease. Max focuses on developing a system to treat focal brain disease in patients who fail traditional oral therapies with the hope of minimizing side effects and maximizing efficacy. Outside of lab, Max enjoys trying new restaurants, cooking, and skiing.  

Chris Frangieh

PhD Student, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
frangieh@mit.edu

B.E., Computer Engineering, Dartmouth College
B.A., Engineering Sciences, Dartmouth College

Project: Hydration

Chris is a PhD student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. (Engineering Sciences) and a B.E. (Computer Engineering) in 2017. In the Cima Lab, Chris focuses on the development of magnetic resonance sensors for non-invasive hydration monitoring. He has previous experience with medical device development, medical imaging, and cybsersecurity.

Gregory Ekchian

Gregory Ekchian

PhD Student, Materials Science and Engineering
gekchian@mit.edu

B.S., Biomedical Engineering, Boston University
MEng, Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Project: MR Contrast Agents and Devices   

Greg is a PhD student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He graduated from Boston University with a BS in Biomedical Engineering (2009) and from MIT with an MEng in Materials Science and Engineering (2010). In the Cima Lab Greg focuses on the development of novel injectable materials for long-term in vivo monitoring of oxygen and pH. These sensors provide clinicians with critical information necessary to enable more efficacious treatments tailored to individual patients for many indications including cancer and traumatic limb injuries. Greg is also passionate about transitioning new technologies from the lab to the clinic to improve patient outcome, achieve wider access to healthcare, and make the delivery of healthcare more efficient.

Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee

PhD Student, Health Sciences and Technology
christopher.lee@mit.edu

B.S., Biomedical Engineering, University of Connecticut
M.S. Bioengineering Innovation and Design, Johns Hopkins University

Project: Urological Drug Delivery

Christopher Lee hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is a PhD candidate in the joint Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology program. Previously, Chris attended UConn (’12) and Johns Hopkins (’13) for his bachelors and masters, respectively. In the Cima Lab, Chris focuses on developing new therapies for expediting the passage of urinary stones. Some recent awards include selection as Forbes 30 Under 30, World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and Medtech Boston 40 Under 40. 

Aikaterini (Katerina) Mantzavinou

Aikaterini (Katerina) Mantzavinou

PhD Student, Health Sciences and Technology
amantzav@mit.edu

B.S., Bioengineering, Harvard College

Project: Ovarian Cancer

Katerina is a third-year PhD student at the Harvard-MIT HST. She grew up in Greece and graduated from Harvard College before coming to MIT. Her research focuses on a device for continuous intraperitoneal drug delivery to treat peritoneal cancer metastasis. She has previously worked on similarly translational projects including expandable scaffolds for infant tissue repair and modulating the tumor microenvironment using antihypertensive agents to improve cancer drug delivery. She works on innovating low-cost medical technologies with MIT Hacking Medicine, the MGH Center for Global Health, and the MIT DLab. Her interests outside medical engineering include art and exploring the world.

R. Joshua Murdock

PhD Student, Health Sciences and Technology
rmurdock@mit.edu

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Central Florida

Project: MR Contrast Agents and Devices

Josh is a third-year Ph.D. candidate and NSF Fellow in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST) program studying Medical Engineering & Medical Physics. He hails from Orlando, FL where he graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and minors in Bioengineering & Mathematics before starting at MIT. Through his undergraduate years, Josh worked on biomaterials and medical diagnostics projects spanning magnetic/optical assays, virus-based point-of-care sensors, and nanoparticle-mediated therapeutics delivery to brain cancer cells. His current research primarily focuses on the development of magnetic resonance-readable nanoparticle devices for continuous measurement of cardiovascular disease markers in vivo. This sensing technology allows clinicians access to constantly changing chemical medical data between visits, enabling more effective treatment for chronic conditions. Apart from research he also works on improving the collaboration between local biotech industry and academia through the MIT Biotech Group and the HST Joint Council. When not in lab, Josh enjoys training and competing in Taekwondo, playing viola and violin, running, and cooking.

Khalil Ramadi

PhD Student, Health Sciences and Technology
kramadi@mit.edu

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University
B.S., Bioengineering, The Pennsylvania State University
M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Project: Injectrode

Khalil is a PhD Candidate in the Health Science and Technology department at MIT and Harvard Medical school, studying Medical Engineering and Medical Physics. Khalil has extensive experience in designing and developing medical devices since his undergraduate work in microfluidics.  His current project is focused on developing implantable devices for chronic neural drug delivery and deep brain interfacing. Neurologic and neurospcyhatric disorders develop due to dysfunction at specific neural nodes, yet current treatments target the entire brain, causing significant side-effects and limiting treatment efficacy. Targeted brain therapy allow for development novel therapies for these disorders. When he isn’t in lab, Khalil enjoys latin dancing and sailing. Unfortunately, however, Boston’s weather makes only one of those things a year-long hobby.    

Kriti Subramanyam

PhD Student, Health Sciences and Technology
kriti@mit.edu

B.S., Engineering Sciences, Harvard College

Project: Ovarian Cancer

Kriti grew up in Boston, MA and earned her B.S. from Harvard College in Bioengineering in 2015. She is currently a PhD Candidate in the Health Science and Technology department at MIT and Harvard Medical School, studying Medical Engineering and Medical Physics. In the Cima Lab, Kriti’s research focuses on the development of a device for continuous intraperitoneal drug delivery to treat peritoneal cancer metastasis and the interaction between this device and a patient’s immune system. She has previously worked on similarly translational projects including the development of combined liposome and hydrogel nanoparticles for cancer drug delivery. Outside of the lab, Kriti enjoys singing, dancing, baking, and spending time with her beagle.

 

Undergraduate Students

 

Technicians

Lenny Rigione

Lenny Rigione

Technician/Lab Manager
rigione@mit.edu

Lenny has helped and guided numerous Cima lab grad students and postdocs with our myriad analytical and processing equipments. When not in lab, he rides his bike to raise money and awareness for charitable causes to fight diseases such as cancer and cystic fibrosis.