Principal Investigator

Alyssa Panitch, Ph.D.

panitchAlyssa Panitch is the Edward Teller Professor and Department Chair of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Panitch was at Purdue University where she was the Leslie A. Geddes Professor in Biomedical Engineering and served as Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. She started her faculty career as an Assistant Professor in Bioengineering at Arizona State University and moved to Purdue University in 2006 as Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Panitch also served as Associate Head of the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue from 2009 to 2013.

Dr. Panitch’s research focuses on designing biomimetic and synthetic materials for drug delivery and regenerative medicine. She has received the National Science Foundation Career Award, been named a Purdue Faculty Scholar, and is a Fellow of both the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and the Biomedical Engineering Society. She was also elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors in the Class of 2016. She served on the biomaterials and biointerfaces study section for the National Institutes of Health from 2008 to 2012 and currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for Biomacromolecules, the Editorial Board for Biomatter, and as Associate Editor for Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering.


Phone: 530-754-3222
Office: 2311 GBSF

Post-Doctoral Fellows

James McMasters, Ph.D.
jimJim McMasters graduated with a B.S in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University. Following graduation he worked at the Louis Stokes Veterans Affairs medical Center on the development of a load bearing cortical bone implant. Recently, Jim obtained his Ph.D. from Purdue University and is now working as a post-doctoral researcher. His research focuses on the development of novel bio-mimetic and polymer drug delivery systems. Outside of lab Jim enjoys baseball, working on computers and playing with his dog Maggie.


Graduate Students

Nelda Vázquez-Portalatín

Nelda earned a bachelor’s of science in industrial biotechnology from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez in 2012. She is now in her 5th year pursuing her PhD in biomedical engineering. Her project is focused on the interactions and connections between biomimetic molecules, chondrocytes, and collagen gels with the aim of developing a treatment for osteoarthritis. In her limited free time, Nelda likes to read, craft, drink wine, watch HGTV, and travel.


Tanaya Walimbe

Tanaya earned her bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from University of Pune, India in 2013. She is now a 4th year graduate student at Purdue, where she works with biomimetic materials such as hyaluronic acid and collagen blends for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications. Her project focuses on creating a biomimetic, coculture based platform as a test bed for the vocal folds. Outside of lab, she loves cooking, crafting, yoga, and puppies!


Claire Kilmer
Claire Kilmer is just finishing up her second year as a graduate student at Purdue University. She creates and characterizes collagen type I and II blend hydrogels for tissue engineered articular cartilage. In addition, she synthesized peptide mimics of growth factors important to the differentiation of mesenchymal stems cells to chondrocytes and other extracellular molecules. Outside of lab she enjoys running and playing with puppies.



Marcus Deloney
Marcus joined the Panitch lab in the Fall of 2016 after completing his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. His research project focuses on the design on polymeric nanoparticles loaded with anti-inflammatory peptides to bind specifically to osteoarthritic cartilage to reduce/eliminate the systematic effects of osteoarthritis.  Outside of the lab, Marcus loves to rock climb, swim, hike, talk about the state of Michigan, and is currently pursuing becoming a certified yoga instructor.


Tima Dehghani

Tima earned her bachelor’s degree in Physiological Science from UCLA in June of 2015. After graduating, she worked in a tissue engineering laboratory at the UC Davis Medical Center where she studied the interaction of adipose-derived stem cells, fat grafts, and breast cancer cells. Tima joined the Panitch lab in the fall of 2016. Her current research project involves designing an anti-inflammatory molecule that can select for and anchor to damaged, inflamed endothelium using naturally upregulated cellular adhesion molecules. In this way, she hopes to develop novel strategies for treating inflammatory diseases. Outside of the lab, Tima enjoys running, hiking, and exploring local coffee shops.


Emily Misnick

Emily graduated from Boston University in 2016 with a B.S. in biomedical engineering, and joined the Panitch lab in 2017. Her research is focused on biomimetic therapeutics for vascular regeneration. Outside of the lab, Emily enjoys painting, hiking, camping, snowboarding, playing ice hockey, and spending time with dogs.




Harkanwalpreet (Hark) Sodhi

Hark earned his bachelor’s of science in Bioengineering from the University of California, Merced in 2017. He joined the Panitch Lab in Fall 2017. His research focuses on the use glycocalyx-mimetic molecules and anti-inflammatory peptides for the treatment of myocardial reperfusion injury. In his free time, Hark enjoys working on his Volvo, skiing, weight lifting, HiFi audio, building computers, and dogs.



Alena (Laney) Casella

Laney is from Strongsville, Ohio and got her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Akron in 2017. She is currently working on a collaborative project between the Panitch lab and the Leach lab focused on combining electrically conductive peptides with naturally-derived polymer scaffolds for peripheral nerve regeneration. Outside of the lab, she enjoys photography, playing frisbee, researching skincare, reading, and discovering new music. 




Jenny Lin, PhD (2018)
Medical Fellow
Indiana University School of Medicine

James Wodicka, PhD (2017)
Medical Fellow
Indiana University School of Medicine

James McMasters, PhD (2016)
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of California Davis, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Rebecca Scott, PhD (2014)
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Delaware, Department of Material Sciences & Engineering

Aneesh Ramaswami, MS (2013)
Instructor at MIT

Shaili Sharma, PhD (2012)
Research Engineer at Cook Medical

Jamie Brugnano, PhD (2012)
Post-doctoral Research Scientist at Organovo, Inc.

Rush Bartlett, PhD (2012)
Biodesign Engineering Specialty Fellow at Stanford University

Jon Bernhard, MS (2011)
Ph.D. Candidate at Columbia University

Aaron Conovaloff , Ph.D. (2011)
Regulatory Affairs Associate at CR Bard

Arjun Ishwar, MS (2009)
Regenerative Medical Device

Doris Hom Eng, PhD (2009)
Scientist at Ventana Medical Systems

Karen Chao Butterfield, PhD (2009)
Product Specialist at W.L. Gore & Associates

Brian C. Ward, PhD (2009)

Kate A. Stuart, PhD (2009)
Founding Scientist at Symic Biomedical

Steve Higbee, MS (2009)

John Paderi, PhD (2008)
Founding Scientist at Symic Biomedical

Kyung Jae Jeong, PhD (2008)
Assistant Professor at University of New Hampshire

Nick Geirut, MS (2007)

Wei Wang, MS (2005)

Steve Bellinger, MS (2005)

Catherine Drieza, PhD (2005)
Adjunct Professor at Mesa Community College

Brandon Seal, PhD (2004)
Law Student at BYU

Tinna Otero, PhD (2003)
United States District Court for the District of Delaware

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