Karan Agrawal's (2015-17 NIH Trainee) Dissertation

May 10, 2017


Karan Agrawal gave his exit seminar on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 and he and The West Coast Metabolomics Center graciously shared the audio recording of his presentation and slides shown below.

Congratulations Dr. Agrawal!



Fall Trainees Reception

September 13, 2016


On Tuesday, September 13th, the 2016-17 trainees attended the annual Trainees’ Reception with the Director, Kent Leach and Associate Directors, Joanna Chiu and Luis Carvajal-Carmona in attendance to welcome them.  Past trainees were also present to share their NIH trainee experience and give their support. 

Topics covered during the Reception included learning from other trainees about their research, expectations of what it means to be a BTP trainee, a discussion of the annual Retreat scheduled for March 18, 2017, an introduction to the MyIDP program and its value in navigating trainees’ professional careers, information regarding the campus' student disabilies center and the director's open door policy, and a pre-BTP program survey.

Silvia Hilt's Dissertation Available For Viewing

September 9, 2016


Congratulations go to Dr. Silvia Hilt who recently graduated with a PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology along with her Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology. Silvia was a Biotech Trainee from 2010-11 and then a NIH Trainee the following year.

To view Silvia's dissertation, click HERE


2016-2017 NIH Trainees Named


Karan Agrawal, Jasmine Corbin, and Sana Vaziri will be returning for their second year as NIH trainees. Congratulations to all these stellar students!

Kyriacos Athanasiou with Jeni Lee

Prof. Kyriacos Athanasiou & Jeni Lee

Jeni Lee - Best Doctoral Dissertation Award

June 6, 2016

Jeni Lee received the 2016 Zuhair A. Munir Award for Best Doctoral Dissertation in June.  Jeni was given the honor for her research entitled, “Bioactive and Mechanical Stimuli for Engineering Neocartilage with Native Tissue-like Tensile Properties”.

As part of her dissertation Jeni created a new biomechanical device that is the first of its kind to successfully apply tensile loading to fabricate cartilage. This discovery her PI Kyriacos Athanasiou explained will help treat sports-related injuries and osteoarthritis.

Dr. Judy Kjelstrom with Silvia Hilt
Prof. Luis Carvajal-Caromona & Anna Marie Tuazon

Congratulations 2016 Graduates!
June 2016

Several of our NIH trainees have graduated this June. Among them were Silvia Hilt (2011-12 NIH trainee), Anna Marie Tuazon (2014-16 NIH trainee), and Christian Siltanen.


Nicole Nozzi (3rd from right)

Nicole Nozzi - Best Poster Winner

May 2016
Nicole Nozzi, (2015-16 NIH trainee) was recently awarded Best Poster Winner (5 winners awarded) at the Chemical Biology in the Bay Area (CBBA) Day. Nicole is in Prof. Shota Atsumi’s lab and is a member of the chemistry graduate group. Her poster was, "Developing Production of a Plant Alkaloid in a Microbial Host".

This year’s CBBA event was hosted by Prof. Chris Change from UC Berkeley. During the day, scientific exchanges involving chemical biology research from UCSF and University of California campuses at Berkeley, Davis, and Santa Cruz occur.

Congratulations Nicole!!!


2015-16 Trainees' Mixer

Trainees' Meet and Greet

September 23, 2015

The 2015-2016 NIH and Biotech Fellows met each other over pizza and learned about everyone's current research as well as shared little known facts about themselves. Keith Dunaway (Integrative Genetics & Genomics graduate group, PI: Janine LaSalle and Ian Korf) and Doug Gettel (Chemical Engineering graduate group, PI: Atul Parikh), 2014-15 Biotech Fellows also attended and welcomed the new fellows.

Three of our current fellows are returning for their second year of support, Rosanna Kwok (Entomology graduate group, PI: Joanna Chiu), Nicole Nozzi (Chemistry graduate group, PI: Shota Atsumi), and Sam Westreich (Integrative Genetics & Genomics graduate group, PI: Ian Korf).

Kristen Beck

Kristin Beck

Kristen Beck, PhD (NIH Fellow 2013-2014), Exit Seminar

July 13, 2015

Congratulations to Dr. Kristen Beck! She gave her exit seminar entitled, "Unraveling the complexities of milk production and composition: an -omics approach to infant's first food" on July 13th. Her PI, Professor Ian Korf gave her a wonderful introduction. Kristen's seminar was on a Thursday and the following morning, she and her wife, Taylor, were moving to their new digs as she started her new job with IBM on Monday! We wish Kristen and Taylor all the best and hope they stay in touch. Watch Dr. Beck's Exit Seminar below.


Comstocks Magazine

Comstock's Magazine Cover

Jeni Lee, PhD (NIH Fellow 2012-2014), Named BMEGG Outstanding Graduate Student

July 6, 2015
Congratulations to this year’s BMEGG (Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group) Outstanding Graduate Student Award recipient, Jeni Lee!  Jeni Lee was one of our DEB graduate students as well as our 2012-2014 NIH Fellow.  Jeni was a member of Prof. Kyriacos Athanasiou’s lab on campus.  She was a co-founder of the UC Davis Women in Leadership seminar series which included a panelist session with the Chancellor, State Senator Lois Wolk, Vice Provost Maureen Stanton, and several prominent CEO business women. 

During Jeni’s tenure at UC Davis, she left quite a mark!  Jeni had six research papers and reviews published; served on the board of the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the Association for Women in Science; was an e-mentor to high school students; a Science Communication Fellow at the Discovery Museum/Powerhouse Science Center; and volunteered regularly in such philanthropic activities as judging and hosting at our Teen Biotech Challenge science challenge, running science experiments on picnic day, leading campus tours for high schools, and many other roles. 

Wait, wait, there’s more!  Jeni Lee is also a co-founder of ViVita Technologies.  Her company won both First Place and the People’s Choice Award during the 13th Annual Big Bang! Business Plan Competition at UC Davis’ Graduate School of Management.  ViVita’s new approach to heart valve replacement, which holds the promise of removing substances which trigger immune responses, could offer patients a lifetime free from immune-suppressant drugs.  Animal trials have already proved successful.  Other ViVita colleagues include Dr. Leigh Griffiths (co-founder), Assistant Professor of Cardiology at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and a Cardiac Surgeon and Chief of the Cardiology Service at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital; and Dr. Maelene Wong (co-founder, CEO and CTO), postdoc at UC Davis Department of Veterinary Medicine and Epidemiology, and former graduate student of Leigh Griffiths, and Dr. Gina MacBarb (co-founder), who was in Prof. Athanasiou’s lab and a biomedical engineering and DEB graduate who also works as an Associate Engineer with SI-Bone. 

Jeni Lee was also featured as one of the 10 change leaders to watch in 2015 in the March issue of Comstock’s Magazine.  I think it's safe to say we can expect to hear more about Jeni in the future!

Allie Hoch and Prof. Kent Leach

Allison Hoch & Prof. J. Kent Leach

Allison Hoch, PhD (NIH Fellow 2013-2014), Exit Seminar

June 26, 2015

Allison Hoch, one of our 2013-14 NIH Fellows is now Dr. Hoch!  Allie was in Prof. Kent Leach’s (in photo with Allie) lab and recently received her PhD in Biomedical Engineeringalong with a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology.  Allie fulfilled her internship requirement (DEB requirement) with Genentech and also at the University Hospital Basel in Basel, Switzerland (through the Whitaker Int. Fellows & Scholars Program).  Her research centered around tailoring the commitment of mesenchymal stem cells. She received her BS in Biomedical Engineering from Bucknell University.  Allie was a strong supporter of our program and volunteered her services many times for us in such activities as our annual Picnic Day experiments, the Teen Biotech Challenge science competition, and other events. Congratulations to Dr. Hoch, we wish you all the best!

Abigail Yu

Abby Yu Delivering


Abigail Yu, PhD (NIH Fellow 2012-2013), Exit Seminar

May 21, 2015

Abby Yu’s exit seminar entitled, “Bioinformatic Methods for Understanding Engineered DNA-Binding Proteins & Their Applications in Malaria Research” was presented on Thursday, May 21st, in the UC Davis Genome Center’s Auditorium.  Abby has completed all her studies here at UC Davis and do you hear a bell ringing?  Yep, it’s ringing for Dr. Abigail Yu! 

Prof. Ian Korf (Abby’s two major professors were Ian Korf and David Segal) gave a nice introduction before Abby launched into her presentation which included rather humorous cartoons that she drew herself.  The DEB Program and the Integrative Genetics and Genomics graduate group will sorely miss Abby, but wish her all the best in her new position with Sutro Biopharma, which she starts two days after this presentation!

Congratulations Dr. Yu!

Raquel Orozco

Raquel Orozco-Alcaraz

Raquel Orozco, PhD (NIH Fellow 2009-10), MCB/ECH Friday Seminar Speaker

March 6, 2015

Raquel Orozco gave a talk on, "From Bench Scale to Production Scale at Boehringer Ingelheim - Fremont". Raquel graduated from UC Davis in 2012 with a PhD in Chemical Engineering (Tonya Kuhl's lab) and designated emphasis in biotechnology. As part of the DEB Program, Dr. Orozco interned at Bayer in Berkeley where she worked in the Cell Culture Process Development for Bayer's first therapeutic antibody.

Upon completion of her PhD, Raquel joined Boehringer Ingelheim in Fremont where she is a Bioprocess Engineer in the Process Science Department. She is currently leading and supervising a team of scientists to develop a first generation platform process for continuous purification of mAbs

Michael Howland

Michael Howland

Michael Howland, PhD (NIH Fellow 2007-08), Comes Back to Campus As Friday Seminar Speaker

Jan. 30, 2015

Michael Howland graduated from UC Davis in 2009 with a PhD in Chemical Engineering and a designated emphasis in Biotechnology. After his internship with Accurion gmbH, in Goettingen, Germany, and a postdoc and another internship, he became an employee at Genentech in 2013. He currently supports a late stage Oncology program as a Regulatory Program Manager. Michael's talk was on, "First Drug Approved for Use in Preoperative Breast Cancer: An Insider's View".

Marisa Wong Medina

Marisa Wong Medina

Marisa Lin Wong Medina, PhD (NIH Fellow 2002-03), Friday Seminar Speaker

Jan. 23, 2015

Marisa Wong Medina was this Friday's seminar speaker. It was great to see how successful she's become after graduating with her PhD in Genetics with a designated emphasis in Biotechnology. Marisa is currently an Associate Scientist with the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI). She was in Juan Medrano's lab while at Davis investigating the muring "high growth" deletion.

Marisa now leads an independent research program investigating mechanisms contributing to interindividual variation in cardiometabolic disease risk and treatment. The title of her presentation was, "Structure Counts Too: The Importance of Alternative Splicing in Cholesterol Regulation".


Jeni Lee & Maelene Wong

Jennifer Lee &

Maelene Wong

ViVita Technologies, LLC ,Jeni Lee (NIH Fellow 2012-13 & 2013-14), Maelene Wong, PhD

Dec. 2014
ViVita Technologies, Inc.’s patent-pending platform technology— the ViVita Process—removes the immunological barriers in animal-derived tissues, rendering them immune-compatible with human patients. Leveraging this technology, ViVita aims to generate off-the-shelf tissue and organ replacements that avoid long-term medication, repeat transplants, and associated patient deaths. ViVita’s first product is a vessel patch due to the critical need for a readily available, functional replacement and our long-term strategy to develop increasingly complex, blood-contacting follow-on products. ViVita’s platform technology has the potential to revolutionize regenerative medicine, not only by producing the next generation of vascular replacements, but by making off-the-shelf replacement tissues and organs readily available for clinical applications.

full story

Corey Dodge

Corey Dodge

Corey Dodge, PhD (2005-06 & 2006-07 NIH Fellow) Comes Back To Campus to Give an MCB/ECH Friday Seminar

Dec. 5, 2014
Corey Dodge was a stellar PhD student and researcher out of the Karen McDonald lab. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering with a designated emphasis in Biotechnology. Corey has come back to give a guest lecture to the same seminar series he used to attend when he was on the Davis Campus.

Dr. Dodge's presentation is on, "From Fermentation to Formulation: An Integrated Approach to Bioprocess Problem Solving". Corey is currently the manager of fermentation technologies at BASF Enzymes, LLC (Formerly Verenium) where he is focused on developing fermentation and recovery processes for novel enzyme products, as well as scientific support for commercialized processes. Prior to joining Verenium, he worked at Synthetic Genomics, where he performed research on the production and recovery of biofuels and platform chemicals from algae and cyanobacteria.

Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton, PhD (2007-08 Biotech Fellow) Guest Speaker for MCB/ECH 294 Seminar Series

Nov. 14, 2014
Scott Hamilton's presentation was on, "Building a Self-Directed Career: One Man's Journey from Construction, to Aerospace, to Media & Entertainment, to IT Consulting, to Biotechnology". Wow, what a fascinating ride! Scott is currently the Chief Technology Officer for Sony DADC, New Media Solutions, received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a designated emphasis in Biotechnology. Before joining New Media Solutions, Dr. Hamilton provided organizational leadership and strategic direction throughout multiple industries, many of them Fortune 500 companies, for over 20 years as a Business Strategy and Technology Implementation Consultant.


Chris Chapman and Erkin Seker

Chris Chapman &

Erkin Seker

Christopher Chapman (2013-14 Biotech Fellow) Chosen to Attend Nobel Laureate Event

March 2014
Christopher Chapman, one of our Biotech Fellows and a member of the Biomedical Engineering graduate group has been selected to represent UC Davis at the 65th annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. Chris is in Erkin Seker's lab and will be attending the event in Lindau, Germany along with a US delegation of 55 other young researchers.

full story

Sunny Shah, PhD

Sunny Shah

Sunny Shah, PhD (2008-10 NIH Fellow) Comes Back to UC Davis to Present on ESTEEM Program

Feb. 24, 2014
Sunny Shah received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering with a designated emphasis in biotechnology in 2011.  He was in the Revzin lab and his research focused on the development of novel microsystems for stem cell differentiation studies.  Dr. Shah is currently an Assistant Director and Faculty for the ESTEEM (Engineering, Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Masters Program) Graduate Program at the University of Notre Dame.  He also conducts research along with grant writing in the department of chemical engineering. 

We are happy to welcome Sunny back, if only for a day, to hear all about the ESTEEM Program!



Photo Highlights

Contact Details

UC Davis Biotechnology Program
0301 Life Sciences Bldg.
Davis, CA 95616

Related Links

  • Biotechnology Program's Website
  • DEB Website
  • NIH Director's Blog
  • Friday Seminars Schedule