RLE Translational Fellows Program
Venture Mentoring Service
MIT Innovation Initiative

2015-2016 Fellows

Alan Lai

Schuh Research Group

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

During his PhD at MIT, Alan developed shape memory ceramics for use as actuators in the department of materials science and engineering. He holds a Master of Science from Delft University of Technology in resource and recycling engineering and a Bachelor’s degree from McGill University in metals and materials engineering.

Supported by the TFP, Alan is exploring the many potential applications enabled by these materials in the field of micro-actuation such as micro-robotics, micro-fluidics, and haptics. One especially interesting application is refreshable braille readers for the blind. These devices move pins to produce braille characters but are exceedingly expensive due to actuator limitations. Shape memory ceramics have the potential to greatly reduce the size and cost of braille readers and thereby provide greater access to braille and literacy for the blind.

Anna Jagielska

Van Vliet Laboratory

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Anna Jagielska has been a research scientist at MIT since October 2009. Prior to that, she obtained a Master of Science degree and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Warsaw, Poland. During her PhD, Anna designed molecular memory – the new generation of memory for computing, confined to the size of single molecule. During following postdoctoral fellowships at Cornell and Georgia Tech, Anna worked in the field of computational biophysics and focused on the development of methods for the prediction of protein structure and folding. As a research scientist at MIT, Anna works toward understanding how the cell microenvironment in the nervous system regulates stem cell differentiation to different lineages, and how changes of this environment in a disease may affect cell function.

Supported by the TFP, Anna is developing “artificial neurons” – innovative polymer-based mimics of neurons and neural tissue for studies of neurological diseases and for drug development. A lack of good tools and models for many diseases of the nervous system makes drug development inefficient and slow. Anna’s technology enables recreating complex cell environments using polymers, allowing to create disease models in “a dish”, in a fully controllable, reproducible, and inexpensive process. This novel technology will enable faster development of therapies for diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and many others.

Corey Fucetola

Dan Soto

Varanasi Lab

MechE (Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity)

Dan Soto has been a postdoc at MIT since November 2015. Prior to that, he received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the French graduate school École Polytechnique in 2010, then went on to complete a joint master’s degree at Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole Normale Superieure entitled Physics of Liquids, and a PhD thesis in the field of liquid interfaces and non-wetting drops under the supervision of D. Quéré and C. Clanet at Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris.

Supported by the TFP, Dan Soto is working on developing a new generation of water repellent fabrics and textiles based on the combination of two technologies developed in the Varanasi Lab. This will allow fabrics to have a high degree of water repellency while being comfortable to wear and environmentally safe – a difficult problem to solve with current technology.

Davide Ciceri

Allanore Research Group

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Davide Ciceri has been a postdoc at MIT since May 2013.

Prior to that, he completed a master’s degree in Chemistry at The University of Milan (Italy) in 2008, and a PhD in Chemical Engineering at The University of Melbourne (Australia) in 2013. During his doctoral studies, Davide developed a novel microfluidic technique to determine the kinetics of metals extraction from aqueous solutions to organic solvents, a key process of the mining industry. Davide was the recipient of an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship, a Melbourne International Research Scholarship, an Erasmus scholarship and several travel awards. Since joining MIT, Davide has dedicated his research efforts to the new fields of soil microfluidics and sustainable fertilizers.

Supported by the TFP, Davide is working on developing a microfluidic device to investigate the interactions between mineral surfaces and liquids. His technology enables to integrate in a single device both petrographic and chemical analyses, improving dramatically the resolution of investigation of the reactivity between minerals and liquids. Using this technology, research professionals in the oil & gas and mining industries will be able to gain new information on the reactivity of raw materials such as shales and metal ores in a faster yet more precise way, and consequently improve and optimize the extractive processes of those industries.


Dimitrios Papageorgiou

Nanomechanics Lab

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Dimitris has been a postdoctoral associate at MIT since October 2014.

Prior to that, a Physicist by training, he completed a Master’s degree in Microelectronics (2009) and his PhD in Chemical Engineering (2014) at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece.

During that period, Dimitris specialized on the interfacial phenomena of the interaction of electric fields and liquids on functional surfaces, as well as the integration of those in novel lab-on-a-chip diagnostic devices.

Supported by the TFP, Dimitris has pushed the technological development of a microfluidic platform using surface acoustic waves that can effectively filter out circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from peripheral blood samples of cancer patients. He envisions that acoustophoretic CTC isolation will play a key role in ongoing and future studies that aim to explore the predictive biomarker potential of CTCs, and personalized therapy decision making including novel immunotherapeutic approaches.

Erik Hemberg

Anyscale Learning For All Group

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Erik has been a postdoc at MIT since August 2012. Prior to that, he completed a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden in 2003 and a PhD in Computer Science at University College Dublin in 2010. During that period, Erik focused on developing representations for automatically generating software using Artificial Intelligence methods.

Supported by the TFP, Erik has developed an innovative methodology for tax compliance calculation, simulation and optimization for transactions involving US partnerships under IRC Subchapter K. US partnership tax can be complicated to comply with, and Erik’s technology helps check and find compliant transactions involving US partnerships within the encoded tax regulations. This enables auditors to simplify their compliance with US partnership tax.

Francisco Caballero

Koehler lab

Department of Biological Engineering

Francisco has been a Research Scientist at MIT since 2014. Prior to that, he did postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School, studying diabetes. Since he joined the Koehler lab at MIT, he is interested in finding new small molecules that target deregulated transcription factors in cancer by using the small molecule microarrayer platform.

Supported by the TFP, Francisco is working on a screening platform that will identify new molecules that could be used as lead probes against different proteins deregulated in cancer, reducing the risk and increasing the chances of bringing to market a successful therapeutic.

Galit Frydman

Division of Comparative Medicine and Department of Biological Engineering, MIT

Division of Surgery, Innovation & Bioengineering, MGH

Galit has been a postdoc at MIT since July 2013.

Prior to that, she completed her Bachelors of Science at Carnegie Mellon University in 2007and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida in 2013. During her professional training she had a special interest in surgery and critical care medicine. She has published scientific articles and special case reports in peer-reviewed journals and has presented her research at international conferences. Her research experience has been broad, working in areas such as behavior, cell imaging, environmental safety, and veterinary orthopedic surgery.

Galit is currently pursuing her PhD in Biological Engineering at MIT while simultaneously completing a postdoctoral fellowship in Comparative Medicine at MIT and in Surgical Sciences at MGH. Her current research focus is on immunothrombosis, with a special interest with how the body’s clotting and bleeding mechanism is dysregulated during severe infection and trauma.

Supported by the TFP, she is combining her training in veterinary medicine and biological engineering to develop enhanced bedside testing for the detection of coagulation disorders. She is utilizing a microfluidic approach and new protein detection methods in order to increase the accuracy and sensitivity of coagulation testing, while providing an easy-to-use, minimally invasive, point-of-care platform. These new tools can be utilized by both the research and medical community, allowing for enhanced drug discovery, drug monitoring, and opening the window for a personalized-medicine approach for individuals with bleeding or clotting disorders.

Hao-Hsun Chang

Electrochemical Energy Laboratory

Research Laboratory of Electronics

Hao-Hsun Chang has been a postdoc at MIT since 2014. Prior to joining the Electrochemical Energy Lab, he was a senior engineer at China Petrochemical Development Corporation from 2010 to 2012 and a principal engineer at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company in 2013.

Iman Soltani Bozchalooi

Mechatronics Research Laboratory

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Iman has been a postdoc at MIT since June 2015.

Prior to that, he completed a PhD in instrumentation and mechatronics at MIT in 2015. He joined the Mechatronics Research Laboratory (MRL) in 2010 as a PhD candidate. Prior to joining MRL he worked as a research engineer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ottawa, Canada from 2007 to 2010. He received his master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the same institute in 2007. His area of research interest is instrumentation, control and signal processing with application to bio/nanotechnology, nano-mechanical characterization of tissue and cell and machinery fault detection and diagnosis. Iman is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Carl G. Sontheimer prize (PhD Thesis), De-Florez Award (MIT-ME), best presentation award in Precision Mechatronics (2014 American Control Conference) and National Instruments Engineering Impact Award in Advanced Research (2014).

Supported by the TFP, Iman is working towards the development and commercialization of an innovative protein assay instrument based on high-speed atomic force microscopy. He is currently collaborating with the Koch Institute for Cancer research to develop reliable means of evaluating the effectiveness of various biochemicals in altering the activity of proteins responsible for cancer cell proliferation. Such an instrument can have tremendous impact on cancer drug development research.

Maria Milina

The Román lab

Department of Chemical Engineering

Maria has been a postdoc at MIT since March 2015.

Prior to that she completed her PhD in Chemical Engineering at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. During this period, she focused on the design of hierarchical zeolite catalysts by post-synthetic modifications. Maria is the recipient of the Early Postdoc Mobility fellowship by the Swiss National Science Foundation which funds her research at MIT.

Supported by the TFP, Maria is working on the development of a novel technology to enhance the precious metal utilization in catalysis. This is enabled through the design of core-shell nanoparticles consisting of a precious metal shell and a low-cost earth-abundant carbide core. The resulting core-shell nanomaterials have the potential to replace expensive and scarce precious metal catalysts in the petrochemical, chemical, energy, and automotive industries.

Mehdi Akbarian

Concrete Sustainability Hub

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Mehdi has been a postdoc at MIT since July 2015.

Prior to that, he completed his Master’s and PhD degrees in Mechanics of Materials and Structures at MIT in 2012 and 2015, respectively. Driven by a passion for sustainability, Mehdi focused his graduate studies on reducing the environmental footprint of the road transportation system and identified a major scientific gap in quantifying pavement structural impacts on vehicle fuel consumption. Mehdi developed a novel model to quantify the effects of pavement-vehicle interaction (PVI) on fuel consumption through a combination of dimensional analysis, experiments and model-based simulations of energy dissipation in pavement structures. From the lab bench to proof of concept in the field, Mehdi collaborated with the states of Virginia and California to demonstrate that his new approach provides a powerful basis for reducing fuel consumption at the network scale.

Supported by the TFP, Mehdi is working on developing an innovative software for life long pavement management decisions. His technology enables cities and consultants to make engineering and policy decisions that improve their road network’s sustainability. Using it, cities will be able to identify pavement sections in need of reconstruction or repair, determine potential paving solutions to fix the problem, evaluate costs and environmental impact of paving activities in the pavement’s life cycle, and perform cost-benefit analyses to find the sustainable paving solution.

Mohammad Araghchini

Microsystems Technology Laboratory

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Mohammad has been a postdoctoral associate at MIT since September 2013.

Prior to that, he received his S.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2008 and 2013 respectively. Mohammad has contributed to different projects related to MEMS, Magnetics, and energy-efficient integrated systems. These contributions have resulted in dozens of peer reviewed journal and conference publications, awards, an issued US patent and hundreds of citations by other scientific groups and institutes around the world.

Mohammad’s current research interests include analysis, design, optimization and fabrication of magnetics and MEMS sensors and actuators. Supported by the TFP, he has developed an innovative MEMS gas sensor technology for the building safety and efficiency industry. Leveraging the revolutionary technology developed by him and his colleagues at MIT, his system provides compact, accurate and inexpensive wireless chemical sensors that can be placed throughout laboratories and hospitals for higher safety and lower energy cost. These sensors can detect a wide array of air contaminants and chemicals. Installation of the system is easy to manage and reconfigure.

Neelkanth Bardhan

Biomolecular Materials Group

Department of Biological Engineering, MIT

Neelkanth a.k.a. “Neel” has been a postdoc at MIT since Oct. 2015. Prior to that, he completed his Ph.D. at MIT in Sept. 2015. In his thesis, Neel worked on two-dimensional carbon-based nanomaterials, for sensing and imaging applications in diagnostics and treatment of cancers and infectious diseases. Neel is the recipient of the 2015 MRS Graduate Student Gold Award conferred by the Materials Research Society, and the 2016 Misrock Postdoctoral Fellowship award.

Supported by the TFP, Neel is working on developing high-resolution optical imaging for disease diagnostics. This technology enables real-time interventional surgery at sub-millimeter resolution, an order-of-magnitude improvement compared to MRI or CT, free of harmful X-ray radiation, at a 98% sensitivity rate, for enhancing patient survival. This approach helps minimize residual disease in the patient, reduces the need for repeat surgeries, and leads to increased efficiencies by saving time and money for healthcare providers.

Nir Pour

Electrochemical Energy Laboratory

Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT

Nir Pour is a postdoctoral associate at MIT in the Electrochemical Energy Lab and in the Angela Belcher lab. His research focuses on vanadium redox flow batteries. He holds a BSc degree in Biophysics and an MSc and Ph.D in chemistry, researching rechargeable magnesium batteries, under the supervision of Prof. Doron Aurbach of Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

Supported by the TFP, Hao-Hsun and Nir are working together to develop a novel electrode material as well as a more efficient product process for all vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB). Their technology enables up to 300% greater power input/output per unit cell than commercially available activated carbon-based electrodes. Using their technology, VRFB manufacturers will be able to produce cells with equivalent power capability at lower cost.

Phillip Stanley-Marbell

Ranjit Kumaresan

Robert Mumgaard

Plasma Science and Fusion Center

Bob has been a post-doc at MIT since 2015. Prior to this he completed his PhD in Applied Plasma Physics on the Alcator C-Mod tokamak, a fusion experiment at MIT. Supported by the TFP, Bob is examining how high-field magnets can accelerate the development of fusion energy. Part of this work is examining how simple, robust, high-temperature, large-bore magnets developed for fusion reactors can be used to make more compact particle accelerators and MRI machines, and enable applications inaccessible to lower-field magnets.

Ronan McGovern

Lienhard Research Group

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Ronan has been a postdoc at MIT since June 2014.

Prior to that, he completed a Master’s degree and a PhD in desalination at MIT in 2012 and 2014, respectively. During that period, Ronan focused on developing energy efficient technologies for seawater desalination, and for re-mediating highly saline waters encountered in the extraction of shale oil and gas. Ronan is the recipient of a Fulbright Science and Technology Award, an MIT Hugh Hampton fellowship, an International Desalination Association scholarship and the international Prigogine Prize for the best PhD thesis on Thermodynamics.

Supported by the TFP, Ronan has developed an innovative filtration technology for the beverage industry. Beverages such as juice, wine and beer are bulky and expensive to transport and this increases price and reduces quality for the consumer. Ronan’s technology removes water using filtration, maintaining the quality of beverages, which has not been possible using other technologies. This enables beverage manufacturers to revolutionize their supply chain while guaranteeing exceptional quality.

Sanha Kim

Mechanosynthesis Group

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Sanha has been a postdoc at MIT since September 2013, working with Professor A. John Hart. Prior to that he obtained his PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT under the supervision of Professor Jung-Hoon Chun and Dr. Nannaji Saka in 2013, and earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Seoul National University in 2008 and 2010 respectively. His research interests span the area of Manufacturing, Contact Mechanics, Nano Materials, and Printed Electronics. His study specifically focuses on innovative and advanced manufacturing processes for new materials based on the physics of contact mechanics. Sanha is the recipient of the MIT Labinowicz Tribology Award in 2011 and 2013.

Supported by the TFP, Sanha is working on developing a direct printing technology for large-area electronics. Printing electronically functional inks directly onto versatile substrates is a scalable, fast and low-cost approach compared to existing lithography-based fabrication methods, but the resolution limit is a critical drawback. Sanha’s technology enables micrometer resolution printing of electronic materials at high printing speed (>0.1 m/s), which can be used to print conductive mesh and circuits on flexible substrates to manufacture flexible displays and touch screens.

Sebastian Pattinson

John Hart Lab

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Sebastian has been a postdoc at MIT since 2014. Prior to that, he completed a Ph.D. in Materials Science at Cambridge, primarily on carbon nanotubes. Sebastian is a recipient of a National Science Foundation Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability postdoctoral fellowship.

Supported by the TFP, Sebastian is working on new materials for additive manufacturing. His technology enables the additive production of biorenewable and biodegradable parts.

Timothy Senter

Buchwald Research Group

Department of Chemistry

Tim has been a postdoc at MIT since January 2015.

Prior to that, he completed a PhD in chemistry at Vanderbilt University. During that period, Tim focused on the total synthesis of alkaloid natural products and the development of small molecule inhibitors of protein-protein interactions.

Supported by the TFP, Tim is developing a bioconjugation technology for antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). Linker stability and properties remain a major challenge for the development and clinical success of ADCs. Tim’s technology enables a new class of ADC that possesses improved stability and tunable properties. Using this will enable pharmaceutical companies to develop improved biotherapeutics for multiple disease areas.

Wasifa Jamal

Yongxin Zhao

Boyden research group

Media lab

Yongxin has been a postdoc at MIT since December 2014.

Previously, he completed a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Alberta in 2014. In his PhD study, Yongxin focused on developing novel directed evolution approaches to evolve fluorescent protein-based biosensors for biological imaging of membrane potential and calcium ions. He is the main inventor of biosensors GECO and QuasAr family, which have been widely used by neuroscientists worldwide for cracking the secrets of the brain. He is the recipient of the Governor General Academic Gold Medal, a Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad, the Lap-Chee Tsui Publication Award in Biomedical Research, the Alberta Ingenuity Graduate Recruitment Scholarship in Nanotechnology, and the University of Alberta Faculty of Science Dissertation Award.

Supported by the TFP, Yongxin has developed a ground-breaking imaging technology for clinical pathology. Pathologists have been using conventional optical microscopes to examine biopsy samples for over a hundred years. Conventional optical microscopes are limited in resolution to half of the wavelength of light, which compromises the accuracy and consistency of diagnosis, since cells in pre-cancer states only undergo very subtle changes that are inaccessible by conventional optical microscopes. Yongxin’s technology overcomes this problem by embedding the sample into an inexpensive swellable gel and then homogeneously expanding it several folds larger prior to imaging. The technology enables observation of subtle disease alternations using only conventional optical microscopes, which will revolutionize the practice of clinical pathology and improve early detection of cancer.