About Us

GK picGabe A. Kwong, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator, Laboratory for Synthetic Immunity

Ph.D. Bioengineering, California Institute of Technology
B.S. Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley

gkwong@gatech.edu

Dr. Kwong is an Assistant Professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech School of Engineering and Emory School of Medicine. He is a member of the Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology, Integrated Cancer Research Center, Georgia ImmunoEngineering Consortium, and the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. As director of the Laboratory for Synthetic Immunity (LSI), Dr. Kwong leads a multidisciplinary team dedicated to advancing human health by merging engineering approaches with discoveries in immunology. His lab pioneers powerful new technologies to address frontier clinical challenges – including ultrasensitive diagnostics for early detection of disease, engineered T cells as curative therapies, and high-throughput tools to study rare immune cells. His research directly impacts a broad range of complex human diseases including cancer, organ transplant rejection, and infectious diseases. His work has been published in leading scientific journals such as Nature Biotechnology and Nature Biomedical Engineering, and broadly covered by the media including The Economist, NPR, BBC, and WGBH-2, Boston’s PBS station.

Born and raised in California, Dr. Kwong earned his B.S. in Bioengineering with Highest Honors from the University of California, Berkeley. He conducted his Ph.D. studies in Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology with Professor James R. Heath, and postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Professor Sangeeta N. Bhatia at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. In recognition of his work, Dr. Kwong was named a "Future Leader in Cancer Research and Translational Medicine" by the Massachusetts General Hospital, and selected by the National Academy of Engineering to the US Frontiers of Engineering. He is recipient of the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface, Georgia Tech/British Petroleum Junior Faculty Teaching Award, Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation Award, and the NIH Director's New Innovator Award – a national distinction given to "exceptionally creative" early career investigators. Dr. Kwong is co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Glympse Bio, which is developing a powerful new paradigm in diagnostics to enable noninvasive and predictive monitoring of multiple human diseases. He holds 4 issued and 17 pending patents in biomedical technology.

Postdoctoral Fellows

idaFang-Yi "Ida" Su

Ph.D. Bioengineering, University of Washington
B.S. Materials Science & Engineering, National Tsing Hua University

fsu8@gatech.edu

Ida was born in Tainan, Taiwan and graduated from National Tsing Hua University with a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering and a M.S. in Chemical Engineering. Her passion in applying biomaterials and engineering concepts to improve human health led her to complete a Ph.D. degree in Bioengineering at University of Washington in 2018. Under the mentorship of Prof. Patrick Stayton, Ida developed polymeric antibiotic prodrug systems that were highly effective against pulmonary bacterial infections. During her graduate studies, Ida was awarded the HHMI International Student Research Fellowship and two scholarships from the Taiwanese Government¬— the 2013 MOE Technologies Incubation Scholarship and Studying Abroad Scholarship. Currently, Ida is a postdoctoral fellow in LSI where she seeks to harness protease activity to improve cancer immunotherapy and to develop a universal tool that allows high-throughput peptide screening for disease-associated proteases. When she is not in lab or on her way to lab, Ida can be found training for her next half marathon race. She has completed 7 half-marathons in Taipei, Seattle, and San Francisco.


NoinaHathaichanok "Noina" Phuengkham

Ph.D. Nano Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University
B.Eng. and M.Eng. Biomedical Engineering, Mahidol University

hathaichanok.phu@gmail.com

Noina was born in Thailand and graduated with a B.Eng. and M.Eng. in Biomedical Engineering from Mahidol University, Thailand. At Mahidol University, she developed nano drug vehicles for cancer therapy and antibacterial treatment. Afterwards, Noina received the H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's scholarship to continue her Ph.D. studies at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea; there her interest in cancer treatment led her to Prof. Yong Taik Lim's lab to develop nanomedicines for cancer immunotherapy. During her Ph.D., Noina advanced several biomaterial platforms such as nanovesicles, implantable scaffolds, and injectable gels for local modulation of immunosuppressive tumor microenvironments to enhance low response rates of cancer immunotherapy. Currently, Noina is a postdoctoral fellow in LSI where she seeks to develop technologies to improve clinical problems in cancer therapy. She spends her free time cooking Thai foods, swimming, and shopping.


Graduate Students

IMG_2104-2Shreyas Dahotre

B.S.E. Biomedical Engineering, Duke University

GT President's Fellow | NSF IGERT Trainee | NSF Graduate Fellow
shreyas.dahotre@gatech.edu

Shreyas grew up in Knoxville, TN and graduated from Duke University summa cum laude with a B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Biology. As a Pratt Research Fellow at Duke, he worked in Dr. Jennifer West’s lab where he investigated (1) thermally responsive hydrogel-nanoshell composites for optically triggered drug delivery and (2) near-infrared irradiation of gold-silica nanoshells for siRNA transfection. His studies formed the basis for his undergraduate thesis that earned him Department Distinction. Currently, Shreyas is a graduate student at Georgia Tech/Emory in Biomedical Engineering where he is a NSF IGERT trainee, a Georgia Tech President’s Fellowship recipient, and a NSF GRFP awardee. In LSI, he is broadly interested in incorporating DNA nanotechnology for use in cell sorting and profiling applications. Outside of lab, Shreyas enjoys watching college sports, exploring Atlanta's food scene, and traveling. Go Vols and Blue Devils!


LSI-Website-Pic-1Ian Miller

B.S. Chemistry, Furman University

imiller7@gatech.edu

Ian hails from Massachusetts but is a global citizen, spending formative years in the Philippines as well as England. Ian attended Furman University and graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Chemistry. His studies were supported by selective scholarships, including the Furman Achiever, Keeler Chemistry and the Alden Pre Engineering Scholarships − the latter awarded to a single student per year. At Furman, Ian was selected as an NSF REU researcher and worked in Dr. Jeff Petty’s lab studying the interactions between silver nanoclusters and DNA for biosensing applications. Ian also worked for Dr. Tarek Shazly in the University of South Carolina’s Biomedical Engineering Department on an NSF RII-funded project where he examined the mechanical properties of tissue engineered blood vessel constructs and their native counterparts. Ian's current research is focused on engineering T cells for cancer immunotherapy. He is from Medford, MA and supports all Boston area sports teams, especially the New England Patriots.


QM Profile PicQuoc Mac

B.S. Chemistry, UNC at Chapel Hill

NSF Graduate Fellow
qmac@gatech.edu

Quoc grew up halfway around the world in Saigon, Vietnam. Due to his love for computer games, he studied Computer Science at the University of Science for two years before his family immigrated to the US and settled in North Carolina. Quoc then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he graduated with highest honors and highest distinction with a B.S. in Chemistry. There he worked in Dr. Qi Zhang’s lab and studied the dynamics of hammerhead ribozymes using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), showing that a lowly populated state is essential for their catalytic activity. For his research, Quoc was awarded the HHMI Future Scientists and Clinicians Fellowship, the Jason Altom Memorial Award for Undergraduate Research, and the Chancellor’s Venable Medal for Excellence in Chemistry. Currently, Quoc is a graduate student in BME where his research is focused on the broader applications of synthetic biomarkers for cancer and disease diagnosis. Quoc likes to spend his free time playing video games, watching sports, and traveling. He is a die-hard fan of the Tar Heels and the Red Devils.


dchangYun Min "Danny" Chang

B.S. Chemistry, University of Florida

danny.chang@emory.edu

Danny was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to the US at the age of 9. He grew up in Tarpon Springs, FL and graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Florida. As a University and HHMI Scholar, he worked in Dr. Weihong Tan's lab developing artificial-aptamer lipid receptors for cellular modification. He was later awarded the Pasteur-HHMI fellowship which allowed him to work at the Pasteur Institute in France. There, he worked under Dr. Oleg Melnyk to develop novel selenium-based linkers that facilitate native chemical ligation of peptides. For his senior year, he was awarded the prestigious HHMI EXROP and the HHMI Capstone fellowships to work with Dr. Stuart Schreiber at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. There he studied genomic biomarkers for rapamycin sensitivity in cancer cell lines and the efficacy of decitabine combination therapy in ovarian cancer. His undergraduate research studies culminated in 5 peer-reviewed publications. In recognition of his accomplishments, he was appointed as a J. Wayne Reitz Scholar and inducted into the UF Hall of Fame. After graduation, he worked as a post-baccalaureate fellow in Dr. William Gahl's lab at the NIH where he helped discover and characterize the mutation in the LAMA1 gene underlying the Poretti-Boltshauser Syndrome. This finding was later published on the cover of Journal of Medical Genetics. Currently, he is an MD/PhD student studying Immunology at Emory. He is jointly advised by Dr. Rafi Ahmed, director of the Emory Vaccine Center, developing novel therapies to modulate the differentiation of effector, memory, and exhausted T cells in the context of human cancers. Danny loves to travel, attend music festivals/concerts, and play golf in his free time. Go Gators!


018_modLena Gamboa

Sc.B. Biomedical Engineering, Brown University

GT President's Fellow | GTBioMAT Trainee | NSF Graduate Fellow | Alfred P. Sloan Fellow
lena@gatech.edu

Lena grew up in Orlando, Florida (arguably the happiest place on earth) and graduated with honors from Brown University with an Sc.B. in Biomedical Engineering. At Brown, Lena worked in Dr. Ian Wong’s lab investigating the epithelial-mesenchymal transition by tracking and analyzing single-cell migration dynamics in 2D and 3D cancer co-cultures. She is a Questbridge Scholar and a recipient of the Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award, as well as Brown University’s School of Engineering George H. Main ’45 Award. Currently, she is a GTBioMAT trainee and a President’s Fellowship recipient in the joint Georgia Tech & Emory University BME Ph.D. program. Her research focuses on engineering T cells for cancer immunotherapy. Lena is dog-person, a life-long Orlando Magic fan, loves Beyoncé, and enjoys watching football, basketball, and volleyball. Go Magic!


brandonBrandon Alexander Holt

B.S. Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

GT President's Fellow | GTBioMAT Trainee | NSF Graduate Fellow
brandon.holt@gatech.edu

Brandon grew up in Lawrenceville, GA, but often traveled to spend time with family in Sweden and Romania. He graduated from Georgia Tech summa cum laude with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Physics. As a Petit Research Scholar at GT, he worked in Dr. Todd Sulchek's lab where he engineered complement-modulating microparticles, which resulted in a first-author publication in Biomaterials Science. Additionally, with MSE student Shawn Gregory he developed an antimicrobial agent that can chelate to textiles to produce residual efficacy against multiple pathogens, around which they formed a startup. Currently, Brandon is a graduate student in BME where his research is focused on analyzing multiplexed protease signatures for disease prediction and diagnosis. Brandon spends his free time playing hockey, swimming, listening to M83, and enjoying time with his girlfriend and family.


anirudhAnirudh Sivakumar

B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin
B.S. Mathematics, University of Texas at Austin

GT President's Fellow | Emory Laney Graduate Fellow | NSF Graduate Fellow
anirudh.sivakumar@gatech.edu

Anirudh grew up in Dallas, TX. His love for chemistry and tenure as a mathlete spurred him to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin summa cum laude with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a B.S. in Mathematics. As a Cockrell Engineering Honors Scholar, Anirudh worked in Dr. Lydia Contreras’ lab, investigating the effects of disease-impactful chemical modifications on tRNA structure, and later in Dr. George Georgiou’s lab, helping engineer a protein therapeutic to fight cancerous immune suppression. He spent his summers studying the structure of proteins related to stroke and HIV latency at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (with Dr. Patrick Wintrode), and Merck Research Labs. Anirudh is now an NSF Fellow in the joint Georgia Tech and Emory University BME PhD program and joined the LSI to make an impact on cancer immunotherapy. Outside of graduate school, Anirudh loves watching sports (excessively), trying new foods, spending time with family, and exploring Atlanta.


aliAli Zamat

M.S. Bioengineering, UCSD
B.S. Bioengineering: Biotechnology, UCSD

GT President's Fellow
az@gatech.edu

Ali was born and raised in San Diego, California before moving to São Paulo, Brazil for three years. He returned to San Diego to attend the University of California, San Diego where he graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Bioengineering: Biotechnology in 2018. During his time as an undergraduate, he developed and implemented an after-school STEM immersion program for a local high school. Ali started a project investigating innovative drug delivery techniques to reduce patient non-compliance which received funding from NSF I-Corps and the UCSD Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program. He continued his studies and conducted research with Dr. Yingxiao Wang exploring novel methods to remotely activate cells using heat before graduating with an M.S. in 2019. Ali is pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at LSI to develop novel therapies augmenting the immune system to target cancer. Ali loves to travel, eat, and play pick-up sports in his free time.


Lab Technicians

adrianAdrian Harris

B.S. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia

aharris334@gatech.edu

Adrian was born in Dover, Delaware but spent half of his life in Dahlonega, GA. He graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia, where he received a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. During his undergraduate years, he worked in Dr. Medlock’s laboratory, investigating the regulatory roles of Peroxiredoxin 5 and Progesterone Receptor Membrane Component 1 in heme biosynthesis. Upon graduating, he worked for Omega Bioservices, an offshoot of the larger Omega Bio-tek, where he focused on DNA/RNA isolation as well as DNA sequencing through Illumina platforms. In his spare time, he enjoys reading anything nonfiction, playing video games, and exercising.


 Undergraduate Students

irevrhdzej6qtft
Anna Romanov

Stamps President's Scholar
BME, Class of 2020
aromanov3@gatech.edu

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Lee-Kai Sun

Petit Research Scholar
BME, Class of 2020
sunleekai@gatech.edu

IMG_2923
Kevin Tao

BME, Class of 2021
ktao30@gatech.edu

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Sam Stentz

BME, Class of 2021
samuelstentz@gatech.edu

IMG_2923
Jared Meyers

BME, Class of 2021
jmeyers@gatech.edu

IMG_2923
Isabel "Mimi" Curro

BME, Class of 2019
icurro3@gatech.edu

IMG_2923
Hyoungjun Sim

BME, Class of 2021
hsim7@gatech.edu

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Nadia Ahmedin

Stamps President's Scholar
BME, Class of 2022
nahmedin@gatech.edu

IMG_2923
Anna Hart

BME, Class of 2022
ahart34@gatech.edu

IMG_2923
Qingyang "Henry" Zhao

BME, Class of 2022
henryzhao0410@gatech.edu

mckenzie_1265
McKenzie Tuttle

BME, Class of 2022
mckenzie.tuttle@gatech.edu

melanie
Melanie Su

BME, Class of 2023
msu44@gatech.edu

Collaborators

ahmed_largeRafi Ahmed

Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Emory University

Vaccine Center Director
Emory Vaccine Center

Website

Adams-AndrewAndrew Adams

Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery
Emory University School of Medicine

Website

PengQiuPeng Qiu

Department of Biomedical Engineering
Georgia Tech and Emory University

Website

405683James Dahlman

Department of Biomedical Engineering
Georgia Tech and Emory University

Website

altman_croppedJohn Altman

Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Emory University

Principal Investigator
NIH Tetramer Core Facility

Website

Botchwey

Edward Botchwey

Department of Biomedical Engineering
Georgia Tech and Emory University

Website

Alumni

Name

Current Position

Samantha Stammen
Undergraduate (2015-2016)
Quality Engineer I, Abbott
Joe Maenza
Undergraduate (2015-2017)
Medical School, Florida Atlantic University
Hassan Fakhoury
Undergraduate (2015-2018)
Co-founder, Buzz Mobile Health
Medical School, Vanderbilt University
Samantha Torres
Undergraduate (2016)
Olivia Delmas
Lab Technician (2016-2017)
Research Specialist, Emory Virology Core
Jason Weis
Undergraduate (2016-2018)
Research Assistant, ReadCoor Inc
Claire Stoffers
Undergraduate (2016-2018)
Research Scientist, Seattle Children's Research Institute
Justin Kahla
Undergraduate (2016-2019)
Research Associate, Guide Therapeutics
Mukund Pandiri
Undergraduate (2017)
James Bowen
Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2018)
Scientist, Glympse Bio
Rose Sun
Undergraduate (2017-2018)
Faith Colaguori
Undergraduate (2017-2018)
Haoxin Li
Undergraduate (2017-2019)
Graduate School, Harvard University
Tonia Li
Lab Technician (2018)
Graduate School, University of Texas at Austin
Medha Acharya
Undergraduate (2018)
Ashley Walker
Undergraduate (2018)
Erick Phung
Undergraduate (2018-2019)