Prof. David Gracias

Prof. Gracias has a primary appointment in the Johns Hopkins School of Engineering, and secondary appointments in Johns Hopkins Medicine and the School of Arts and Sciences. His academic training includes a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and a post-doc at Harvard University in the labs of two scientific greats, Gabor Somorjai and George Whitesides.

Prof. Gracias has made pioneering contributions to micro/nanotechnology, smart materials and intelligent systems described in over 200 technical publications, including several in high-impact journals such as Science, PNAS, Nature-X, Science-X and has a citation h-index of 76. He is a prolific inventor and holds 36 issued U.S. patents, with notable inventions on microchip backend integration, self-assembly, self-folding polyhedra, curved, folded and integrated biosensors, thermoresponsive and DNA programmable soft-robots, and untethered microgrippers and microinjectors. Several of these patents have been put into commercial practice and his engineering translational efforts include co-founding a start-up that was later acquired.

Prof. Gracias has been recognized by several prestigious awards including the NSF Career, NIH Director’s New Innovator, Beckman Young Investigator, Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar, and the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Award. He has been elected a Fellow of leading cross-disciplinary scientific and engineering societies, including the APS (physics), RSC (chemistry), AAAS (science), AIMBE (biomedical engineering), and IEEE (electrical engineering).

Post-doctoral Researchers

Students working towards a M.S. degree (Section 1)

Students working towards a M.S. degree (Section 2)

Students working towards a M.S. degree (Section 3)

Students working towards a B.S. degree (Section 2)

Students working towards a B.S. degree (Section 3)

Notable Alumni

Over 100 post-doctoral fellows, graduate students (PhD & MS), undergraduate researchers, high school students and high school teachers have done research in our laboratory.

Students from our laboratory, especially productive and well-published researchers, have gotten jobs at the highest levels of academia and industry. Examples include faculty at prominent universities (University of Minnesota, University of Massachusetts, University of Akron, George Washington Medicine); engineers/scientists at microelectronics companies (Intel, IBM, Global Foundries, Micron, Samsung, SK hynix); defense related companies (BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, SAIC); management consultancy (Accenture); government agencies (NIH, DTRA, FDA, NRL); medical device and biotech (Terumo, Novavax, Atrium, Moderna, Dynex), chemical / materials companies (DuPont, Exxon, Gore) and manufacturing (VELO3D). Several of our former lab alums are practicing medical doctors.

Several undergraduate researchers decided to go on for further studies and were admitted to prominent graduate schools in Engineering and Medicine such as Caltech, UC Berkeley, MIT, Princeton, UCSB, UT Austin, Northwestern and UPenn.

The lab engages in outreach to K-12 students through the Baltimore Ingenuity Project and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). A former alum Emma Call placed first in the engineering category at the Intel Science Fair.

Recent highlights: 
Post-doctoral Fellow Dr. Weinan Xu started a faculty position at the University of Akron
Congratulations to former post-doctoral student Jeong Cho for being promoted to Associate Professor with tenure at the University of Minnesota
Former PhD grad Qianru lin started a post-doctoral fellowship with Prof. Kit Parker at Harvard

Congratulations to recent PhD grads Qi Huang and Mark Kwok who've landed amazing industry roles at TDK Corporation and US Food & Drug Administration respectively

Derosh George (He/Him)

Biography:

Derosh received his doctoral degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of California, Irvine, and his bachelor’s and master’s from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He then joined Princeton University as a postdoctoral researcher before moving to the Gracias Laboratory. Some of his previous research works include exploring various biomimetic microfluidics systems, synthesizing carbon nanowires with tunable microstructure, and tailoring carbon morphology using self-folding and capillary origami. Building on these previous experiences, Derosh wants to focus his future research efforts on developing advanced manufacturing methods and exploring their applications in different domains.

Education:

  • Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering – University of California, Irvine
  • Bachelor of Technology and Master of Technology (Dual Degree) in Mechanical Engineering – Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

Research:

In the Gracias Laboratory, Derosh is working on exploring and applying various self-folding methods to study the electrophysiology of brain organoids and uncover unique gastrointestinal drug delivery applications.

Email: [email protected]

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/derosh-george-035540129/

Christopher Acha (He/Him)

Biography: 

Chris Acha is the newest member of Gracias laboratory. Raised in Prince George’s County, off suburbs of Washington, DC, Chris has a background in computational and experimental chemistry as well as polymeric physics in his alma mater University of Maryland, College Park. He has done research with the National Institute of Health in his study on the role of NOX4 in Retinal Pigment Epithelium cell migration and is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Chris enjoys exploring the vibrant atmosphere of Baltimore City and in his spare time keeps physically active with boxing as a personal trainer and coach. 

Education: 

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering – University of Maryland, A. James Clark School of Engineering 
  • Associate degree in Health Studies – Prince George’s Community College

Research Project: 

Chris is working on micro-instrumentation for brain organoids for electrophysiology characterization and advanced biocomputing. (Organoid Intelligence – OI)

Email[email protected]

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopher-acha-1b29b6168

Wangqu Liu (He/Him)

Biography: 

Wangqu is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department. He was born and raised in Yunnan, one of China’s most geographically and culturally diverse provinces. He received a B.Eng. in Chemical Engineering from Beijing Forestry University, where he focused on developing biomass-based sustainable nanomaterials for water treatment. He later joined the Johns Hopkins University for his M.Sc., where he worked on developing 3D printing functional hydrogel materials and shape-changing structures. In his free time, Wangqu is a reefer who keeps a reef tank with pacific corals and fish and a botanical hobbyist having a small indoor plants corner, and he also enjoys cooking and snorkeling.  

Education: 

  • Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering – Beijing Forestry University, Beijing, China 
  • Master of Science in Engineering in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering – Johns Hopkins University, USA 

Research Project: 

Wangqu is currently working on the development of shape-morphing microdevices and related systems for biomedical applications such as drug delivery and biopsy. 

 Email: [email protected] 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wangquliu/ 

Aishwarya Pantula (She/Her)

Biography:

Aishwarya is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department. She was born and raised in Nagpur, India. She received a B.E. in Chemical Engineering from RV College of Engineering in Bengaluru, where she focused on developing automatic waste segregators and was involved in Teach for India. She later moved to Johns Hopkins University for her M.S.E, where she worked on developing 3D/4D printed shape-changing structures. She enjoys hiking, figure skating, and playing the violin in her free time.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering – RV College of Engineering, Bengaluru
  • Masters of Science in Engineering in Chemcial and Biomolecular Engineering- Johns Hopkins University, USA

Research Project:

Aishwarya’s research focuses on using smart materials like stimuli-responsive hydrogels with different mechanical design strategies to create untethered biomimetic actuators and locomotors across size scales for soft robotics and biomedical devices.

Email: apantul1@jhu.edu

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aishwarya-pantula-2693b9149/

Soo Jin Choi (She/Her)

Biography:

Soo Jin is a second year PhD student in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department. She was born in Korea, raised in Hong Kong, and received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, where she was involved in Engineers Without Borders and research on 2D transition metal dichalcogenides. In her free time, she enjoys exploring cafes, traveling, and hiking.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering – Washington University in St. Louis

Research Project:

Soo Jin is currently developing microinjectors for macromolecule delivery and 3D microelectrode arrays for cardiac organoids.

Email: [email protected]

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/soo-jin-choi-9a386b165/

Sumedh Deshmukh

Biography:

Born and raised in Maharashtra, India. Sumedh received his Bachelor of Technology in chemical engineering with a major in pharmaceutical science at the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India. While at ICT Mumbai, Sumedh worked on novel drug delivery systems and formulation of Gastroretentive furosemide tablets at the Center for Nano-drug delivery research. Sumedh has started his Master of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Free time hobbies include badminton, reading, and food exploration.

Education

  • Master of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering — Johns Hopkins University(current).
  • Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering — Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India.

Research Work:

Sumedh will be working on development of microdevices for novel drug delivery applications.

Email: [email protected]

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sumedh-deshmukh-528b7b1b8

Jingxun (Jessie) Chen

Biography:

Jingxun is from China and is pursuing a master’s degree in biomedical engineering. Her previous work involved soft robotics and soft lithography, but her current research focuses on exploring innovative ways to interact with organoids using microfluidics and electrodes. In her free time, she enjoys skiing, skating, playing badminton, and immersing herself in video games.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering – The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Research Project:

Jingxun is working on self-folding microfluidics for selective perfusion and localized morphogenesis.

Email:

[email protected]

Ashwin Damodaran

Biography
Born in India, raised in Southern California, Ashwin received his Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering at University of California Irvine, with a specialization in biomolecular engineering and a minor in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. During his time at UCI, he was part of the Smith Lab researching a novel method to model non-alcoholic fatty liver disease using polyacrylamide hydrogels. Currently, Ashwin is working towards a Masters of Science in Chemical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. During his free time, Ashwin loves exploring new cities, trying new foods, and playing guitar.
Education:
  • Masters of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering – Johns Hopkins University (current)
  • Bachelors of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering – University of California, Irvine
Research:
Ashwin will be working on the 3D printed synthetic vasculature for organoid neuro-complexity using microfluidic devices.

Zhaoyu Liu

Biography:
Zhaoyu is from China and is currently a master’s student in biomedical engineering. His research interest is building the bridge that enables direct communication between living organisms and computers. Zhaoyu was previously working with the data analysis of neuron signals, and now he is trying to explore how to interact with the living tissues physically. During his free time, he enjoys traveling, hiking, and gaming.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering – The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Research Project:
Zhaoyu is working on fabricating and developing 3D microelectrode arrays for electrogenic tissue.

Yulun (Harry) Wu

Biography:

Yulun is a master’s candidate in Materials Science and Engineering. Born and raised in Shanghai, China, he earned his Bachelor of Engineering from Donghua University. His undergraduate studies centered on composites, with experience in manufacturing and characterization lab work. His research interest now is in biomedical robotics used for drug delivery systems. In their spare time, he loves traveling, hiking, and sports.

Education:

Bachelor of Engineering – Donghua University, Shanghai, China

Research Project:

Yulun is currently working on the development of autonomous microinjectors for gastrointestinal applications.

Email: [email protected]

 

Lauren Conway

Biography:

Lauren is a master candidate in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. She was born and raised in Daytona Beach, Florida. She  received her BS in ChemBE from Johns Hopkins University. Her research interests include drug delivery and biotechnology fabrication. When not in the lab, she enjoys running, going to concerts, and trying new restaurants.

Education:

  • Bachelors of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering – Johns Hopkins University

Research Project:

Lauren is currently working on measuring the unfolding behavior of hydrogels.

Email: Lconway[email protected]

Bo Zhou

Biography

Bo is from Hunan, China, and is currently in the M.S.E. Biomedical Engineering program at Johns Hopkins University. He received a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Boston University. His previous work involves cell culturing, bioinformatics, and fluidic devices. He enjoys traveling, mobile games, and playing Zhongruan in his free time.

Education:

  • M.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering – Johns Hopkins University (current)
  • Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering – Boston University

Email:

[email protected]

Junxiang (Wint) Zhao

Biography:

Junxiang is from China and is a master’s student in the JHU-THU dual degree program. During his bachelor’s degree, his focus was control theory. Now, he is working on processing neural signals for the Brain-Computer Interface. He tries to make machines capable of reading human thoughts directly. He will persist in trying. In his free time, Junxiang enjoys classical music, sports, and cooking.

Education:

  • Bachelor of EE – Tianjin University

Research project:

Microinstrumatation and neuromorphic computing for Organoid Intelligence.

Email:

[email protected]

Ziwei (Floyd) Ouyang

Biography:
Ziwei is from China and is currently a master’s student in biomedical engineering. His research interest is finding the relationship between neural signals and physical activities. Ziwei previously worked with data analysis of EMG signals and mice cerebellar circuits. Now, he is trying to discover the biological meaning behind the local field potential of the brain organoid circuit.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Neuroscience – The University of Toronto
  • Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering – Jilin University

Research Project:
Bioelectronic and neuromorphic computing for Organoid Intelligence.

Email:

[email protected]

Rhyan Schweyk

Biography:
Rhyan is a undergraduate researcher at Johns Hopkins studying biomedical engineering with a focus in immunoengineering, as well as a major in piano performance at the Peabody Institute of Music. He was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. Outside the lab, Rhyan is also a part of VentrAlarm (a Hopkins design team/startup) and HealAcrossBorders. In his spare time, Rhyan enjoys playing piano and is an avid soccer and tennis player.

Education:

  • Biomedical Engineering — Sophomore at Johns Hopkins University

Research Project:

Organoid microfluidics

Email: [email protected]

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhyan-schweyk/

 

Albert Doan (He/ Him)

Biography:

Albert is from Suwanee, Georgia, and is a undergraduate researcher majoring in ChemBE at Johns Hopkins. He is currently involved in researching microfluidics and their applications in microelectrode arrays for brain organoids. Outside of the lab, Albert is also involved in JHU Quiz Bowl and the Yong Han Lion Dance troupe at Hopkins. In his free time, Albert likes to read and go to the gym.

Education:

  • Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering — Sophomore at Johns Hopkins University

Research Project:

Microfluidics and applications of MEAs for brain organoids. 

Email:

[email protected]

 

Gandhali Mangalvedhekar (She/Her)

Biography:
Gandhali was born in Atlanta, Georgia and has lived in New York,  New Jersey, and Singapore. She is a undergraduate researcher at Johns Hopkins University studying ChemBE. Gandhali is involved in Tutorial Project, NEST Strategies at JHU, and a member of the Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, reading, and participating in water activities.

Education:

  • Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering — Sophomore at Johns Hopkins University

 Research Project:

Gandhali is working on micro-instrumentation for biological computing with brain organoids.

Email:

[email protected]

Alisa Fedotova

Biography:

Alisa is originally from Ukraine, and immigrated to Florida a few years ago. She is a undergraduate researcher at Johns Hopkins majoring in ChemBE. She is currently working on soft micro robotics as well as Organoid Microfluidics. In her free time she likes to read and compete in dance competitions. Alisa is also involved in Astro Jays, Women in Whiting, and Student Government Association.

Education:

  • Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering — Sophomore at Johns Hopkins University

Research:

Organoid microfluidics

Email: [email protected]

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alisa-fedotova001

Eva Loftus (She/Her)

Biography:
Eva was born in Washington, D.C. but spent most of her life in Seoul, South Korea, and Tokyo, Japan. She’s currently a undergraduate researcher at Johns Hopkins studying Mechanical Engineering. She’s also involved in the Hopkins Student Wind Energy Team (HSWET) and AIChE. In her free time, Eva likes lifting, climbing, and exploring Baltimore.

Education:

  • Mechanical Engineering — Sophomore at Johns Hopkins University

Research Project:

Eva is currently working on microelectronics to study the electrophysiology of brain organoids.

Email:

[email protected]

 

Jonathan Lau

Biography:

Jonathan is an undergraduate student from Illinois majoring in biomedical engineering, focusing on translational cell and tissue engineering. He joined the Gracias Lab in Spring 2024 and will be researching the microfabrication of shell microelectrode arrays for brain organoids. Outside of research, Jonathan is a member of a BME design team, volunteers at MedStar Hospital and with Youth Library Tutorial, and plays for the JHU Quiz Bowl team. In his free time, Jonathan likes working out at the gym and playing the piano.

Education:

  • Biomedical Engineering — Junior at Johns Hopkins University

Research: Organoid Shell microfluidics

Email: [email protected]

Sai Rayasam

Biography: 

Sai was born in Long Island, New York, and raised in Iowa. He is an undergraduate researcher majoring in biomedical engineering. Outside the lab, Sai volunteers at UMMC is part of a startup called ThermOptik and is a BME design team leader. In his free time, Sai likes to play volleyball and watch Black Mirror.

Education: 

  • Biomedical Engineering — Sophomore at Johns Hopkins University

Research Project:

Sai is studying the electrophysiology of brain organoids to power robots and biological computing.

Email: [email protected]

Aarushi Manian

Biography:

Aarushi is an undergraduate researcher at Johns Hopkins University from Houston, Texas, majoring in Electrical Engineering. She is involved in Baltimore Robotics Mentoring and Eclectics and is a member of Astro Jays. In her free time, Aarushi enjoys baking, doing outdoor activities, and various crafts.

Education:

  • Electrical Engineering – Freshman at Johns Hopkins University

Research Project:

Research focused on brain organoid intelligence

Email: [email protected]

Kayley Sanchez Forbes

Biography:

Kayley is from Sterling, Virginia, and is currently a Freshman majoring in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Computer Science at Johns Hopkins. She is currently involved in the JHU Speech and Debate team and volunteering for the Charm City Science League. In her free time, Kayley likes to read and play the piano.

Education:

  • Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering — Freshman at Johns Hopkins University
Research project: Kayley is currently working on a review of origami microelectromechanical systems.

Andrea Wat

Biography:

Andrea is an undergraduate researcher from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, studying materials science and engineering at Johns Hopkins. Outside of research, she is involved with The HOP, Doctors Without Borders, Blue Key Society, and ABC Health. In her free time, she enjoys event planning, swimming, and trying new restaurants in Baltimore.

Education:

Materials Science and Engineering – Sophomore at Johns Hopkins University

Research Project:

Andrea is currently working on developing microdevices for extended drug delivery applications.

Email: [email protected]

Naisargik Lenka

Biography:

Naisargik is an undergraduate researcher at Johns Hopkins studying biomedical engineering, focusing on imaging and medical devices. He was born and raised in Odisha, India. Outside the lab, Naisargik is a campus member of the HSC (Hindu Students Council) and works on his entrepreneurial ventures. He is also a member of the Ashoka Young Changemaker program. In his spare time, he enjoys being at the Rec center.

Education:

  • Biomedical Engineering — Junior at Johns Hopkins University

Research: Organoid microfluidics

Email: [email protected]

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/naisargik-lenka

 

Devan Patel (He/Him)

Biography:

Devan was a combined BS/MSE candidate in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. He is from Glen Allen, Virginia and is an enthusiastic individual with a love for tackling challenging problems that push him to excel. Devan hopes to help lead the development of personalized model-informed healthcare technologies in the future. In his free time, he enjoys traveling the world, learning how to prepare different cuisines, and watching Formula 1.

Education:

  • Master of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering – Johns Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering 
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering – Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering

Research Project:

Devan worked on developing micro-instrumentation for the electrophysiological characterization of cardiac and brain organoids.

Recent News:

Devan is currently employed at AstraZeneca as a BioPharmaceutical Development Engineer.

Email: [email protected]

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dpatelp

Elena Skarupski

Biography:

Elena is a second year master’s candidate in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. She was born in Boston, raised in San Francisco, and recently received her BS in ChemBE from Johns Hopkins University. Her experience with Type 1 Diabetes and industry research in immunology as well as her coursework in pharmacokinetics have fueled her interest in maximizing drug efficacy.

Education:

  • Master of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering – Johns Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering 
  • Bachelors of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Johns Hopkins University

Email: [email protected]

 

Ruohong (Rachel) Shi (She/ Her)

Biography:

Ruohong(Rachel) Shi was a Ph.D. researcher co-advised by Dr. David Gracias and Dr. Rebecca Schulman, with over eight years of experience in nanotechnology, bio-imaging, polymeric materials, and microfabrication.

Education:

  • Ph.D. in Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering Johns Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering 
  • B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering University of Science and Technology of China

Research Project:
Rachel thesis was employing bio-inspired programmable matter (DNA-directed high-degree swelling hydrogel) in the field of soft robotics and smart machines.

Recent News:
Rachel is currently employed at  National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) as a postdoctoral fellow.

Email:  [email protected]
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachelsrh/

 

Yan Wan (He/Him)

Biography:

Yan was born in Beijing China. He is currently a graduate student in the ChemBE program at Johns Hopkins University. During his high school and undergraduate years, he has been involved in several thesis experiments and publications. He hopes to maintain the rigorous mind of an engineer and the rich inspiration of an artist.

Education:

  • Master of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering – Johns Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering 
  • Bachelor of Polymer Materials and Engineering-Beijing University of Chemical Technology

Recent News:

Yan is currently pursuing his Ph.D in Chemical Engineering at UC San Deigo Irwin & Joan Jacobs School of Engineering

Email:

[email protected]