shout out to
Lucas Schirmer, PhD
Lina R Nih, PhD
Wexian Xi, PhD
Sasha Cai Lesher-Perez, PhD
Don Griffin, PhD
Alyson Soon, PhD
Juanjuan Du, PhD
Jianjun Zhang, PhD
Sept 2015 – June 2019
Clearview Healthcare Partners
Elias obtained his PhD from the Segura Lab in 2019 with a thesis titled “Hydrogel scaffolds and their influence on the brain.” He is now a consultant at Clearview Healthcare Partners based in San Francisco.
From Elle’s lab diary:
From Nhi’s lab diary:
Straight from Lindsay’s dissertation abstract:
From Aleja’s lab diary:
From Yunxin’s lab diary:
Straight from Kat’s dissertation abstract:
Straight from Yining’s dissertation abstract:
From Holly’s lab diary:
From Evan’s lab diary:
From Juhi’s lab diary:
From Kevin’s lab diary:
From Alex’s lab diary:
From Drew’s lab diary:
From Shangjing’s lab diary:
From Briana’s lab diary:
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June 2017 – April 2022
Lindsay Riley, PhD
Postdoc in the Segura Lab @ Duke University
Lindsay obtained her PhD in biomedical engineering as a computational scientist in the Segura Lab. Her project led to the development of LOVAMAP – a custom software that segments packed particle void space into 3-D pores and analyzes scaffold characteristics to help optimize material design. During her PhD, she chatted with Tatiana about an idea for a wet lab project that was inspired by her experience working in dermatology, and she is now excitedly working on the project as a postdoc in the lab.
October 2016 – August 2022
Yining Liu, PhD
Associate at McKinsey & Company
Yining completed her PhD in the Segura Lab where she designed different MAP scaffolds for wound healing and macrophage modulation. She not only studied how microgel size influences macrophage phenotype in vitro and in vivo, but she also shed light on the mysteries of how crosslinker chirality impacts immune response. After graduating, she went rogue and joined McKinsey & Co. as a management consultant.
Yining was one of the three girls to move the lab from UCLA to Duke, and she shared many sweet and fun memories with Tatiana (and her family). One of her top favorites has to be the time Tatiana came to support Yining in the front row of her 80’s rock concert performance where Yining was the lead singer!! Tatiana was singing along and dancing the whole time like a #1 fan 🤘🏼, which made Yining feel REALLY special.
January 2017 – August 2022
Katrina Wilson, PhD
PM at Allucent, Durham NC
Kat received a BS in Chemistry, Biology, and Art (3 degrees, baby!) from the University of Redlands, CA in 2015. She spent a year working before going to graduate school at UCLA in 2016 for a PhD in Chemistry. In 2017 she switched to the Segura Lab and joined before their move to Duke. She completed her MS in Chemistry from UCLA in 2018 and then became a PhD candidate at Duke in BME. Her PhD thesis was focused on engineering MAP scaffolds for angiogenesis and neural progenitor cell recruitment after stroke. Kat received the Dean’s award for mentoring and had her first baby while writing her thesis. She continued for a few months in the lab as a research project manager before leaving academia to work at contract research organizations.
She told us there is one embarrassing Tatiana-related moment that lives rent-free in her brain: “Lindsay, Yining and I were getting ready to move to Duke, and I didn’t know if Tatiana would let me bring my couch. I texted the girls for advice about whether I should ask her, and somehow I accidentally added Tatiana to the text group 😅😱 Needless to say, our couch made it to Durham!”
Kat also offers current students this advice from someone who’s been there: “If something bothers you – speak up. Tatiana is always there to listen and try to accommodate. If something bothers someone else, listen. Your lab isn’t just your family – they’re the same people who will work with you in the future. Your impression and consideration for one another matters.”
September 2019 – May 2021
Faisal Anees, MS
PhD graduate student at Duke University
Faisal received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver before joining the Segura lab in 2019. As an M.S. student, he applied his global perspective to the microscopic world of non-viral gene delivery by trying to come up with new tri-block copolymers that could deliver nucleic acids into cells. He then took a little stroll across the hall to join the Payne lab for his Ph.D.
Do you want to know a secret? One year we all dressed up as Tatiana for Halloween… There were 10 Tatianas. The boys wore wigs. Faisal challenges you to find this photo online.
August 2019 – May 2021
Sophia Kioulaphides, MS
PhD student @ Georgia Tech/Emory
Sophia received her B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT and joined the Segura Lab in 2019. As an M.S. student in the Segura Lab, she studied the effects of HA-MAP hydrogels on cerebral atrophy in mouse brains that have been induced with stroke. She left our lab to do bigger and better things at Georgia Tech, but she says she’ll miss getting to see the fellow students whom she befriended during her time at Duke.
January 2020 – May 2021
Ameya Chaudhari, MS
PhD Student @ University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill - Nguyen Lab
Ameya received his B.Tech in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai (formerly UDCT). During his time in lab, he developed Protein-Polymer Conjugates for gene delivery. He stayed local to continue with his PhD at UNC, but we suspect wet lab must have scarred him a bit because his advice to incoming students is: “Don’t break the Schlenk lines.” 😅 Maybe this fits with what he misses most from lab – working with amazing lab member and an ultra-organized lab <– “No, seriously, I have never seen a lab more organized than this one.”
Jingyi Xia, MS
PhD graduate student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Jingyi received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University and joined the Segura family in 2019 Fall. During her time in the lab, she worked closely with Yining to study macrophage confinement using MAP hydrogel applied to questions in cutaneous wound healing. Lucky UMich got to have her as a PhD student. During her time in lab, she enjoyed the bonding that can only occur when you’re stuck in a room with labmates for 8 hours performing in vivo surgeries. She also says she misses 8:30am lab meetings, but surely that’s a typo…
August 2017 – January 2020
Hussam Nassman, MS
Segura Lab Alumni
Our microfluidics apprentice.
September 2012 – June 2014
Shayne Siegman, MS
Accenture, Technology Consulting Manager, Los Angeles
Shayne received his B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from UCLA, and fun fact – he was a member of the Segura Lab for 5 out of his 6 years on campus! #dedicatedundergrad. His master’s degree was centered around the development of porous hydrogels as scaffolds for non-viral gene delivery in both in vitro and in vivo models. We feel like the Segura halls still ring with Shayne yelling “OHHH HAIIII TALARRRR!!!” to greet Talar each day. (Does ‘Shivastar!!!’ mean anything to you?) But if he had to choose what he misses most, he’d say it’s working with the really sharp and motivating people that are drawn to the Segura Lab. And he offers this advice to the newbies: “Failed experiments are part of the process. Don’t get down on yourself when an experiment goes wrong – it’s a learning opportunity.”
August 2012 – June 2014
Victor Oshita, MS
Maybe try Googling him 😅
August 2018 – June 2020
Pam Forero Lozano, MS
Pam was a nanoparticles girl! And we miss her. We need more Colombians in our lives.
February 2012 – February 2014
Definitely not a grad student anymore
Alyson received her PhD from the Barker lab before joining the Segura Lab as a postdoctoral fellow. At the Segura Lab she worked on understanding clustered VEGF delivery.
June 2007 – June 2008
Assistant Professor Beijing University
Jianjun received his PhD from Prof. Lu’s laboratory at UCLA before joining the Segura Lab for as a Postdoctoral Scholar. He was the very first postdoc of the Segura lab! He worked on protein-polymer conjugates for gene delivery and self assembling hydrogels for cell culture.
September 2007 – June 2012
Anandika Dhaliwal, PhD
Global Regulatory Team Lead, Sanofi-Genzyme, Bridgewater, New Jersey
Anandika received her PhD from UCLA in 2012 in Biomedical Engineering. Her research focused on understanding the role of cellular microenvironment and underlying intracellular pathways on enhancing gene delivery to stems cells in 2-D and 3-D. She misses everyone from lab but gives a special shout out to all the awesome undergrads that she had the opportunity to work with. And while her lab memories of fun times at conferences reminds us – attend conferences!! – her true advice to current students is: “Always have an open perspective to try innovative approaches and have the willingness to explore different opportunities and collaborations that come your way.”
January 2007 – June 2011
Sean Anderson, PhD
Founder and CEO, Aqua Regenerative Therapies, San Diego, CA
Sean received his B.S. (’06) and Ph.D. (’11) in Chemical Engineering from UCLA. His Ph.D. thesis focused on the cell signaling induced in endothelial cells by immobilized VEGF. In the last year or so of his studies, Sean created the heparin nanoparticles that now form the basis of CLUVENA. What started as a side project has evolved into one of the hot focus areas of the lab! And Sean couldn’t be more proud of what the lab has done to continue the incredible work he started. From the words of Sean: “A wise person once said: ‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’ Hopefully, the blood vessels and neurons you engineer will heed this advice as well!” haha
September 2006 – June 2010
Yuguo Lei, PhD
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering Department, Penn State University
Lei received his B.S. in chemistry at Peking University, an M.Phil. in polymer science at Hong Kong University of Science, and a Technology, M.S. in pharmacology at UCLA before joining the Segura Lab in 2006. His PhD thesis was focused on gene delivery from hydrogel scaffolds. Lei joined the Schaffer lab at UC Berkeley in 2010 as a postdoc where his research focused on stem cell manufacturing. He joined the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as an assistant professor in 2014 and moved to Penn State in 2021. He is currently working on large-scale cell manufacturing and immunotherapy with MSCs and T cells. He had a simple answer for his favorite memory from the Segura lab: Tatiana. “[She’s] a great mentor.” And he also misses his dear friends Qinn, Sean, Talar, Shiva, Anandika, and the rest of the lab. So sweet.
September 2005 – June 2010
Quinn Ng, MD, PhD
UC Davis Medical Center, NM/DR resident, Sacramento, CA
Quinn received his B.S. in chemical engineering at UCLA before joining the Segura Lab in 2005. His PhD thesis was focused on targeting approaches for non-viral gene delivery vectors. Quinn joined the lab of Dr. Walter at Bern University Hospital in 2010 as a postdoc where his research focused on development of radio-labeled nanomaterials for imaging. Quinn received his MD at the University of Houston College of Medicine in 2018 and is currently a resident at the UC Davis medical center. He’s had quite a journey since the early days of the Segura Lab, but he still misses working with his labmates. His advice to current students is less advice and more fact: “Tatiana is a great mentor.” We couldn’t agree more!
He also mentioned a funny memory involving a hatch egg… we’re intrigued.
September 2010 – June 2015
Suwei Zhu, PhD
Patent Agent, Nixon Peabody LLP, Los Angeles, CA
Suwei received her B.S. in Biological Science and in Economics at Peking University before joining the Segura lab at UCLA in 2010. Her PhD thesis was focused on the design and characterization of smart delivery platforms for protein therapeutics, as well as biocompatible polymers that can be used as implant coatings and dermal wound healing sealants. She then became a freaking patent attorney – yeah that happened. When she was in lab in Los Angeles, she said everyone would get together for dinner at restaurants where drinking would inevitably lead to spilling the beans…(note-to-self). But she also loved working and hanging out in a group with the undergraduate mentees. We love her advice to current students to take every manuscript preparation opportunity seriously because it’s the best time to hone in on writing skills and develop your critical thinking process.
January 2009 – June 2015
Shiva Gojgini, PhD
Scientist, Quality Control Analytical and Operational Senior Lead at Kite A Gilead Sciences, Santa Monica, CA
Shiva received her M.S. in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biotechnology from Sharif University of Technology before joining the Segura lab at UCLA in 2009. Her PhD thesis was focused on the presentation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) that modulates endothelial cell signaling and vascular branching in engineered matrices in vitro and in vivo. Funny story – Shiva recalls there was a day that Tatiana came into the office and found someone’s laundry bag…then subsequently learned that the office couch was being used for sleeping overnight (because people were working so hard of course). Needless to say, that couch was gone the next day LOL. But Shiva has too many fun memories from lab, including her epic defense day #accomplishments, Segura lab holiday parties, the lab family, lab venting over frustrating experiments, bi-weekly meetings with Tatiana, and late-night lab work with her mentor Leo…or mice…both were good company.
She offers three pieces of advice for students: 1) Emotional intelligence is as important as technical skills – don’t forget to focus on both; 2) Never give up when an idea is not giving you results – sometimes the dead end results come together and produce a huge success from a different direction that you wouldn’t even expect. 3) There is no failure in a PhD – even those ‘not working’ results offer knowledge and experience that you may use later in your professional or personal life.
September 2016 – June 2018
Peter Gibson, MS
Dexcom, Medical Device Engineer, San Diego, CA
Peter received his B.S. in mechanical engineering in 2016 from University of Vermont before joining the lab at UCLA. During his Master’s degree he worked on composition and optimization of creating microporous hydrogels for chronic wound repair. He misses lunchtime chats about lab, school, life and everything in between with good friends and colleagues, which really speaks to Segura lab culture. We can all benefit from his advice to current lab members to always put your best foot forward when meeting new people, and never feel ashamed to ask for advice.
September 2007 – December 2012
Talar Tokatlian, PhD
Senior Scientist, Drug Discovery at A2 Biotherapeutics in Agoura Hills, CA
Talar received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at UC Berkeley before joining the Segura lab at UCLA in 2007. She was one of the first 5 graduate students of the lab! Her PhD thesis was focused on the design and characterization of porous hydrogels for non-viral gene delivery for wound healing applications. Upon receiving her PhD, Talar was a postdoctoral associate in Darrell Irvine’s lab at MIT, where her research focused on the development of a nanoparticle-based HIV vaccine. Currently, Talar is a scientist at A2 Bio developing novel CAR-T therapies for solid tumors.
Not only does she miss the camaraderie of lab family and the 4pm coffee breaks, but practicing presentations as a group was a fond memory as well! For those future scientists out there, she tells us: “Don’t be so quick to dismiss ‘bad’ data (I did this a lot as a grad student). Think hard about what (1) could have gone wrong or (2) was done differently than before. Sometimes those weird results actually are pointing to more interesting and unexpected findings.”
February 2012 – December 2018
UCLA, Assistant Professor in Neurology, Principal Investigator at the Lundquist Institute, Los Angeles, CA