4 PhD Theses Defended in Spring 2023

April 26, 2023
Thesis Defenses

Kiara Lee, PhD
Tripathi Lab

Leveraging biotransport mechanisms in the design of technologies to improve access to blood-based diagnostics

  • Lee, K., Brayboy, L., & Tripathi, A. (2022). Pre-eclampsia: a Scoping Review of Risk Factors and Suggestions for Future Research Direction. Regenerative engineering and translational medicine8(3), 394–406.
  • Lee, K., Murphy, J., & Tripathi, A. (2022). Electro-DBS: A Simple Method to Rapidly Extract Genomic DNA from Dried Blood Spots. Analytical chemistry94(39), 13404–13412.
  • Lee, K., & Tripathi, A. (2022). An investigation into simplifying total RNA extraction with minimal equipment using a low volume, electrokinetically driven microfluidic protocol. Biomicrofluidics16(4), 044107.
  • Lee, K., & Tripathi, A. (2020). Parallel DNA Extraction From Whole Blood for Rapid Sample Generation in Genetic Epidemiological Studies. Frontiers in genetics11, 374.

Kiara has contributed extensively to Brown’s community both in terms of her exceptional scientific research output and her engagement in service and other initiatives. Kiara has helped to educate the entire Biomedical Engineering community at Brown about the importance of using a global public health lens to design technologies that can have real translational potential and are better equipped to meet the needs of diverse populations. Kiara’s development of several innovative technologies and methods for blood-based diagnostics have had a major impact on the field. Beyond her shining excellence as a scientist, Kiara has also served as an important member of our lab’s community. She has always been there to mentor students, give advice, and bring laughter and positivity to our lab environment. We know that Kiara will achieve great things in the future of her career, and we can’t wait to see her success! -The Tripathi Lab


Anusha Allawalla, PhD
Borton Lab

Network dynamics of cognitive control and mood during deep brain stimulation for depression

  • Adkinson, J. A., Tsolaki, E., Sheth, S. A., Metzger, B. A., Robinson, M. E., Oswalt, D., McIntyre, C. C., Mathura, R. K., Waters, A. C., Allawala, A. B., Noecker, A. M., Malekmohammadi, M., Chiu, K., Mustakos, R., Goodman, W., Borton, D., Pouratian, N., & Bijanki, K. R. (2022). Imaging versus electrographic connectivity in human mood-related fronto-temporal networks. Brain stimulation15(3), 554–565.
  • Sheth, S. A., Bijanki, K. R., Metzger, B., Allawala, A., Pirtle, V., Adkinson, J. A., Myers, J., Mathura, R. K., Oswalt, D., Tsolaki, E., Xiao, J., Noecker, A., Strutt, A. M., Cohn, J. F., McIntyre, C. C., Mathew, S. J., Borton, D., Goodman, W., & Pouratian, N. (2022). Deep Brain Stimulation for Depression Informed by Intracranial Recordings. Biological psychiatry92(3), 246–251.
  • Allawala, A., Bijanki, K. R., Goodman, W., Cohn, J. F., Viswanathan, A., Yoshor, D., Borton, D. A., Pouratian, N., & Sheth, S. A. (2021). A Novel Framework for Network-Targeted Neuropsychiatric Deep Brain Stimulation. Neurosurgery89(2), E116–E121.

Anusha has been an outstanding scientist, colleague, and friend. Her groundbreaking research on the neural mechanisms of depression and the therapeutic outcomes of deep brain stimulation has made significant contributions to the field. As the leader of a large-scale cross-country collaborative project, Anusha manages a busy schedule. Nevertheless, she has been a pillar of support to everyone in the lab. She is always willing to jump in on experiments, make sure everyone gets their coffee, and liven things up with a practical joke. Her positive attitude and dedication have been a catalyst for the success of the entire lab. It has been an absolute pleasure working with Anusha for these past several years, and we will miss her greatly. We cannot thank her enough for her contributions to the lab and the field. We are confident that she will continue to make significant contributions to science in her postdoc on the West Coast. We wish her all the best and look forward to seeing her continued success in the future. -The Borton Lab


Jang-Hoon Lee, PhD
Lee Lab

Investigating long-term, progressive cerebrovascular alterations using optical coherence tomography in Alzheimer's disease

  • Lee, J. H., Stefan, S., Walek, K., Nie, J., Min, K., Yang, T. D., & Lee, J. (2023). Investigating the correlation between early vascular alterations and cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's disease in mice with SD-OCT. Biomedical optics express14(4), 1494–1508.
  • Im, N. R., Yang, T. D., Park, K., Lee, J. H., Lee, J., Hyuck Kim, Y., Lee, J. S., Kim, B., Jung, K. Y., Choi, Y., & Baek, S. K. (2021). Application of M1 macrophage as a live vector in delivering nanoparticles for in vivo photothermal treatment. Journal of advanced research31, 155–163.
  • Xing, F., Lee, J. H., Polucha, C., & Lee, J. (2021). Design and optimization of line-field optical coherence tomography at visible wavebands. Biomedical optics express12(3), 1351–1365.
  • Yang, T. D., Park, K., Park, J. S., Lee, J. H., Choi, E., Lee, J., Choi, W., Choi, Y., & Lee, K. J. (2019). Two distinct actin waves correlated with turns-and-runs of crawling microglia. PloS one14(8), e0220810.

Jang has been an integral part of the Lee lab since its inception, and has helped several lab members on numerous occasions with all things related to OCT imaging. He has truly perfected the craft over the years due to long hours of gathering data, building new instrumentation, and solving all the problems that inevitably arise. Jang is also a kind and friendly person who supports and commiserates with his fellow lab mates, making him a person we all deeply cherish and admire. I wish him the very best on his future endeavors, and have no doubt that he will continue to succeed and make a positive impact wherever he goes. - Sabina Stefan

Jang has been extremely helpful to me throughout my time at the lab and has consistently been a mentor and advisor for all of my questions. I'm so grateful to have learned from him, and I thank him for all his help with my projects. - Joseph Namkung


Carly Deusenbery, PhD
Shukla Lab

Developing Treatments for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Biofilms: Therapeutics and Drug Delivery

Carly worked on investigating combinational therapies and responsive nanoparticle systems for the treatment of MRSA biofilms. Carly quickly became the expert in bacterial biofilms in the lab. She worked tirelessly in the lab with a combination of passion and diligence, or as the great Ariana Grande would say, she’s “been [in the lab] all night, she’s been there all day.” Just like her micelles, Carly overcame every EPS barrier that blocked her path and we know that her resistance will lead her to a bright and successful future! We can’t wait to see you flourish in all of your future endeavors and we wish you the best of luck! -The Shukla Lab