Congratulations Graduates

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the graduating classes of 2020, from junior high to high school to college students, experienced unique virtual graduation ceremonies this year. The Johns Hopkins University graduating class is no different and they celebrated at home with close family and friends. Commencement speakers included Alexis Ohanian, internet entrepreneur and Reddit co-founder, singer/songwriter Tori Amos, and there was a special guest appearance by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and leading expert for the White House Corona Virus Taskforce. We wish to congratulate all our INBT students on their much deserved success and wish them well as they move on to the next adventure in their lives. This includes Minh-Tam Tran, Ariel Slepyan, Dante Navarro, Jaynie Criscione, Hannah Aspinwall, Thomas DiSorbo, Sharada Narayanan, Samuel Schaffter, and Yi Xiao.

Samuel Schaffter

Yi Xiao

Samuel Schaffter completed his PhD in chemical and biomolecular engineering under the mentorship of Rebecca Schulman. During his time at Hopkins, he engineered synthetic reaction networks that process information to produce programmed chemical outputs. These artificial networks mimic the genetic regulatory networks that control cellular behavior and can act as “synthetic genomes” that autonomously control engineered materials. Such bioinspired materials could enable self-healing medical devices or drug delivery systems that adapt their behavior to changing environments. After graduation, he will be a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology where he will work on genetically encoding RNA strand exchange circuits for in vivo sensing, computation, and response.

My time at JHU has been great and Dr. Schulman really gave me the freedom to explore my wide range of scientific interests, from modeling and optimization to more traditional biochemistry. The skills I have gained will be invaluable for my future scientific career,” said Schaffter.

Yi Xiao completed her masters degree in chemical and biomolecular engineering under the mentorship of Rebecca Schulman. Under Schulman’s training, Xiao became fascinated on how DNA can be used to design and customize specific nanostructures, or even nanorobots. With the help of her mentor’s instructive advice and insightful suggestions, and also useful advice and support from her lab mates,  she successfully used a photocleavable material to design a simple and versatile method to build DNA nanotube microarrays on solid surfaces, which have great potential application in biomedical studies, synthetic biology, nanofabrication, nanodevices and so on. After graduation, Xiao plans to pursue her career in China.