Duvall Lab

Lab Members



Mukesh Kumar Gupta, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor
E-mail: mukesh.k.gupta [at] vanderbilt.edu

Dr. Gupta received his PhD in organic polymer chemistry from the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering at National Chemical Laboratory, University of Pune, India in 2008. Then, Dr. Gupta moved as postdoctoral research associate in group of Prof. Jean-Luc Six at Laboratoire de Chimie Physique Macromoléculaire, University of Lorraine, Nancy, France to work on biodegradable PCL/PLA based electrospun scaffolds for ligament and tendon tissue engineering. In February 2010, Dr. Gupta joined the Vanderbilt University Department of Biomedical Engineering as a postdoctoral research associate for Prof. Craig Duvall and Prof. Hak-Joon Sung. He focused on development of advanced multi-functional stimuli-responsive degradable biomaterials (such as micelles, hydrogels, scaffolds, nanofibers, shape memory polymers, etc.) through combined approaches of living/controlled polymerization methods, standard organic synthesis, and bioconjugation techniques for targeted drug/gene delivery and cardiovascular applications. In February 2016, he was appointment as Research Assistant Professor in Department of Biomedical Engineering and currently focused on design and synthesis of injectable polymeric biomaterials for drug delivery and tissue engineering applications.


Fang Yu, M.D., Ph.D.

E-mail: fang.yu [at] vanderbilt.edu

Fang worked as resident and attending pediatrician at Medical Centre of Luoyang after she received her M.D. She then attended Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (Wuhan, Hubei, China) where she earned her masters (2001) and Ph.D. (2005). In October 2005, Fang began her postdoctoral training in Dr. Kevin Niswender’s Lab (Medicine, Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine). In February 2009, Fang joined Dr. Jeffrey M. Davidson’s Lab in department of pathology. Fang joined Dr. Duvall’s group in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in July 2014 and in her current role assists in general animal care and animal model development.

Graduate Students


Bryan Dollinger
5th Year Graduate Student (PhD)
E-mail: bryan.r.dollinger [at] vanderbilt.edu

Bryan is a fifth year graduate student for the Duvall group at Vanderbilt University after starting here as a research assistant. He graduated in December of 2014 with a B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from the University of Florida with a focus on biomaterials and polymers. He is currently working on a project geared toward encapsulating drug species in hydrogels as a therapeutic for diabetes. In the past he worked for Dr. Josephine Allen on exploring differentiation mechanisms of mesenchymal stem cells with nucleic-acid aptamer treatments. He also worked for Dr. Jon Dobson on using magnetic particles to decrease the inflammatory response of osteoarthritic human chondrocytes.

Sean K. Bedingfield
5th Year Graduate Student (PhD)
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow
E-mail: sean.k.bedingfield [at] vanderbilt.edu

Sean is a fifth year graduate student focused on developing materials to treat chronic health conditions such as osteoarthritis. He received a B.S. in Biological Engineering at Utah State University in 2014, where he worked with Drs. David Britt, Elizabeth Vargis, and Ron Sims on biomaterial applications for transdermal drug delivery and modeling environmental pharmacokinetics.At Vanderbilt, Sean’s studies center on developing and applying RNAi enabling materials. His work often involves antibody chemistry, polymer chemistry, histology, and validation of joint therapies in animal models.


Isom Kelly
4th Year Graduate Student (PhD)
E-mail: isom.b.kelly [at] vanderbilt.edu

Isom obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from Huston-Tillotson University in 2014 and earned an M.A. in Polymer Chemistry from Fisk University. In past research experiences, Isom has investigated the development of polymer nanoparticle delivery systems using naturally occurring materials, for the means of treating breast cancer. Currently, Isom is developing a fluorescent polymer/porous silicon composite particle for the means of tracing both the cargo and vehicle in vivo. Yielding an enhanced understanding of the delivery pathways of our “Gold Standard” polymer, PEG-DB as well as porous silicon nanoparticles (PSNPs) and peptide nucleic acids.

Prarthana Patil
4th Year Graduate Student (PhD)
E-mail: prarthana.patil [at] vanderbilt.edu

Prarthana attended Carnegie Mellon University and earned a M.S in Biomedical Engineering after earning a B.Tech in Biotechnology from VIT University in India. At CMU, she worked with Dr. Adam Feinberg on engineering alginate microfiber with controlled protein patterns for skeletal muscle tissue engineering.She is currently working on developing novel ROS responsive materials for local delivery of siRNA to treat chronic wounds. Outside of lab, she enjoys playing with her perpetually hungry cat, watching Bollywood movies with Shrusti, and looking at pretty minerals.


Ella N. Hoogenboezem
3rd Year Graduate Student (PhD)
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow
E-mail: ella.hoogenboezem [at] vanderbilt.edu

Ella received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Florida in 2017. As an undergraduate, she worked with Dr. Christine Schmidt on the creation of naturally derived biomaterials for the treatment of degenerative disc disease and peripheral nerve injury. She additionally investigated stem cell derived treatments for osteoarthritis while working for RTI Surgical in Alachua, Florida. At Vanderbilt, Ella is working on albumin-mediated gene silencing in tumors. Outside of lab, she enjoys backpacking, scuba diving, and travel.


Brock Fletcher
3rd Year Graduate Student (PhD)
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow
E-mail: brock.fletcher [at] vanderbilt.edu

Brock is currently investigating nonviral delivery of Cas9 to perform in vivo gene editing. Brock received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of South Carolina Honors College in 2017. As an undergraduate, he worked for Dr. Brian Benicewicz functionalizing silica nanoparticles via RAFT polymerization. Brock is a native of Hartsville, SC and attended Mayo High School for Math Science and Technology.


Shrusti Patel
2nd Year Graduate Student (PhD)
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow
E-mail: shrusti.s.patel [at] vanderbilt.edu

Shrusti completed her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Carolina Honors College in 2018. She worked as an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Ann Ramsdell’s lab on the left-right laterality of breast biology, specifically triple negative breast cancer. Shrusti is currently working on siRNA delivery for breast cancer treatment. Outside of her lab work, you can find Shrusti enjoying movie marathons with multiple cups of tea.


Carli DeJulius
2nd Year Graduate Student (PhD)
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow
E-mail: Carlisle.R.DeJulius [at] vanderbilt.edu

Carli grew up in Northeast Ohio and earned her Bachelor’s in BME from the University of Akron in 2018. As an undergrad, Carli researched fibroblast migration, hydrogel platforms for nerve regeneration, and cancer cell signaling. She joined Vandy’s PhD program in the fall where her project focuses on antioxidant drug delivery systems for arthritis therapies. In her free time, you can find her running, reading, or watching Cleveland sports.


Juan Colazo
1st Year Graduate Student (MD-PhD)
E-mail: juan.m.colazo [at] vanderbilt.edu

Juan completed his BSc. honors degree in Biochemistry at the University of Alberta in 2017. His undergraduate thesis work was done in the structural biology laboratory of Dr. Michael James focusing on substrate-assisted catalysis in serine peptidases. He has also performed research, to a lesser extent, in the structure of viral proteins, anti-cancer drug delivery, and Candida albicans morphogenesis and virulence. He came to Vanderbilt in 2017 to join the Vanderbilt Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) to get combined MD/PhD training with the hope of becoming a well-trained physician-scientist. He has completed 1 year of lecture-based medical training and 1 year of clerkship-based medical training before joining the lab in 2019. Outside of the clinic/lab, Juan enjoys playing soccer, coaching soccer, hiking, and playing with his puppy, Zoe.

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William Tierney
1st Year Graduate Student (PhD)
E-mail: john.w.tierney [at] vanderbilt.edu

William received B.S. degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Mathematics from the University of South Carolina Honors College in 2019. As an undergraduate, he researched tissue engineering for bone regeneration with Dr. Esmaiel Jabbari and mathematical modeling of the pituitary gland with Dr. Paula Vasquez. Additionally, he spent a summer working on fabricating synthetic vascular grafts with Dr. Jian Yang at Penn State University. Now at Vanderbilt, William is working on peptide delivery for the prevention of vascular graft failure. When not in lab, he enjoys trivia, going to concerts, and watching movies.


Jordan Hill
1st Year Graduate Student (PhD)
E-mail: jordan.l.hill [at] vanderbilt.edu

Jordan is a first-year graduate student at Vanderbilt University. He received his B.S. in BME with a concentration in tissue engineering from the University of Miami in 2019. While in undergrad, Jordan worked with Dr. Ashutosh Agarwal on the development of long term human organotypic tissue culture and interrogation platforms. Currently, he is working on siRNA delivery for the treatment of tumor induced bone disease.


Katie Russo
1st Year Graduate Student (MS)
E-mail: katherine.russo [at] vanderbilt.edu

Katie grew up in New England and completed her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Connecticut Honors College in 2019. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant in Dr. Syam Nukavarapu’s lab in the Institute for Regenerative Engineering at UConn Health and the UConn Musculoskeletal Institute. Here she researched the effects of hyperbaric oxygen treatment on the proliferation and differentiation of pre-osteoblastic cells for bone regeneration as well as the decellularization of cartilage for cartilage regeneration. Katie is currently working on ROS responsive polymer foams for the delivery of siRNA for chronic wound healing applications. Outside of the lab, you can find Katie climbing at the local climbing gym or hiking

Undergraduate Students

Danielle Liu (Vanderbilt, Class of 2020)
Danielle is a senior majoring in biomedical engineering. She is working on making polymeric emulsions for more effective and sustained release of siRNA. She loves performing with VUPointe Ballet Theatre, being a part of the Navigators community, spending time outdoors, and interacting with people.

Rachel Miles (Vanderbilt, Class of 2020)
Rachel is a current senior with a major in oboe performance and minors in both biology and chemistry. After graduation, she plans on earning an MD-PhD and conducting research professionally. She is working on polyplexes for effective delivery of siRNA and other drugs in tumors, as well as therapies involving microbubbles and ultrasound. Rachel also works at Vanderbilt’s Outdoor Rec Center and is on the executive boards of the Interfaith Council and Alternative Thanksgiving & Winter Break.

Katie Henderson (Vanderbilt, Class of 2020)
Katie is a senior majoring in biomedical engineering. She is working to engineer new cell lines to test the efficacy of nanoparticle-based delivery of gene-editing proteins. She is also a member of the club field hockey team and is very involved in the Society of Women Engineers.

Benjamin Wong (Vanderbilt, Class of 2022)
Shubham Gulati (Vanderbilt, Class of 2022)

Lab Alumni

Former Graduate Students

Meredith A. Jackson, Ph.D. (2019) is now a staff scientist at the Immunotherapy Integration Hub at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Kameron V. Kilchrist, Ph.D. (2019) is now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

Brian C. Evans, Ph.D. (2015) Completed Ph.D. and Post-Doc at Vanderbilt, worked as Research Assistant Professor until 2019. Brian is now a Research Scientist at Cumberland Emerging Technologies.

Taylor (Kavanaugh) Collins, M.S. (2017): completed M.S. at Vanderbilt (2016); now Clinical Studies Engineer at BIOTRONIK in Portland, OR.

Thomas A. Werfel, Ph.D. (2017): is now an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at University of Mississippi.

Samanta M. Sarett, Ph.D. (2017): now a Senior Scientist at Exicure

John R. Martin, Ph.D. (2017): now a post doc with Dr. Paula Hammond in the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; starting in 2020 as Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at University of Cincinnati.

Kelsey (Beavers) Mayo, Ph.D. (2016): now Program Manager at Precision Medicine Initiative, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Kristin Poole O’Grady, Ph.D. (2015): now a Research Instructor in Radiology, Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science

Christopher Nelson, Ph.D. (2014): now an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at University of Arkansas

Martina Miteva, M.S. (2014): now Life Sciences Consultant and Client Engagement Manager at CGI

Rucha Joshi, Ph.D. (2016): completed M.S. at Vanderbilt (2011) and Ph.D. at Purdue (2016); now BME Assistant Tenure Track Lecturer at U California Davis

Former Post Docs

Eric Dailing, Ph.D.: now a Senior Scientific Engineering Associate at the Molecular Foundry of Berkeley National Lab.

Kellye Kirkbride, Ph.D.: now Senior Biological Scientist at StemSynergy Therapeutics.

Hongmei Li, Ph.D.: now a Scientist at Nektar Therapeutics.

Former Lab Techs, Research Assistants, Visiting Scholars:

Jacob Ayers is currently a chromatography technician for Pfizer.
Linus Lee is now pursuing his MD at Carle Illinois College of Medicine
Alvin Mukalel is a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania.
Constance Lents is now in medical school pursuing an MD at the University of Kentucky.
Arnold Kim is now in medical school pursuing an MD at the Ohio State University.
Ann Hannah is now a graduate student at University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Undergraduate Researchers (Past and Present)

1.Travis Meyer – VUSRP recipient, 2012 Vanderbilt BME graduate; Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech
2.John Hall – 2012 Vanderbilt BME graduate; employed by the US Patent and Trademark Office as a biomedical technology patent examiner.
3.Matthew Getzin – 2012 Vanderbilt BME graduate; Ph.D. student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
4.Mitchell Weisenberger – SUGRE recipient, 2013 Vanderbilt BME graduate; employed by Epic Systems Corporation / now graduate student at University of Utah
5.Josh Shannon – VUSRP recipient, 2013 Vanderbilt BME graduate; graduate student University of South Florida
6.Ming Cheng – SUGRE recipient, 2013 Vanderbilt BME graduate; graduate student Northeastern University
7.Erica Curtis – 2013 BME graduate, SyBBURE Program, employed by Medshape Solutions
8.Samuel Fraifeld – SUGRE recipient, 2013 Vanderbilt BME graduate; employed by Schlumberger Oil Services
9.Skylar Haws – SUGRE recipient, 2014 Vanderbilt BME graduate, admitted to medical school, succumbed in 2015 to cancer.
10.Julia Dmowska – SUGRE and VUSRP recipient, 2015 Vanderbilt BME graduate
11.Tianwei Shen – VUSRP recipient, 2015 Vanderbilt BME / ChBE graduate, graduate student at University of Washington
12.Steven Wang – 2015 Vanderbilt BME graduate
13.Martin Lu – SUGRE recipient, 2016 Vanderbilt BME graduate
14.Douglas McKinley – 2017 Vanderbilt BME graduate
15.Cristina Contreras- SUGRE recipient, 2017 MIT BioE graduate
16.Megan Dunn (U of Arkansas), 2011 VINSE REU Program; currently Ph.D. student in Chemical Engineering at University of Michigan
17.Thomas Werfel (Murray State U), 2011 VINSE REU Program; currently Ph.D. student in Duvall Lab
18.James Kintzing (Grove City College), 2012 VINSE REU Program; currently Ph.D. student in Bioengineering at Stanford University
19.Corban Swain (Washington University), 2013 VINSE REU Program; currently undergraduate senior
20.Jesus Sosa-Rivera (Universidad del Este, Puerto Rico), 2014 VINSE REU Program
21.Sayali Belsare (India), 2015 BME/bioengineering graduate
22.Alex Anderson – 2015 Vanderbilt ChBE graduate, graduate student University of Colorado
23.Zoha Malik – 2017 Vanderbilt BME graduate
24.Madison Hattaway – VUSRP recipient – 2017 Vanderbilt BME/ChBE double major
25.Belle Ye – 2017 BME/ChBE double major
26.Benjamin Burdette (University of Kentucky), 2015 VINSE REU Program;
27.Elizabeth Curvino- 2018 Vanderbilt BME major (VUSRP Program)
28.Linus Lee- 2017 Vanderbilt BME major (SUGRE Program)
29.Alvin Mukalel- 2017 Vanderbilt BME major (SUGRE Program)
30.Najwa Faqih- 2019 Johns Hopkins BME major
31.Somtochukwu Dimobi- 2019 Vanderbilt CheBE major (Syburre Program)
32.Ayisha Jackson- 2018 Brown University BME major, 2016 VINSE REU Program;
33.Mitchell “Deuce” Stokan- University of Kentucky, 2017 VINSE REU Program;
34.Allyson King- 2019 Vanderbilt BME and CheBE major
35.Matt Castanon- 2022 Kennesaw State University Chemistry major, 2019 VINSE REU Program

High School Student Researchers:

1.Michelle Chintanaphol (Harpeth Hall H.S.), summer 2011
2.Camellia Zafar (Harpeth Hall H.S.), summer 2012
3.Varun Prakash (Metea Valley H.S.), summer 2014
4.Michelle Biesman (Harpeth Hall H.S.), spring 2016

Other Visiting Scholars:

1. Egon Urgard, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia, summer 2015 (ResearchGate link)