PhD Students

Milad Babaei

Milad graduated in 2018 from BU where he obtained his Bachelors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Masters in Biotechnology. His research focus entails development of DNA nanodevices that can simultaneously amplify nucleic acid targets while providing fast readout. In his spare time, he enjoys jogging and exploring designs in silico.

Jiayi Li

Jiayi grew up in China and graduated from UC San Diego with a B.S. degree in Bioengineering: Biotechnology. She joined the Ph.D. program in Biomedical Engineering at BU in 2020. She is interested in engineering RNA-based circuits for imaging and biosensing. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and reading fantasy novels.

James Robson

James earned his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Boston University in 2020 and joined the Ph.D. program in the same year. As an SB2 trainee, he is interested in engineering biological systems by designing RNA and DNA structures to modulate gene expression. Outside of the lab, he enjoys playing in local orchestras, chamber ensembles, and wind ensembles, as well as baking, watching movies, and volunteering.

Rebecca Kang

Rebecca is from Singapore. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.S. in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and joined the BU BME Ph.D. program in 2019. Her research focuses on nucleic acid design for synthetic biology in cell-free systems and mammalian cells. Outside of the lab, Rebecca is part of a loving spiritual family at Symphony Church. She enjoys boxing and trying out new restaurants.

Juan J. Jaramillo Montezco

Juan graduated from MIT in 2016 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. He joined the BME PhD program after working at Lyndra Therapeutics as Scientist II. Juan hopes to bridge biomaterials and synbio to create a fully synthetic cell able to compute complex, specific logic. Juan enjoys new food, playing video/board games, and advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Aidan Riley

Aidan graduated from the University of Connecticut with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and joined the BU BME Ph.D. program in 2021. His research focuses on developing machine learning methods to design functional nucleic acids in vivo. In his free time, Aidan enjoys skiing, golfing, and hiking.

McKayla Vlasity

McKayla graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a B.S. in Chemical and Biological Engineering and joined the BU BME PhD program in 2021. She is interested in designing nucleic acid systems for reporting and therapeutic applications. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, exploring Boston, and traveling.

Yudan Li

Yudan graduated from Georgetown University with an MS in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and did her undergrad in Entomology at Northwest A&F University, China. She joined the BU Biology Ph.D. program in 2021. She is interested in engineering biological components for sensing functions and hopes to bring her research from bench to application. Yudan enjoys building Lego, cooking, and photography.

Amit Eshed

Amit graduated in 2021 from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering. He joined the BU BME Master’s program in 2021 and entered the PhD program in 2023. His research focuses on cell-free multi-channel diagnostic detection and determination of viral loads. Outside the lab, Amit likes to swim, cook, and read.

Padric Garden

Padric graduated from Boston University with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering in 2017. Following work at Confer Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital he joined the BU BME PhD program in 2019. He is interested in adapting biological processes for use in sensing applications. Outside of lab, Padric enjoys cooking, trying new restaurants, and watching movies.