Sam graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017 with a degree in bioengineering and a minor in chemistry. He worked in the neuro-radiology department of the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh for a year before joining the Peace Corps, serving in Guinea for two years as a math teacher. Sam's professional interests include genetics, neurology, epidemiology, imaging, and signals and systems. His personal interests include rock climbing, skiing, traveling, reading, and music.
Zoe graduated from the University of Maryland in 2022 with a B.S. in Animal Science and the Outstanding Service in Research award. During her undergraduate she worked in a gastrointestinal lab and an orthopedic lab. Her professional interests include animal behavior and welfare, immunology, biophysics, and organoids. She also likes reading, traveling, hiking, and volunteering.
Sam graduated from University of Maryland in 2019 with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He worked for three years at AstraZeneca in Bioprocess Development, where he researched N-linked glycosylation, Raman chemometric modeling, and perfusion technologies. Broadly, Sam’s interests lie in researching and developing technologies for unmet medical needs—currently, optimizing pancreatic islet maturation and scale-up for therapeutic application. Outside the lab, Sam enjoys rock climbing, romantic date nights, snowboarding, beach volleyball and kicking it with friends.
Mai graduated from Purdue University in 2020 with a major in biological engineering and minors in computer science and biotechnology. He completed his master of biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2022, where he studied cell-specific gene expression using deep learning-enabled tissue labeling in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. His interests lie in cell therapy and regenerative medicine, including current projects on epigenetic control of human pancreatic islet maturation. Outside the lab, Mai enjoys playing video games and hanging out with friends.
Zihan Graduated from Purdue University in 2020 with a degree in Biological Engineering and a minor in Biotechnology. From 2020 – 2022, she pursued her master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering in the Johns Hopkins University, where she explored the epigenetic and mechanotransducive regulation of PD-L1 expression in breast cancer cells. Zihan’s professional interests include tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and cell therapy. Her personal interests include watching Chinese costume drama, cooking, baking, hiking, and traveling with friends.
Daria graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2023 with a BA in biology and earth science. She is broadly interested in developmental biology, cell signaling, epigenetics, and chromatin. Daria is currently studying the dynamics of repressive histone modfications throughout SC-islet differentiation. Outside the lab, she enjoys reading, going to museums, puzzles, and summer.
Monica is a sophomore at Penn studying bioengineering on the pre-med track. Her interests lie within the intersection of synthetic biology, biotechnology, and medicine, and she hopes to further her education and research to make a real-life impact on patients’ lives. Outside of the lab, she enjoys traveling, hanging out with her friends and family, exploring good food, and watching Netflix.
June is from Boston, and is currently a senior at the University of Pennsylvania pursuing a M.A. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Biochemistry, Physics, and Biophysics. His interests lie in applying novel chemical biology approaches to solving problems in regenerative medicine. Outside the lab, June loves to play basketball, drink lattes, and skateboard.
Beatrice is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Biochemistry and Bioethics. Before joining the Alvarez lab, she conducted neurovirology research on a cerebral organoid model system. Currently, she is investigating the link between pancreatic beta cell maturity and vulnerability to autoimmune attack. Outside of the lab, she enjoys listening to horror podcasts, ink sketching, cooking with friends, and all things speculative fiction.
Isra is from Guatemala, and graduated from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala with a degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology. Her interest in Molecular Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine stems from her undergraduate thesis work, which introduced the first mammalian cell model at her university. She has worked as a Teaching Assistant for Biochemistry, Biology, and Chemistry courses, and loves introducing kids to science. Her personal interests include acting, theater, musicals, nature, art, and swimming.