Ester J. Kwon - Principal Investigator

Ester J. Kwon is an assistant professor of Bioengineering at the University of California San Diego. Dr. Kwon earned her B.S. in Bioengineering and B.A. in Molecular & Cell Biology at UC Berkeley. She went on to earn her Ph.D. at the University of Washington in Bioengineering with Suzie H. Pun, where she engineered polymeric nanoparticles that were grafted with peptides to give them biological function for the delivery of therapeutic nucleic acid into the central nervous system. She went on to postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Sangeeta N. Bhatia at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, she engineered several nanomaterial scaffolds for application to cancer, bacterial infections, and traumatic brain injury. Her lab in the Bioengineering Department at UCSD is interested in engineering nanoscale tools, diagnostics, and treatments for diseases of the central nervous system. In order to fulfil these goals, Dr. Kwon is motivated to create an inclusive research environment through the individualized mentorship of trainees and outreach to young scientists. Dr. Kwon is a recipient of the pre- and post-doctoral NIH Ruth L. Krischstein National Research Service Awards and the NIH Director’s New Innovator award.

Graduate Students

Julia Kudryashev - Ph.D. Candidate, Bioengineering
B.S. Bioengineering - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2017
NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Julia Kudryashev is a graduate student pursuing a Bioengineering Ph.D. at UCSD. She is interested in developing diagnostic and research tools for the nervous system, and in improving in vitro tissue models. When she's not in lab, Julia enjoys dabbling in different art mediums and spending time with her cat.
Lauren Waggoner - Ph.D. Student, Nanoengineering
B.S. Nanoengineering - UC San Diego, 2014
Lauren is interested in researching nanotechnology and nanomaterials for localized drug delivery applications and personalized medical treatment.
Rebecca Kandell - Ph.D. Candidate, Bioengineering
B.S. Biomedical Engineering – California Polytechnic State University, 2018
M.S. Biomedical Engineering – California Polytechnic State University, 2018
Sloan Fellow, Powell Fellow
Rebecca is pursuing a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from UCSD. She is interested in leveraging nanomedicine and tissue engineering to treat traumatic brain injury and other neurodegenerative disorders of the central nervous system.
Eric Chung - M.S. Student, Bioengineering
B.S. Bioengineering - University of California, Los Angeles, 2018
Eric is a graduate student pursuing a M.S. in Bioengineering. He is interested in using nanotechnology to treat brain cancers, such as medulloblastoma. He wishes to continue his work in industry focusing on drug delivery applications for cancer therapy.

Undergraduate Students

Alexander Yan - B.S. Student, Bioengineering
Alexander Yan is a bioengineering undergraduate at UCSD who is excited to contribute to the evolution of medical technology through research. He has a particular interest in tissue engineering and desires to pursue a M.D/Ph.D in the future.
Alan Hurtado - B.S. Student, Bioengineering
Alan Hurtado is a bioengineering undergraduate at UCSD. He wishes to pursue a Ph.D. and work at the interface of bioengineering, nanotechnology and ophthalmology. He has long-term interests in developing new treatments for eye diseases.
Hope Leng - B.S. Student, Bioengineering
Hope is a bioengineering undergraduate at UCSD who hopes to contribute to a deeper understanding of the human brain through neuroengineering techniques. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. and a career in academia after she graduates as part of her aspiration to share scientific research with diverse communities.