Ester J. Kwon - Principal Investigator

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 funded by a pre-doctoral NIH Research Service Award. During her thesis work, 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. After gaining expertise in synthesizing peptide-based nanomaterials, she was interested in how materials interact in living organisms, especially in physiologically relevant disease models. To fulfil this goal, she pursued postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Sangeeta N. Bhatia at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, funded by a post-doctoral NIH Research Service Award, 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 fulfill these goals, Dr. Kwon is dedicated to creating an inclusive research environment through the mentorship of trainees and interaction with young scientists.

Graduate Students

Julia Kudryashev
B.S. Bioengineering - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2017
Julia Kudryashev is a graduate student pursuing a Bioengineering PhD 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
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
B.S. Biomedical Engineering – California Polytechnic State University, 2018
M.S. Biomedical Engineering – California Polytechnic State University, 2018
Rebecca is pursuing a PhD 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
B.S. Bioengineering - University of California, Los Angeles, 2018
Eric is a graduate student pursuing a MS 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
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.