Blavatnik Doctoral Fellows: 2022-2023 Cohort

Kevin Hoffer-Hawlik, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Kevin graduated from Dartmouth College with a BA in Biomedical Engineering with High Honors and is an entering MS/PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering Department. As an undergraduate, he conducted research using data science and machine learning to improve emerging biomedical imaging modalities such as fluorescence-guided surgery and photoacoustic imaging. After graduating Dartmouth, Kevin joined ClearView Healthcare Partners as a strategy consultant to advise biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Kevin is interested in advancing novel therapeutics in cancer and other intractable diseases and will be joining the labs of Professors Elham Azizi and Jose McFaline-Figueroa to further their work in computational biology and multi-omic medicine.

Anika McManamen, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Anika graduated from the University of Washington in 2020 with a BS in Biochemistry. As an undergraduate student, Anika conducted research developing a method for analyzing protein interactions and screening drugs for inducing stem cell apoptosis. In 2022, Anika received her MS in Applied Chemical Science and Technology from the University of Washington with her master’s thesis “Capillary Flow Characterization and Application in Saliva Sampling.” As a master’s student, she researched fundamental open-microfluidic behavior and worked on the development of a lollipop-based, diagnostic test for strep throat. Anika is an incoming PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering program and will be joining Professor Sam Sia’s lab to conduct research on the integration of microfluidics into diagnostic and biosensor devices to make healthcare more accessible to low resource communities.

Ryan Lim, Department of Chemical Engineering

Ryan Lim is an incoming MS/PhD student in the Chemical Engineering Department at Columbia. He graduated from New York University in May 2022 with a BS in chemical and biomolecular engineering and a concentration in business studies. As an undergraduate student, he worked under the guidance of Professor Jin Ryoun Kim and conducted research focused on studying the aggregation of β-glucosidase variants and their change in enzymatic activity under nondenaturing conditions. β-glucosidase cleaves glucosidic bonds that allow it to convert cellobiose into glucose, a process that has many industrial applications including anti-cancer drugs and biofuel production from biomass. In continuation of his previous work, his proposed dissertation would investigate the use of protein engineering in the design of recombinant proteins, specifically enzymes and antibodies, which may be fused with other proteins or interact with synthetic polymers to control functionality, activity, and stability.

Evan Battaglia, Department of Electrical Engineering

Evan wears dark rimmed eyeglasses and a charcoal shirt

Evan will be joining the Columbia University Department of Electrical Engineering in Fall 2022 as an MS/PhD student. He previously received a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Delaware, where he conducted research at the Functional Additive Manufacturing Laboratory on devices for chemical sensing. The devices he developed there include a 3D-printed grenade-launchable quadcopter drone for the detection of chemical weapons and a mechanism for the automation of colorimetric sensor tubes. His other research interests include embedded processing and mixed-signal electronics. At Columbia, Evan will be working in Dr. Kenneth Shepard’s laboratory on technologies that merge cutting edge integrated circuit techniques with novel applications in medicine and biology.

Zhiqin (Echo) Xu, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Echo is an incoming graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. She previously received a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the past, she has done research on mechanics in the micro/nano scale with a focus on tissue mechanics, mechanobiology, and architected materials. At Columbia, she plans to conduct research on fascinating topics and phenomena at the intersection of engineering and biology. She will be joining Professor Kristin Myer’s laboratory. Additionally, she would like to connect with the diverse and innovative community at Columbia to help make STEM more inclusive and equitable, especially at the graduate level.