Summer School on Engineering Living Materials (SSELM) Participants

Exploiting biology in functional materials
The intellectual focus of this RIMSE Summer School is to engineer living systems to generate new polymeric materials. These composite materials can be responsive to diverse stimuli and are capable of generating complex, genetically encoded material outputs. Such materials can enable biosynthetic electronics, chemical threat decontamination, synthesis and/or delivery of therapeutics, and soft robotics, among other applications. Led by Professor Jonathan Pokorski, the course offers an introduction to skills relevant to synthesis and fabrication of engineered living materials. Trainees will learn techniques to create materials at the living/non-living interface, including polymer chemistry, additive manufacture, and soft matter characterization.

To submit your application materials, please contact Professor Jonathan Pokorski.


Sara Barcik Weissman

BIO: Sara Barcik Weissman is an undergraduate student pursuing a biology degree at UCLA. She holds a Certificate of Proficiency in Research and Development, an Associates Degree for Transfer in Biology, and an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts: Math and Science. She is interested in pursuing an MD-PhD after she obtains her B.A. She works as a supplemental instruction leader for a biology class at MiraCosta College where she leads sessions aimed to improve students’ understanding of challenging lecture material. She will be participating in UC San Diego’s MRSEC REU program in Professor Mayfield's lab. Her research will focus on metabolic engineering of green algae.
ORCID: 0000-0002-2319-4421


Erica Hild

BIO: Erica Hild is an undergraduate student at the University of Delaware, working this summer under the supervision of Dr. Jon Pokorski. She is currently majoring in biomedical engineering and plans to pursue graduate school in materials science. Her previous research experience focused on thermoresponsive polymers. Through UC San Diego's MRSEC REU, she will be working on utilizing additive manufacturing for synthesizing cyanobacterial gels.
ORCID: 0000-0002-7529-2824


Brian Jiang Xi

BIO: Brian Xi is an undergraduate chemical engineering major (Class of 2022) participating in SSELM through the UC San Diego MRSEC RIMSE Program. He is interested in nanomaterials for use in drug delivery and regenerative medicine.
ORCID: 0000-0002-7677-813X


Lenny McCline

BIO: Lenny is an undergraduate Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering major at UCLA (class of 2023). He is working in the Pokorski Lab under the mentorship of David Wirth to develop shelf-stable, self-administered, and mass-producible vaccines to assist in a rapid worldwide response to future pandemics. His particular focus is to optimize the polymer formulation of injection-molded microneedle arrays to achieve sufficient and consistent subcutaneous payload delivery.
ORCID: 0000-0001-7471-0951


Luis Palomino

BIO: Luis Palomino is an entering Ph.D. student in the UC San Diego NanoEngineering department, who will join the Pokorski Lab in Fall 2021. He obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from the National University of San Marcos - UNMSM (Lima, Peru) in 2016. For the last five years, he was a research assistant and instructor at the University of Engineering and Technology - UTEC (Lima, Peru). Holding this position, he participated in funded collaborative projects with the University of Connecticut, Harvard University, and Cleveland Clinic developing metallic, polymeric, and carbon nanomaterials for their use in environmental remediation, drug delivery, and energy storage.
ORCID: 0000-0002-3992-3123