Fellows & Projects

NIH T32 Supported Postdoctoral Fellows

Emily B Harrison, Ph.D.


Harrison joined UNC in 2016 after receiving her B.S. from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and her Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She studied the role of microRNAs in traumatic brain injury under the guidance of Howard Fox, Ph.D. Her current research focus, under the guidance of Chad Pecot, M.D., is uncovering novel miRNA regulators of cancer metastasis and exploring therapeutic strategies for microRNA delivery and inhibition.

Shahin Sendi, M.D., Ph.D.


Sendi joined UNC in 2017. He received an MD from Tehran University, Iran, an Mphil in Infection Biology from Karolinska Institute, Sweden and a PhD in Molecular Cell Biology from UNC Charlotte in 2013 where he worked on molecular pathogenesis of HCV. He has been working on the molecular pathogenesis of liver diseases. He is currently working under the guidance of Drs. Andrew Wang and Alexander Kabanov to explore nano-particle based treatment of liver metastasis.

Pamela Tiet, Ph.D.


Tiet earned her B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley. She later graduated from City of Hope with a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences with an emphasis on nanotechnology under the guidance of Jacob Berlin, Ph.D. Pamela has been accepted into the NIH Carolina Center for Nanotechnology Training Program as a T32 postdoctoral fellow at UNC. Here, she will focus on cancer immunotherapy under the mentorship of Kristy Ainslie, Ph.D. and Jenny Ting, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Wayne, Ph.D.


Elizabeth Wayne, Ph.D., is an NIH Carolina Center for Nanotechnology Training Program T32 postdoctoral fellow in the Carolina Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Prior to UNC, she completed her Ph.D. at Cornell University in biomedical engineering in 2016 and earned her B.A. in physics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009. Wayne has been named a 2017 TED Fellow.

NIH T32 Associated Fellows

Yusuf Kemal Demir, Ph.D.


Demir earned his PhD from the Institute of Health Sciences, Marmara University in 2012. He also holds a Master of Philosophy from The School of Pharmacy, The Queen’s University Belfast and a BS from Marmara University.  He joined the laboratory of Alexander Kabanov in 2017. Demir’s current research interests include synthesis of magnetic nanoparticle and exosome mediated drug deliver and the use of polymeric nanoparticles for drug delivery. One of his aims is to conjugate magnetic nano-particles with exosomes to ultimately recruit them as drug delivery system. He is also trying to combine multi scale (micro and nano) bio-materials for drug delivery purposes.

Lida Ghazanfari, Ph.D.


Ghazanfari earned her PhD from Amirkabir University of Technology in 2014. She also holds MSc and BSc degrees in biomedical engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology. Ghazanfari joined the laboratory of Alexander Kabanov in 2016. Ghazanfari’s research interests span a wide range of topics in theranostic platforms with a direct impact on cancer nanotechnology, including intelligent control of nano-bio interfaces to develop new nano-based therapies for prevention/treatment of cancer, innovation in multifunctional nanocomposite integration of nano-sized drug formulations, efficient stimuli and remotely actuated drug delivery systems.

Yu Mi, Ph.D.


Mi earned his PhD from the National University of Singapore, in the department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in 2013. He also holds a BS from Tsinghua University. He joined the laboratory of Andrew Wang in 2015. Mi’s current research examines the use of nanoparticles to improve cancer immunotherapy.

Wantong Song, Ph.D.


Song earned his PhD in Polymer Chemistry at the Cahngchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2013. He also holds a BSc in Applied Chemistry from Nanjing University. He joined the Huang Lab in 2016 as a visiting scholar and is an Associate Professor in Key Laboratory of Polymer Ecomaterials at Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Song is now working on cancer immunotherapy with nanomedicine, under the guidance of Leaf Huang, Ph.D. His current research interests focus on immunotherapy for microsatellite-stable colorectal cancer.

NIH T32 Postdoctoral Alumni

Zach Rodgers, Ph.D.

Zach Rodgers, Ph.D. is originally from Ohio where he earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Youngstown State University studying C-H insertion chemistry on furanose platforms with Dr. Peter Norris. Rodgers later graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Ph.D. in organic chemistry under the guidance of David Lawrence, Ph.D. During this time, Rodgers worked on near infrared light mediated drug release for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.

During his training, Dr. Rodgers primary work focused on NPs coated with cancer cell and Mycobacteria membranes as vaccination scaffolds. He also developed, characterized, and screened the efficacy of cancer and BCG membrane coated NPs as melanoma vaccine platforms. In vivo pilot studies on the formulations show promise, and he has trained and will correspond with another postdoctoral researcher who will continue this promising research. They, we hope to fully optimize this NP vaccine system and publish within the next year.

Dr. Rodgers is now an Assistant Professor at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. He will run a research laboratory with a focus on developing photochemical methodologies and catalysts for use in biomaterial lithography and complex block co-polymer synthesis. The latter project will be dedicated to developing α-functionalized co-polymers for self-assembling nanoparticle systems with applications in drug delivery. The nanotechnology experience gained during the C-CNTP will aid him in accomplishing this research. He will also be developing a Polymer and Nanotechnology course for advanced chemistry students at the college.