Hettiaratchi Lab

Our Team

Dr. Marian Hettiaratchi

Principal Investigator

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto

Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology & Emory University

B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering with Biomedical Specialization, University of Calgary

Marian Hettiaratchi joined the Knight Campus at the University of Oregon as an assistant professor in January 2020. She also holds an affiliate appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Oregon Health & Science University. Marian’s doctoral research focused on developing heparin-based microparticles for growth factor delivery to repair large bone defects. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto under the direction of Dr. Molly Shoichet where she combined techniques in protein engineering and polymer chemistry to stabilize and control the delivery of proteins for central nervous system repair. In her spare time, Marian enjoys running and biking along the Willamette River and drinking Oregon wines.

Google Scholar Profile

Chandler Asnes

Lab Manager/Research Assistant

B.S. in Biology, John Brown University

Hello! My name is Chandler Asnes, and I am the lab manager for Dr. Marian Hettiaratchi’s lab at the Knight Campus. Prior to joining UO, I studied Biology at John Brown University and spent several years as a senior lab specialist providing diagnostic services for a multinational corporation. I’m excited to be able to apply that experience to my work here at the Knight Campus. In my free time, I enjoy playing sports, producing music, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.

Jonathan Dorogin

Graduate Student (Bioengineering)

B.ASc. in Nanotechnology Engineering, Waterloo University

M.ASc. in Biomedical Engineering, McMaster University

NSERC Post-Graduate Scholarship (2022-2025)

Hi! I’m Jonathan Dorogin. I’m a PhD student in the joint Biomedical Engineering program between University of Oregon and Oregon State University, working under the supervision of Dr. Marian Hettiaratchi. Prior to joining the Knight Campus and Dr. Hettiaratchi’s lab, I did a master’s in Biomedical Engineering in Dr. Todd Hoare’s lab at McMaster University, focusing on ultrasound triggered drug delivery for cancer applications which was spun out into a startup called Pharmasonica. I’ve also worked in industry and helped to develop a bio-lubricant for people suffering from osteoarthritis. In my spare time, I like to stay active by playing basketball, ultimate frisbee, and doing pilates. I also like to paint and cook. I’m a big Toronto Raptors fan, and enjoy watching cooking shows and cartoons.

David Frey

Graduate Student (Bioengineering)

B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Promising Scholar Award (2022)

Hi Everyone! My name is David Frey and I’m a PhD student in Dr. Hettiaratchi’s Lab where I focus on the development of immunomodulatory strategies for spinal cord injury recovery. Prior to arriving here at the Knight Campus, I studied Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech where I trained in Dr. Roy’s Lab and the Marcus Center for Therapeutic Cell Characterization & Manufacturing. I’ve had the opportunity to help develop Organ-on-Chip platforms, look at immunomodulation in the context of bone fracture repair, and characterize cell therapy potency. When I’m not in the lab I like to go bouldering with my roommates, cross-up people on the soccer field, and critique craft breweries!

Alycia Galindo

Graduate Student (Bioengineering)

B.S. in Chemical Engineering with Bioengineering Concentration and Chemistry Minor, University of New Mexico

Hello! My name is Alycia Galindo. I am a PhD student in the Bioengineering program at the University of Oregon Knight Campus. I recently graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering while concentrating in Bioengineering and minoring in Chemistry from the University of New Mexico. My undergraduate research in the Brinker Lab included fabricating and characterizing mesoporous silica membranes for dehydrogenation for the Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources. Outside of lab, I enjoy drawing, swimming, and exploring Oregon!

Madeline Martin

Graduate Student (Bioengineering)

B.S. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology with a Minor in Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering, Michigan State University

Hi! My name is Madeline Martin and I’m a Bioengineering PhD student in Dr. Marian Hettiaratchi’s Lab at the Knight Campus. In my undergrad, I worked on characterizing ionophores responsible for the uptake and transport of lanthanides in Methylobacterium extorquens AM1 for biotechnology applications. Then, I participated in the Rosetta Commons Post Baccalaureate Fellowship Program and learned the Rosetta Commons software platform for biomolecular modeling and developed broadly useful computational methods to assess the uncertainty in dose-response experiments using R and Stan. I enjoy rock climbing, hiking, skiing, camping, and chilling with my cats!

Malvika Singhal

Graduate Student (Biochemistry)

B.S. in Bioengineering with Minor in Mathematics, University of California - Berkeley

My name is Malvika Singhal, and I am a second-year graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oregon pursuing a PhD in Biochemistry. Before arriving in Oregon, I had the privilege of contributing to a variety of inspiring research questions such as how taste preferences evolve in ancestrally microbe-feeding flies and how neutralizing antibodies can be detected using chemically conjugated protein-DNA complexes. Outside of the lab, I am passionate about cooking, lifting, writing, and contributing to efforts that make STEM an inclusive space.

Danielle Spence

Graduate Student (Chemistry)

B.S. in Bioengineering, Oregon State University

Hello, I’m Danielle Spence, currently participating in the Knight Campus Graduate Internship Program as part of my pursuit of a master’s degree in chemistry with a focus on polymers. I am currently interning at the Hettiarachchi Lab as part of this program. Before this, I earned my bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering from Oregon State University. During that time, I worked in Dr. Kaitlin Fogg’s Lab on creating a 3D model of gynecological diseases to enhance our understanding and develop new therapeutic approaches. Outside of the lab, I enjoy spending time with my cats, family, and dogs. Additionally, I like to unwind by watching K-Dramas and spending quality time with friends.

Justin Svendsen

Graduate Student (Biochemistry)

B.S. in Biochemistry, Western Washington University

NSF NRT Fellow (2023-2024)

Hello! I am Justin Svendsen, a PhD student in the Biochemistry degree program here at the University of Oregon. Prior to joining the Hettiaratchi lab, I received my Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Western Washington University. My undergraduate research experience involved rational design and characterization of sortase enzymes, membrane-bound proteins on the surface of gram-positive bacteria that play an integral role in bacterial virulence, with modular substrate recognition for applications in human health and protein engineering. This work culminated in generating the first crystal structures of a sortase non-covalently bound to its recognition motif, providing insight into the mechanism by which gram-positive bacteria invade host cells and informing further characterization of sortases as protein engineering tools. Outside of the lab, I like to keep in touch with nature by pursuing my passions in sea kayaking, mountain biking, alpine hiking, and beekeeping.

Yan Carlos Pacheco

Graduate Student (Bioengineering)

B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida

NSF Graduate Research Fellow (2021-2024)

Promising Scholar Award (2021)

Hi! I’m Yan Carlos Pacheco and I was born in Havana, Cuba. I’m a Ph.D. student in the joint Bioengineering program between the University of Oregon and Oregon State University, working in both Dr. Nick Willett’s and Dr. Marian Hettiaratchi’s laboratories at the Knight Campus. Before coming to Oregon, I did my Bachelors of Biomedical Engineering at The University of Florida in which I worked in Dr. Kyle Allen’s laboratory for four years. As an undergraduate, I got hands-on experience with designing histological experiments for knee osteoarthritis. I briefly worked on characterizing synovial fluid with magnetic particle translation; a novel technique developed in our lab. Lastly, I also worked on developing Matlab scripts to process and quantify synovial tissue changes at the joint level. In my spare time, I enjoy cuddling with my two cats, Norman Rockwell and Lisa Newcarr. Beyond my two children, I enjoy baking, cooking, hiking, puzzles, swimming, and film photography just to name a few.

Morrhyssey Benz

Undergraduate Research Assistant (Biochemistry)

B.S. in Biochemistry with a Minor in Environmental Studies

Knight Campus Undergraduate Scholar (2023)

UO Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Fellowship (2022)

Expected Graduation: June 2024

My name is Morrhyssey Benz and I am a fourth-year biochemistry major at the University of Oregon. I am very interested in medical research and after completing my undergraduate degree, I plan on continuing onto grad school to further study genetics and human disease. I am from Denver, Colorado and in my free time I enjoy reading, swimming, and indoor rock climbing. 

Alyssa Chi

Undergraduate Research Assistant (Biochemistry)

B.S. in Biochemistry with Minors in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship

Expected Graduation: June 2026

Hi! My name is Alyssa Chi and I am from Agoura Hills, California. I am a second-year student here at the University of Oregon, majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship. After completing my undergraduate degree, I hope to continue my education through medical school or pursuing a Ph.D. In my free time I love traveling, doing yoga, and spending time with my family and friends.

 

Madeleine Ford

Undergraduate Research Assistant (Human Physiology)

B.S. in Human Physiology with a Minor in Chemistry

Knight Campus Undergraduate Scholar (2024)

VPRI Undergraduate Research Fellow (2023)

UO Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Fellowship (2022)

Expected Graduation: June 2025

My name is Maddy Ford. I am a Human Physiology major with a Chemistry minor, in my third year at the University of Oregon. I will likely add a Global Health minor later on. After I graduate, I hope to attend graduate school where I will continue research in biomedical engineering and/or global health. Outside of work and school I enjoy cooking, coding, and the odd video game.

Caroline Foskett

Undergraduate Research Assistant (Human Physiology)

B.S. in Human Physiology with Minors in Bioengineering and Chemistry

UO Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Fellowship (2024)

Expected Graduation: June 2026

Hello! My name is Caroline Foskett and I am a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Human Physiology and minoring in Bioengineering and Chemistry. My hometown is Eugene, Oregon and some of my favorite things to do here are snowboarding, coaching soccer at my old high school, and traveling. After graduation, I hope to pursue a career in Biomedical Engineering and go on to grad school or enroll in a M.D.-Ph.D. program. 

Juan Luis Garcia

Undergraduate Research Assistant (Biochemistry)

B.S. in Biochemistry

Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance Undergraduate Research Fellow (2023)

Expected Graduation: June 2024

Hola! My name is Juan, and I am from Fresno, California. I’m a fourth-year biochemistry major at the UO. I am very interested in medical technology and its applications. After I graduate, I hope to become a cosmetic chemist/formulator or continue my education at the UO through graduate school. I am very interested in plant medicine/eastern medicine, and I do a lot of yoga.  

Armaan Hajarizadeh

Undergraduate Research Assistant (Data Science)

B.S. in Computer Science and Data Science with a Minor in Mathematics

Expected Graduation: June 2027

Hey! My name is Armaan Hajarizadeh, and I am a first-year computer science and data science major at the University of Oregon, Robert D. Clark Honors College. After completing undergrad, I hope to pursue in Ph.D. in artificial intelligence and machine learning. I am originally from Portland, Oregon so I’m only 2 hours away from my family. When I’m not doing school work or lab work, you’ll either find me on the soccer field kicking a ball around, going on hikes on the beautiful trails in Portland, or relaxing with friends.

Alayna Huque

Undergraduate Research Assistant (Human Physiology)

B.S. in Human Physiology with a Minor in Entrepreneurship

Knight Campus Undergraduate Scholar (2024)

Expected Graduation: December 2026

Hi! My name is Alayna Huque and I’m a second year Human Physiology major with a Minor in Entrepreneurship at the University of Oregon. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I hope to go to medical school. I am originally from Portland, Oregon so I love all things outdoors like hiking, swimming, and running. I also love to travel, try new foods, and obsess over Formula 1.

Payton Jefferis

Undergraduate Research Assistant (Biochemistry)

B.S. in Biochemistry

Knight Campus Undergraduate Scholar (2023)

Expected Graduation: June 2025

Hello! My name is Payton Jefferis, and I am a third-year biochemistry major here at the University of Oregon. After graduation, I hope to attend medical school, with the possibility of completing a combined M.D.-Ph.D. program. I am originally from Portland, OR so I love any day that rains! When I am not in class or in the lab I love to read, cook new recipes, and spend time with my family.

Jenna Khachatourian

Undergraduate Research Assistant (Human Physiology)

B.S. in Human Physiology with a Minor in Chemistry

Knight Campus Undergraduate Scholar (2023)

Expected Graduation: June 2024

My name is Jenna Khachatourian, and I am a fourth-year Human Physiology major with a minor in Chemistry at the University of Oregon. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I hope to attend a Physician Assistant Master’s program and practice medicine as a PA-C. I am originally from Los Angeles, California so I love to explore all the beautiful sites that Oregon has to offer. When I am not in school or at work, I love to spend quality time with my friends trying new restaurants, going on walks, and exploring Eugene!

Lab Alumni

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Esther Mozipo (B.S. Chemistry) - Undergraduate Research Assistant (2021-2023)

Knight Campus Undergraduate Scholar, Senior Honors Thesis

Simon Oh (B.S. Biology) - Undergraduate Research Assistant (2021-2022)

Senior Honors Thesis

Henry Hochstatter (B.S. Biology) - Undergraduate Research Assistant (2020-2022)

UO UROP Mini-Grant (2022), UO Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Fellowship (2021), Senior Honors Thesis

Ireland Johnson (B.S. Biology) - Undergraduate Research Assistant (2020-2022)

Hons Rajabzadeh (B.S. Chemistry) - Undergraduate Research Assistant (2020-2021)

Branden Henry (B.S. Human Physiology) - Undergraduate Research Assistant (2020-2021)

Dr. Jakob Townsend - Postdoctoral Scholar (2020)