Graduate Students – Handa Biomaterials Lab

Doctoral Students

Megan Douglass

B.S. Biological Engineering, University of Georgia


Megan received her B.S. in biomedical engineering at the University of Georgia in 2017. During her undergraduate experience, she worked on 3D cell-based biosensors for high throughput screening under Dr. William Kisaalita for three years. Outside of the classroom, she served as Vice President and now as an alumni volunteer at the local Salvation Army Chapter at UGA. She has now joined the Handa lab to work on developing NO-releasing materials for tissue engineering applications. 


Arnab Mondal

B.Tech Biotechnology, West Bengal University of Technology, India

M.Tech Biotechnology, National Institute of Technology Durgapur, India


Arnab received his Master of Technology degree in Biotechnology from National Institute of Technology, India in 2016. Throughout his undergraduate and graduate studies, Arnab has been involved in research areas spanning biomaterials, microbiology and environmental biotechnology. In 2012 and 2014, he interned at CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute, India, working mainly on the application of hydroxyapatite in bone tissue engineering and copper removal from wastewater. His current research focuses on developing antibacterial surfaces, gasotransmitter delivery systems, and understanding bacteria/material interfaces. 

Mark Garren

B.S. Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology


Mark earned his B.S. in chemical and biomolecular engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2017. As an undergraduate researcher, Mark worked on thiabicyclononane-based hyperbranched polycations for non-viral transfection applications and similar materials for antimicrobial surfaces. With a background heavy in chemical biology, materials chemistry, and bioengineering, Mark has joined the Handa lab to pursue work on NO-releasing polymers with tunable antimicrobial and nonthrombogenic properties for applications in medical devices and wound healing.

Lori Estes

B.S. Biological Engineering, University of Georgia


Lori received her B.S. in biological engineering from the University of Georgia in 2018. In her undergraduate she worked briefly with Dr. Karen Burg fabricating a microscope system to video record cell travel up the channels of a wicking fiber. In her final year she began work in Dr. Handa’s lab assisting research on nitric oxide release of cerium oxide nanoparticles. Outside of academics, Lori was a student leader with The Wesley Foundation, as well as being involved with the Shop With a Bulldawg Committee, and a member of The Arch Society. Her research in Dr. Handa’s lab will be focused on nitric oxide releasing materials in wound healing applications.

Sama Ghalei

M.E.Biomedical Engineering, University of Tehran, Iran

B.E. Biomedical Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran


Sama received her M.E. in Biomedical Engineering from University of Tehran, in 2018. She completed her B.E. in Biomedical Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology, in 2014. Prior to joining Handa lab, Sama participated in research projects focusing on fabrication of polymeric wound dressings with the ability to deliver therapeutic agents to the wound site. Sama’s previous research has provided her with extensive training in the preparation and characterization of polymeric biomaterials and drug delivery systems.

Divine Francis

B.S. Chemistry, Emory University


Divine received his B.S. in Chemistry from Emory University in 2018. During his undergraduate career, he spent two years working under Dr. Tim Lian, assisting in the research of nanoparticles with solar energy applications. Divine joins the Handa lab to research novel materials with medical applications.

Ryan Devine

B.S. Biological Engineering, University of Georgia


Ryan received his B.S. in Biological Engineering with an emphasis in Biomechanics from the University of Georgia in 2017. During his junior and senior year as an undergraduate, Ryan worked for the USDA Agricultural Research Service at the Russel Research Center in Athens, GA. At the USDA-ARS, Ryan worked primarily on poultry muscle tissue deformities and gained experience working with animal models. Using this past experience, Ryan is now focusing on improving the hemocapability of NO-releasing materials and conducting extracorporeal circuit (ECC) rabbit models to prove their efficacy.

Rashmi Pandey

B.S. Microbiology
M.S. Biotechnology, Guru Ghasidas Central University, India

Rashmi earned her Master’s in Biotechnology in 2014 from Guru Ghasidas Central University, India. Before joining Dr. Handa’s lab in 2019, she has worked at Aurigene Discovery Technology Limited as a Research Associate since 2014. Aurigene is a drug discovery company located in India. Her research focus was Immunotherapy for cancer. She worked primarily on immune checkpoint modulators, trying to manipulate them as therapeutic agents.

Lauren Griffin

B.S. Biological Engineering, University of Georgia

Lauren received her B.S. in biological engineering from the University of Georgia in 2019. She first joined Dr. Handa’s lab as an undergraduate student because she enjoyed her time in an NSF REU program at the University of Connecticut. Throughout her undergraduate career, she was a part of the UGA Honors College, Terry’s Institute for Leadership Advancement program and served as a teacher’s assistant in many engineering classes. In her free time, Lauren raised two service dogs in training, Basil and River, through the Guide Dog Foundation. Now, she has decided to continue her journey at UGA and will be researching biocompatible coatings for medical implant applications with the Handa Biomaterials Research Lab.

Morgan Ashcraft

B.S. Chemistry, Cleveland State University

Morgan earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Cleveland State University in 2017. As an undergraduate, she worked in biochemistry, electrochemistry, and medicinal chemistry labs. She is currently a student in UGA’s College of Pharmacy with a background in drug delivery systems. Morgan joined the Handa lab to investigate nitric oxide-releasing compounds for medical applications. Outside of the lab, she is involved in her department’s student organization, the College of Pharmacy Dean’s Student Advisory Committee, and the Athens Science Café.

Sarah Wilson

B.S. Biochemistry, Virginia Tech

I received a B.S. in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech in 2020 along with minors in Business Leadership and Chemistry. Throughout my undergraduate career I worked with Dr. A. Jonathan Auguste in an arbovirology lab studying the characterization and transmission of novel viruses stemming from mosquitoes. Most notably, I worked with the Zika virus to develop a safe and effective vaccine platform for emerging flaviviruses. Outside of class I was an active member of my sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, where I held 2 different leadership positions. In my free time I enjoy rock climbing, SCUBA diving, and watching movies.

Yi (Elaine) Wu

B.S. Biological Engineering, University of Georgia

Elaine received her B.S. in biological engineering from the University of Georgia in 2020. During her undergraduate career, she worked under Dr. Craig R. Forest for the automated in vivo patch-clamping robot and sterilization of patching chips. In her final year, she began to work in Dr. Handa's lab on nitric oxide releasing nanoparticles. Elaine has joined the Handa Biomaterial Research lab to pursue work on the hemocompatibility of NO-releasing materials and blood-contacting device coatings.

Patrick Maffe

B.S. Biochemical Engineering, University of Georgia

Patrick received his B.S. in biochemical engineering at the University of Georgia in 2020. As an undergraduate he worked on membrane systems involving droplet induced bilayers to understand the presence of memory in what is called a "memristor" while working in Dr. Eric Freeman's lab. He has decided to join the Handa Lab with the hope of extending his knowledge in biomedical engineering through collaborative work with other lab members.

Master’s Students

Stephen Thompson

B.S. Biological Engineering, University of Georgia

Stephen received his B.S. in biological engineering from the University of Georgia in May of 2021. During his time at UGA he developed an interest in biomedical research with an emphasis on biocompatibility and biomedical devices. Stephen joined the Handa Biomaterials Lab with the purpose of developing novel materials that have increased utility in the medical field. Apart from the lab, Stephen is active in the Tau Beta Gamma honor society.