Research Fellows

Sean Hopkins, Ph.D.

Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, Michigan Technological University
B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Nevada - Reno


Sean earned his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2010 where his research was focused on developing efficient proton exchange membranes for fuel cell development. During this time, he became familiar with polymer synthesis and modification techniques to be used for future studies. He then went on to start his PhD in biomedical engineering from Michigan Technological University in 2010 under the advisement of Dr. Megan Frost with a focus in the nitric oxide field and finished in 2015. Being familiar with chemical synthesis, he developed novel controllable nitric oxide releasing polymeric biomaterials and investigated nitric oxide’s role in controlling undesirable subcutaneous inflammatory events. While investigating these events, Sean became efficient and familiar with histological techniques through analyzing in vivo tissue samples by antibody marking and the ability to accurately quantify these labeled cells.

Ekrem Ozkan, Ph.D.

Ph.D. Chemistry, University College London
M.Ss. Nanotechnology, University College London


After completing his MSc study in nanotechnology at University College London (UCL) by exploring novel techniques for the synthesis of carbon nano-onions, he received his PhD degree in chemistry from UCL in year 2018, where he combined bactericidal and anti-adhesion properties into single materials that may have potential in external healthcare environments and also as medical devices in patients. He is currently working as a post-doctoral fellow at Handa Lab. His goal is to investigate novel antibacterial approaches for medical device applications.

Anil Kumar, Ph.D.

Ph.D. Nanoscience and Technology, (NCNST), (CAS), Beijing China

M.S. Microbial Science and Technology, (AIMT), Noida, India

B.S. Biotechnology, Bangalore University, Karnataka, India

Anil Kumar received his PhD (2013) in Nanoscience from the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing, China. He worked as a research scientist at the Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems (BINN), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China. Before joining Handa Lab he worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Department of Chemistry, at the University of Georgia. Currently he working as as a senior research associate at Handa Biomaterials Research Lab, School of Chemical Materials and Biomedical Engineering.

His main research interests include development of Nano-based portable devices for rapid detection of disease biomarkers as well as fabricating nanoscale materials to build specific and adaptable catheters for early detection of infectious disease with the use of special optical, electronic and magnetic properties of nanomaterials.

Dr. Kumar has presented his studies at invited talks and seminars across the United States. He has over 30 publications (PubMed-indexed) in scientific journals as well as special appearances on topics related to Engineering Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications. He has been a guest editor in the Journal of Nanomaterials as well as being involved in the review of papers from ACS, Wiley, RSC, and Nature Journal. He is a Guest Editor at Frontiers in Pharmacology, and Nano Reviews and Experiments. Dr. Kumar is a member of the American Chemical Society, the British Society for Nanomedicine, the International Society of Neurochemistry, and the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. He is at the forefront of facilitating medical and scientific research and data analysis.

Blake Shessel, DVM

Surgical Specialist Intern, Friendship Hospital for Animals
Rotating Intern, BluePearl Veterinary Specialists Atlanta
DVM, University of Georgia
B.S. Biology, University of Georgia

In 2020, Blake Shessel joined the Handa lab. Blake graduated from UGA in 2014 with a B.S. in Biology. She then stayed in Athens to obtain a DVM from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. She is an avid runner, pure-barre-ist and tennis fan (college and professional).