Current Members

Postdoctoral Scholars

Zhicheng Jin is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of NanoEngineering at UC San Diego. He received her Ph.D. in chemistry in 2020, under the supervision of Prof. Hedi Mattoussi at the Florida State University, where he worked on surface chemistry and FRET mechanism. His research in Jokerst group focuses on developing colorimetric sensors and imaging contrast agents for health applications.

Tamer AGh Abdelrehim is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Nano Engineering at UC San Diego. He received his Ph.D. in the Science of measurements (Laser ultrasound, optical generation, and Interferometer detection of ultrasound) in 2016 under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Jaewan Kim at the Korea Research Institute for Standards and Science, University of Science and Technology (UST), South Korea. His research in the Jokerst group focuses on the development of dental research applications of photoacoustic imaging.

Moumita Halder is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of NanoEngineering at UC San Diego. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Chemistry in 2023, under the supervision of Dr. Yashveer Singh at the Indian Institute of Technology Ropar, where she worked on the development of self-assembled peptide-based biomaterials for drug delivery, tissue regeneration and biocatalytic applications. Her research in the Jokerst group focuses on developing colorimetric diagnostic agents for disease and validating them with human samples and animal models.

Ph.D. Students

Lubna Amer is a Ph.D. student in the Materials Science & Engineering program at UC San Diego. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University and M.S. in Materials Science & Engineering at UC San Diego. Before joining UCSD, her past research focused on engineering chemical reactions and clean combustion technology. At the Jokerst Lab, she is currently investigating photoacoustic-fluorescent imaging probes and developing peptide-based theragnostics for medical applications. 

Lekshmi Sasi is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Nanoengineering at UCSD. Her undergraduate degree was in Biomedical Engineering from Anna University, India. After that, she did her master's degree in Chemical Engineering from California State University - Long Beach. There she developed microfluidic devices for bioengineering and chemical engineering research applications, for which she was awarded the "dean's list of scholar's and artist" award from the university. At Jokerst lab, she is working on creating microfluidic devices for imaging nanoparticles and supporting the development of biophantoms. 

Emily Housel is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Nanoengineering at UCSD. She completed a B.S./M.S. degree program in Environmental Engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, and recently completed an M.S. degree in Nanoengineering at UCSD. She works as an environmental engineer and technical area leader for the U.S. Navy in the area of Oil Pollution Abatement and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Arizona. Her prior research has focused on oil-in-water imaging and analysis, detergents, and emulsions, bio-refining (corn-to-ethanol conversion process and energy balance), and disinfection chemical reactions. She is interested in using imaging techniques to investigate processes used in bioremediation for wastewater treatment. 

Benjamin Lam is a Ph.D. student in the Chemical Engineering program at UC San Diego. Before joining the graduate program, he studied Chemical Engineering as an undergraduate at UC San Diego. His previous research explored solutions to address societal challenges in the intersection of Bioengineering, Chemistry, and Materials Science. As a researcher in the Jokerst group, he is currently developing nanoparticles, coacervates, and peptides for health applications.

Visiting Scholars

Yuki Hiruta is a visiting scholar in the Department of NanoEngineering at UC San Diego. He joined the Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Technology, Keio University, Japan as a Senior Assistant Professor in 2017 and promoted to Associate Professor in 2023. His research in the Jokerst group focuses on developing biomarker-selective nanoprobes for cancer theranostics.

Master Students

Sumathi Kakanar is an M.S student in the NanoEngineering program at UC San Diego. Before that, she studied NanoEngineering as an undergraduate at UC San Diego. Currently, she is working on synthesizing peptides and nanoparticles for colorimetric biosensing and health applications.