Current Members

Postdoctoral Scholars

Yong Cheng is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Nanoengineering at UC San Diego. He received his Ph.D. in 2017 under the supervision of Prof. Fan Xia and Prof. Bifeng Liu at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China. After working as a postdoctoral researcher in the same group for two years, he moved to Prof. Rana’s group as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego. His research focuses on the peptide-conjugated fluorescent probes and their application in cancer theranostics.

Zhicheng Jin is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of NanoEngineering at UC San Diego. He received his Ph.D. in 2020 under the supervision of Prof. Hedi Mattoussi at the Florida State University, where he worked on designing functional nanomaterials and developing FRET-based nanosensors for probing MMP enzymes. His research in Jokerst group focuses on the synthesis of functional polypeptides as photoacoustic contrast agents for detecting Mpro protease.

Maurice Retout is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of NanoEngineering at UC San Diego. He received his Ph.D. in nanoengineering from the Free University of Brussels where he developed engineered plasmonic nanomaterials for the biosensing of cancer biomarkers. His research in the Jokerst group focuses on the development of smart plasmonic probes for the rapid diagnosis of SARS-COV-2 and the in vivo identification of P. gingivalis via photoacoustic imaging.

Zixin Wang is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of NanoEngineering at UC San Diego. She received her Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 2022, under the supervision of Prof. Hui Wang at the University of South Carolina, where she worked on synthesis and catalysis of colloidal noble metal nanoparticles. Her research in Jokerst group focuses on developing biomaterials as blood-mimicking phantoms for photoacoustic imaging.

Ph.D. Students

Tengyu He is a PhD candidate in the Materials Science and Engineering graduate program at UCSD. He received his M.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. At UCAS he conducted research in the application of nanomaterials in the design of stretchable electronics. He is currently studying nanomaterials for cancer theranostics and thrombus imaging.

Lei Fu is a PhD candidate in the Nanoengineering department at UC San Diego. He received his B.S and M.E. degree from Jiangnan University in China. His previous work mainly concentrates on Optical Coherence Tomography(OCT) especially OCT angiography.

Wonjun Yim is a Ph.D. candidate in the Materials Science and Engineering graduate program at UCSD. He finished his undergraduate degree at Yonsei University, South Korea. After that, he did his masters at UC Berkeley where he studied material science engineering in depth. Currently, he is working on polyphenol-based nanoparticle synthesis, peptide, and hydrogel for biomedical applications.

Matthew Creyer is a PhD candidate in the Nanoengineering program at UC San Diego. He graduated with a B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. As an undergraduate at Wisconsin, he researched the self-assembly of block copolymer thin films. For an REU at the University of New Mexico and Sandia National Labs, he studied the efficacy of theranostic agents to treat neurodegenerative diseases. Currently, he is working to develop diagnostic platforms using nanoparticle self-assembly approaches.

Raina Borum is a Nanoengineering Ph.D. candidate at UCSD. She received her B.S. in Nanoengineering with a minor in Mathematics at UCSD. Her past research focused on DNA Nanotechnology for drug delivery and controlled viral activity. She is investigating synthetic nucleic acid as an imaging probe for the low-limit and noninvasive detection of native nucleic acid cancer biomarkers.

Baiyan Qi is a PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering program at UCSD. She received her B.S. degree in Physics from Nanjing University in China. Her previous research focused on stretchable wearable electronics. She is currently working on ultrasonic and photoacoustic healthcare imaging.

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

Lekshmi Sasi is a PhD 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 development of biophantoms.

Emily Housel is a PhD 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.

Master Students

Yu-Ci Chang is an M.S. student in the Materials Science and Engineering program at UC San Diego. She received her B.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering from National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. Her previous research focused on hydrogels characteristic analysis. She is currently working on the development of peptide-based hydrogels for drug delivery.

Chuxuan Ling is a M.S. student in the department of Nanoengineering. Before that, she received her bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Engineering from Southeast University in China. She is currently exploring bimetallic nanoclusters for imaging and enzyme detection in Jokerst lab.

Undergraduate Students

Justin Yeung is an undergraduate in the Bioengineering department at UCSD. He is currently focused on studying nanomedicine and its application in wound dressing in the biomedical field.