Meet the Team
Dr. Todd Giorgio, PhD
Todd lived in northeast New Jersey, near New York City, before attending Lehigh University where he earned an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering. After receiving the Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Rice University, he joined the faculty at Vanderbilt. After getting tenure at Vanderbilt, he transferred his primary appointment to the Department of Biomedical Engineering where he subsequently served as Chair for nine years. He combines his interests in running and cycling to compete in duathlons; in 2022, he represented Team USA in the sprint duathlon World Championship in Targu Mures, Romania and is qualified to do the same event, in Ibiza, Spain, in 2023.
Sydney is originally from Virginia and attended the University of Virginia for her undergraduate degree. She is currently working on developing biomaterials for improved drug delivery of cancer immunotherapies. Outside of lab, Sydney loves to read novels, cook, and explore restaurants and wineries in Nashville with friends!
Marsalas Whitaker was born in Nashville, Tennessee and raised in Columbia, Tennessee. Marsalas enrolled into the University of Memphis to study Biomedical Engineering where he graduated in 2015 with his Bachelors of Science. Today, Marsalas Whitaker is currently a 2nd -Year Graduate Student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He is co-advised by Dr. Todd Giorgio and Dr. Charleson Bell. His current research is the “Affinity Purification of Small Vesicles using Bio-Functionalized Magnetic Particles.” He is a 2022 recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Award.
Karla was born in Cuenca, Ecuador and moved to Nashville with her family as a child. She received a full-tuition scholarship to Middle Tennessee State University where she earned dual bachelors degrees in Biochemistry and Computer Science. Currently, Karla develops core-shell microparticles for the controlled and targeted delivery of immunotherapy for the treatment of ovarian cancer - a collaboration between TSU, Vanderbilt, and Meharry Medical College. In her free time, she enjoys audiobooks, paint-by-the-numbers, and discovering new artists to listen to. She also loves trying new foods!
Graduate Student - Dept. of Pharmacology
Christopher Hansen is originally from South Florida and moved to Nashville in 2015 to attend Belmont University where he received his BS in Chemistry and his BA in French. Here at Vanderbilt, he is co-mentored by Dr. Jennifer Herington and Dr. Todd Giorgio and is studying myometrial and cervix biology as well as novel drug delivery systems in treating obstetric complications. He loves traveling, cooking, baking, and spending time with friends and family.
Ori has grown up in northern New Jersey, right outside Manhattan, for his entire life. He is now a third-year studying biomedical engineering as an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University. He wishes to further pursue his love of biomedical research by going to graduate school for a PhD. He is working on developing a "nano-in-cryo" drug delivery system to locally repolarize tumor-associated macrophages. Outside of research, Ori loves to travel and is looking forward to studying in Madrid this spring!
Sagnik is originally from Tampa, Florida and is a second year undergraduate student double majoring in Biological Sciences and Anthropology with a Chemistry Minor. His research interests revolve around computational modeling and genetic analysis. He is currently working on analyzing single-cell RNA sequencing data for determining the genetic makeup and irregularities of mammary tumors. When he's not frantically typing on his computer, you can find him reading a book, playing basketball, or playing chess.
Lauren is a 2nd year UG majoring in Medicine, Health, and Society with a minor in Art History. She is from Franklin, TN! Her research interests are therapeutic biomedical approaches relating to clinical care. She is currently working on a nano particle drug delivery system to inhibit preterm labor contractions. Some hobbies she has include yoga and traveling!
John Paul Libanati
John Paul “JP” Libanati is DC-area native and an undergraduate junior at Vanderbilt majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in philosophy. His research interests include biomaterials and drug delivery. Currently, he is working with Karla on fabricating and optimizing core-shell nanoparticles for localized, sustained release of drugs that treat ovarian cancer. In his free time, JP enjoys ballroom dancing, spending time with friends, and picking away at his guitar and ukulele. As a world traveller, JP will be studying abroad in Madrid in the spring of 2023.
Sarah grew up in a suburb close to Chicago. She is now working towards receiving her undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering. She is a first-year undergraduate student now working with Sydney and Ori on developing a sequential release nano-in-cryogel system to repolarize tumor-associated macrophages to treat breast cancer. She loves to weight lift, bake/cook, and travel to various countries to hike and adventure. She loves to read and has a passion for dance and the arts.
Evan B. Glass, PhD
Evan was born in St. Petersburg, FL but grew up in Oak Ridge, TN. He attended the University of Florida where he graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. He then joined the Giorgio lab in Fall 2016 to begin his PhD in Biomedical Engineering. Evan earned his M.S. in 2018 and his PhD in 2022. His work at Vanderbilt included continued development of mannosylated nanoparticles to deliver siRNA to macrophages in ovarian cancer as well as starting a new project using injectable cryogels for localized delivery of cytokines to macrophages in breast cancer. Evan currently works as a Scientist in Exosome Biology at Astellas Pharma in Westborough, MA. When not working, you can find Evan playing tennis, running, or rock climbing.