Prof. Cheemeng Tan CV

Associate Prof., Biomedical Engineering, UC Davis, 2019
Assistant Prof., Biomedical Engineering, UC Davis, 2013
Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, Duke, 2010
MS, High Performance Computing, Singapore-MIT Alliance 2002
BS, Engineering, National University of Singapore, 2001

Recent Honors and Awards

2021 UC Davis Chancellor Fellow
2019 NIBIB Trailblazer Award
2018 Young Innovator, Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering
2018 Scialog Fellow
2015 Young Investigator Grant, Human Frontier Science Program
2012 Branco-Weiss Fellow, Society-in-Science ETH
2010 Lane Postdoctoral Fellowship, Lane Center, Carnegie Mellon University


Dr. Luis E. Contreras-Llano

Biotechnology, Molecular and Synthetic Biology
Luis holds B.E and M.S. degrees in Biotechnology and has carried out research in laboratories in Mexico, Spain, and the US in areas as plant & microbial biochemistry, molecular biology, and synthetic biology. Luis obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Davis under the supervision of Professor Tan where his work focused on developing cell-free protein expression systems (PURE and WCE), synthetic (artificial cells) and semi-synthetic cells (cyborg cells). After his PhD, he worked at the digital cell biology company Berkeley Lights as a Molecular Biology Scientist where he developed high-throughput screening assays for proteins of relevance in agriculture using cell-free expression systems. His research has been published in journals as Advanced Science, Nature Chem Bio, Nature Comms, ACS Appl Mat & Interfaces, mBio, and has been featured in Popular Mechanics, Advanced Science News, BGR, and the Nature Portfolio Bioengineering Community. He joins the laboratories of Dr Cheemeng Tan & Dr Aijun Wang with the aim of developing new therapeutic approaches using a combination of synthetic biology, materials science and molecular biology tools.


Dr. Shahid Khan

Microbial pathogenesis
Shahid obtained his Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) with specialization in Genetic Engineering from SRM University and Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Biotechnology from NIMS University. He was awarded various fellowships including the CSIR-NET fellowship (Government of India) to pursue his Ph.D. research, and other national fellowships like GATE, DBT-JRF, IIT-JAM. To pursue his doctoral research, he joined the research group of Prof. Jha lab at the Department of Biological Sciences, BITS-Pilani. He has an active research interest in the area of Microbiology with a major emphasis on Bacterial Pathogenesis and Host-Pathogen Interaction. During his Ph.D., he worked to gain mechanistic insights on various virulent mechanisms in bacteria, with a focus on T6SS (Type VI secretion system), and its role in bacterial Pathogenesis. In Prof. Tan lab, he is interested in designing synthetic cells for therapeutic applications.


Conary Meyer

Biomedical Engineering
Conary obtained his B.S. in Bioengineering from Santa Clara University. While there he pursued several different projects ranging from biofuel engineering to exosome drug delivery systems. Upon graduation he took a fulltime research position in Prof. Drew Endy’s lab at Stanford University. During his time there he developed a method to clone thousands of individual plasmids in high throughput as well as helped with efforts to construct cells from the bottom-up. This introduced him to cell-free expression systems which inspired him to pursue a PhD in Tan lab to develop more versatile and robust expression systems. His current focus is on modifying cell free systems to produce membrane proteins.


Tanner Henson

Biomedical Engineering
Tanner earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E) in Biomedical Engineering from Arizona State University. At the start of his Sophomore year, he joined Prof. David Brafman’s lab which specializes in neurodegenerative diseases, pluripotent stem cells, and biomanufacturing. In his senior year, he completed an honors thesis, which was focused on optimizing a bioreactor system and cryopreservation protocol for human neural progenitor cells. His current research is focused on the engineering of synthetic vesicles for neurological applications. (co-advised by Prof Aijun Wang)


Ofelya Baghdasaryan

Biomedical Engineering
Ofelya obtained her B.S. in Biochemistry from University of Oklahoma. At the end of her freshman year, she joined Dr. Acar Handan’s lab as an undergraduate research assistant. She was involved in several ongoing research in the lab, with the most prominent one being a study of the formation mechanisms and characteristics of ovarian cancer spheroids, where she co-authored her first paper published in September 2020 in the Journal of Gynecologic Oncology. Prior to graduating from the University of Oklahoma, she completed an honors senior thesis under Dr. Handan’s supervision which was focused on the cell death mechanism of heat-treated OVCAR8 cells. She was twice nominated for an Honors Undergraduate Research Opportunity grant to carry individual research projects along with the collaborative research. Within the research scope, she studied Cathepsin B mediated cleavage of peptides for therapeutic usages in ovarian cancer research. Her current research focus in Dr. Tan’s lab is designing synthetic cells for chronic disease treatment.


Alessandra Arizzi

Alessandra obtained her B.Sc. in Health Sciences and Technology with a focus in Medical Technology as well as a M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering with a specialization in Molecular Bioengineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zürich). She was awarded membership in the Swiss Study Foundation, a foundation promoting university students that demonstrate academic excellence as well as engagement and commitment outside of their area of study. Early in her bachelor’s degree, she pursued projects in Dr. Katrien De Bock’s lab, focusing on angiogenesis in the context of exercise and nutrition. She later joined Dr. Simone Schürle-Finke’s lab, specialized in robotic systems for biomedical applications, where she developed a drug delivery platform for solid tumor penetration utilizing magnetically responsive bacteria (magnetotactic bacteria) and force-responsive nanocarriers, creating a spatiotemporally controlled delivery approach. After her graduation, she joined lino Biotech, a spin-off company of ETH Zurich specializing in the development of a novel biosensing technology called focal molography. There, she was heavily involved in product design, and developed several products including a turn-key streptavidin chip and an assay for loading fraction determination of AAVs in complex samples. Her current focus in Dr. Tan’s lab is developing a high-throughput platform for the development and functional assessment of synthetic vesicles for therapeutic applications.


Jared Lee-Kin

Biomedical Engineering
Jared earned his B.S in Microbiology and Biochemistry from Arizona State University (ASU), and completed his M.S in Microbiology. He was a member of the Xuan Wang Lab at ASU, researching several topics including bioproduction and directed mutagenesis. He was also a member of the 2021 Gold Medal ASU International Genetically Engineered Machine (IGEM) team working on bioremediation of arsenic in rural water wells. After defending his Master’s thesis on identification of novel lactate transporters, he was awarded an NSF IRES internship to research directed evolution of novel biodegradation enzymes in conjunction with faculty from the Kyoto Institute of Technology. His current research in Dr. Cheemeng Tan’s lab focuses on synthetic cell engineering for treating chronic diseases. 


Mariam El-Karim

Integrated Genetics
Mariam EL-Karim was born and raised in Egypt and moved to California to pursue her undergraduate education. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Cal State Northridge. She was a part of BUILD PODER, an NIH funded program that supports undergraduate researchers. She joined Dr. Mackelprang in her junior year where she characterized antibiotic resistance genes in permafrost. After graduation, she worked as a molecular biology scientist for two years at Basepaws, a startup company specializing in pets’ genetics. She is now a PhD student in the Integrative Genetics and Genomics program. As a part of the Tan lab, she is working on understanding and controlling cell response as result of their treatment with synthetic extracellular vesicles.

Veena Arunkumar

Biomedical Engineering

Keerthana Ananda

Biomedical Engineering

Nhu Bui

Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior

Jerry Huang

Biological Sciences


Name Position in the Lab Current Position
Cong Ma Undergraduate Intern (Summer 2014) PhD Student, Carnegie Mellon University
Jonathan Ho Undergraduate Intern (2014-2015) MD/PhD student, Frank Netter School of Medicine
Meidi Wang Undergraduate Intern (Summer 2015) Master student, Duke
Mi Hwangbo Undergraduate Intern (2015-2016)
Ying Zhang Undergraduate Intern (Summer 2016) PhD student, Cancer Science Institute of Singapore
Michael Chavez Undergraduate Intern (2014-2016) PhD student, Stanford
Eliza Morris Postdoc (Sep 2015 – Aug 2016) Assistant Prof, Cal State Sacramento
Fernando Villarreal Postdoc (Jan 2014 – Jan 2017)
Yunfeng Ding Postdoc (Mar 2014 – May 2017) Research Associate, Baylor College of Medicine
Alexander Duveneck Undergraduate Intern (2015-2017)
Kwan Lun Chiu Undergraduate Intern (2015-2017) PhD student, UC Davis
Sean McCutcheon Undergraduate Intern (2015-2017) PhD student, Duke University
Michelle Mao Undergraduate Intern (2016-2018)
Yuchen Guo MS student (2016-2018) Novozymes
Tanishq Abraham Undergraduate intern (2016-2018)
Yao Liu Postdoc (2018-2019)
Yusuke Nakamura Visiting Scholar from Japan (2018-2019)
Jagveer Singh Undergrad Intern (2018-2019) Department of Technology, CA
Rachel Ibrahim Undergrad Intern (2017-2019)
Christopher Vo Undergrad Intern (2017-2019)
Surya Vishnubhatt Undergrad Intern (2018-2020)
Daniel Lewis PhD Student (2013-2019) UCSF, postdoc
Fan Wu PhD Student (2013-2019) Emerald Cloud Lab
Katelyn France Undergrad Intern (2018-2020)
Hamad Linjawi Undergrad Intern (2018-2020)
Dasha Aleksandra Iserlis Undergrad Intern (2019-2021) Columbia University, Master Student
Breanna Yang Undergrad Intern (2020-2021)
Matthew Wong Undergrad Intern (2019-2021) UMass Chan Medical School, PhD student
Joakin Ejie Undergrad Intern (2020-2021)
Janet Kwon Graduate student (2021-2021)
Chuqing Zhou PhD student (2019-2022)
Constantine Yerocosta Undergrad intern (2022-2022)
Anton Block Undergrad intern (2022-2022)
Arielle Lazovsky Undergrad intern (2022-2022)
Luis Eduardo Contreras Llano PhD Student (2016-2022) Berkeley Lights
Ting Gong Postdoc (2019-2022) NAMUH
Jiyoung Shim Postdoc (2019-2022)
Dhruva Adiga Undergrad intern (2021-2023)
Pin-Ru Lin Undergrad intern (2021-2023) Intern, Genentech
Stephen Zhang Lab tech (2022-2023)
Kay Cosper Undergrad intern (2023-2023)

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