WE ARE from more than 10 different countries; WE highly value inclusion and enjoy diversity!


We have open positions for exceptional post-doctoral fellows! Please refer to Open Position 1 and Open Position 2.

PhD Students

Mica L. Pitcher

Mica was born and grew up in the small town of Batavia, New York. She attended the State University of New York at Geneseo, where she majored in chemistry and minored in mathematics, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 2019. During her time there, she gained experience conducting organic chemistry research on apocynin derivatives and their ability to inhibit reactive oxygen species in the body. She came to Penn State in the summer of 2019 as a graduate student in the Chemistry Department in hopes of earning her PhD. Mica joined B-SMaL in May of 2020, where she works on investigation and modification of disordered cellulose and enabling the 3D printing of hairy nanocelluloses for sustainable applications. In her free time, Mica enjoys spending time with her cats, Blue and Theo!

Zaman Ataie

Zaman is a PhD candidate at ChE department. He joined B-SMaL in June of 2020. He got his BSc in bioengineering with focus on biomaterials, and MSc also in bioengineering with focus on Tissue Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic) in Tehran, Iran. In addition to biomaterials and tissue engineering, he also has some background in additive manufacturing and bioprinting. He is working on platforms for bioprinting beyond the biofabrication window limitations. Zaman is a huge Manchester United, and of course, Penn State Nittany Lions fan!

Arian Jaberi

Arian Jaberi is a PhD student at the Pennsylvania State University. He got his MSc in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics with the major of Biomedical Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and got his BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Shiraz University, Iran. The title of his MSc thesis is “Microfluidic Systems with Embedded Cell Culture Chambers for High-Throughput Biological Assays in 3D Tissue-On-a-Chip.” He has a background in Mechanical Engineering and working with microfluidic devices in tissue engineering applications.

Shang-Lin Yeh

Shang-Lin was born and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. He got his bachelor’s degree in National Tsing Hua University and master’s degree in National Taiwan University, both in chemical engineering. He had research experience on using zwitterionic and biotinylated polymers to control the interactions between biomolecules and biomaterials. He came to Penn State in the summer of 2019 as a PhD student in chemical engineering. Shang-Lin joined the B-SMaL in May of 2021 working on micro and nano engineering of different types of soft materials to regulate ion interactions. Shang-Lin is a big fan of MLB and he loves to throw baseballs in his free time!

Sina Kheirabadi

Sina is a Ph.D. student in Chemical Engineering. He got his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tehran. His MSc thesis focused on using CFD-DEM for investigating particle coating in fluidized beds to improve the flowability of activated pharmaceutical ingredients. Currently, Sina is working on a biomaterial-enabled diseases-on-a-chip for drug testing and screening.

Saman Zavari

Saman is currently a Ph.D. student in Chemical Engineering. He got his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Tehran in 2021 and joined the lab in the Fall of 2022. His B.Sc. project was focused on the degradation of dyes in the textile industries using photocatalysis to mitigate the adverse effects of textile wastewater on the environment. He is crazy about soccer, Spurs, and spending time with his friends.

Master's Students

Alex Kedzierski

Alex is an integrated undergraduate student and masters candidate in the Biomedical Engineering major. He joined the B-SMaL in December 2020. He is currently working on advanced granular biomaterials. When he is not in lab, he spends his time playing soccer or racquetball.

Aneesh Risbud

Aneesh is a masters candidate at Biomedical Engineering department. He joined the lab in September 2021. He got his B.Tech in biotechnology from D.Y Patil University in Mumbai, India. He has a strong background in biopharmaceuticals and has been trained in cell culture and molecular biology in his bachelors. He is working on hydrogels and bead assembly in the lab. He is a huge soccer fan and loves watching movies.

Undergraduate Students

Mitchell Davis

Mitchell is a third-year chemical engineering student from Irwin, Pennsylvania. He joined Sheikhi Lab in April 2022 and is a part of the bio-based materials team. He is currently researching heavy metal removal from waste. Mitchell plays the piano and likes to play frisbee with his dogs in his free time.

Marisa Williamson

Marisa Williamson is a third-year student at Penn State majoring in biomedical engineering. She is from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. She is also in the Schreyer Honors College and plans to attend medical school after graduation. She joined B-SMaL in January 2022 as part of the biomaterials team. She is interested in biomaterials research and applications of chemical engineering in the medical field. In her free time she likes swimming and biking.

Min Park

Min Park is a Biology major minoring in Chemistry from Seoul, South Korea. She joined the bio-based materials group in Shekihi Lab in May 2022. Min is hoping to pursue an MD + Ph.D. track in the future. In her free time she likes reading and riding horses.

Sainyam Arora

Sainyam otherwise known as Sam is an international student from India and is a junior pursuing chemical engineering and a minor in engineering leadership and development. He joined Sheikhi Research Group in February 2020 initially to gain experience in a research environment. He started out in Biomaterials which later transitioned into a collaborative research focus of studying the tribology of materials to replace Petroleum based lubricants. Upon graduation in 2023, he aims to pursue Product Development and furthermore wishes to pursue an MBA. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music and drawing and loves participating in acting gigs. He can speak 3 different languages as well!

Juliana Dominick

Juliana Dominick is a third-year student from Pittsburgh, PA. She is in the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State studying biomedical engineering and minoring in Engineering Leadership Development. She joined B-SMaL in August 2020. She is extremely passionate about sustainability, and has found great interest in the research surrounding various applications of hairy nanocellulose as a sustainable approach to functional materials or polymer nanocomposites. When not in class or studying, she is running or eating Flaming Hot Cheetos!

Luke Andreyo

Luke is a senior studying chemical engineering at Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College. He is from Reading, Pennsylvania (the one from the Monopoly board), and he spends the majority of his time studying, working on his personal fitness, or looking for sneakers to resell. Luke is very interested in the health-related applications of chemical engineering, and he will be researching the viability of using hairy nanocellulose to remove unwanted substances from solutions. Luke is planning to pursue a career in industry after he graduates in May 2022.

Carter Petrosky

Carter Petrosky is a third-year student from Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He is currently pursuing a degree in chemical engineering. He is most interested in applying science and engineering techniques to advance medical technology and improve sustainability. Carter joined our lab in August 2020 and is currently working with gelatin-based microgels for use in tissue engineering and repair. In his free time, he enjoys cooking as well as watching sports such as baseball and football.

Rhea Jiang

Rhea Jiang is a third-year majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in biomedical engineering from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. After seeing the impact innovative research can have on not only patients, but their families as well, she was drawn to the medical side of chemical engineering. Rhea joined Sheikhi Lab in December 2020 and is currently working under the biomaterials subgroup. She hopes to pursue a career in either the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry after graduation. In her free time, she loves to try new foods, travel, and swim.

Naveen Narasimhalu

Naveen is a second-year chemical engineering student from Harrisburg, Pa. He joined Sheikhi Labs in December 2020 and was originally apart of the biomaterials team. He later switched to the biobased materials team and is currently investigating drug removal from the body. Once he graduates, Naveen hopes to secure a position in the pharmaceutical or environmental industry. In his free time Naveen enjoys hanging out with friends and working out. Fun fact about Naveen, he used to be able to solve a Rubix cube in 13 seconds.

Gerald Lester

Gerald, otherwise known as Jerry, is from Lansdale, PA, and is a senior studying Chemical Engineering at Penn State. He joined the biomaterials team in Sheikhi Lab in January 2021, in which he participated in a packing microgels project under the supervision of multiple graduate students. This past summer 2021 he participated in an NSF REU at the Nanoscience & Nanotechnology Institute at the University of Iowa, where he resided in Iowa City, IA conducting research on electrocatalytic reduction of carbon dioxide for energy applications. Currently, he is working on a phase separation project alongside master’s student, Alex Kedzierski, and fellow undergraduate student, Colin Gallagher. Upon graduation in May 2022, Jerry plans to go into either the pharmaceutical/biotech industry, or the energy industry. In his free time, Jerry enjoys working out, listening to music, and drawing. One fun fact about Jerry is that he once went viral on social media for a drawing of Michael Jordan.

Jenna Zhang

Jenna is a Junior studying Mechanical Engineering and grew up in State College, Pennsylvania. She has always enjoyed hands-on activities and decided to pursue an Engineering degree in order to develop the skills needed to turn an idea into reality. She is mainly involved with Engineers Without Borders and Digi Design on campus and enjoys cooking, playing sports, and hanging out with friends in her free time. Jenna joined Sheikhi Laboratory January 2021 in order to gain experience with research and focuses on bioprinting and testing device design.

Christian Vollberg

Christian is a Senior studying Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. He was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has always aspired to do engineering-related research. Christian joined Sheikhi Laboratory in May 2021 and is a member of the biomaterials team, with a primary interest in bioprinting. He hopes to enter the research & design field after graduation in May 2023 and potentially pursue a doctorate degree in Biomedical Engineering. His primary interests include powerlifting, team sports, traveling, and spending time with friends.

Shambhavi Datta Chowdhury

Shambhavi hails from Dubai, United Arab Emirates & is a junior majoring in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Engineering Leadership & Development. She’s the overall winner (top rated) for the summer REU 2021 program for her research on “Nanoengineering cellulose for replacing Petroleum Based Lubricants”. Currently she’s serving as the Technology Chair in the executive board for PSIADA (Penn State International Affairs & Debate Association). Upon graduation, she plans to pursue her career in the bio-tech field. In her free time, you’ll find her diligently working to find the perfect Spotify playlist & drinking bubble tea.

Will Gileza

Will is a junior in chemical engineering and joined the Bio-based materials team in April 2021. Will focuses on collaborative research that analyzes the tribological properties of various nanocelluloses in comparison to that of petroleum-based products, in hopes of uncovering a green alternative to oil-based lubricants. Will is also a member of Penn State’s ChemE Car club and will be a member of the Chemical Engineering Honors Society, OXE, after Fall 2021. Outside of academics, Will holds passions for outdoor activities, his two dogs, spending time with friends and family, and is a devoted advocate for social justice.

Zeming He

Zeming is a junior in chemical engineering and grew up in Shanghai, China. Zeming joined the Bio-based materials team in Aug 2021. He is currently working on micro and nano engineering of different types of soft materials to regulate ion interactions. He hopes to continue his research on NanoEngineering at the graduate stage. Zeming is also an alto saxophone player in Penn State concert band. He is preparing to travel around the world.

Sean LeConey

Sean is a junior chemical engineering major from North Wales, Pa, and is a member of the bio-based materials team and is currently researching drug removal from the body. Upon graduation, Sean plans to secure a position in the medical or environmental industry, with thoughts of entering graduate school. Sean has been an avid snowboarder over the years, traveling to 4 different countries and 14 mountains.

Colin Gallagher

Colin is a Senior Chemical Engineering major from Lancaster, PA. Colin has been a member of Sheikhi Laboratory since the summer of 2020 as a member of the biomaterials team. During the summer of 2021, Colin participated in the Penn State Biofellowship program and received funding to work as an independent researcher under the direction of Dr. Sheikhi. After graduating, Colin hopes to find an industry position that will support his bigger goal of attending graduate school. Outside of academics, Colin enjoys running and playing the guitar.

Dawson Alexander

Dawson is a third-year student majoring in Chemical Engineering. He joined the team in January of 2022 and his research focuses on isolating rare earth elements from aqueous waste using cellulose based bio-materials. Previously Dawson has done research since February of 2020 with Professor Janna Maranas on solid polymer electrolytes and their application in Lithium-Ion Batteries. Dawson received the 2021 Biofellowship award for his work with solid polymer electrolytes. Dawson is interested in the food, polymer, and energy sectors of the chemical engineering industry post-graduation. He is a member of various organizations on campus including Circle K International, Phi Sigma Pi, The American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the American Nuclear Society. He is a Resident Assistant in East Halls, The Governor for the Pennsylvania District of Circle K International, and the Parliamentarian for Alpha Pi Chapter of Phi Sigma Pi. He also has a work study at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center as a grounds and facilities assistant. Outside of academics, Dawson plays drums, enjoys listening to music, plays strategy-based board and card games, lifts weights, and also spends time outdoors by hiking, camping, and kayaking with his dog.

Dylan Kosienski

Dylan Kosienski is a junior Chemical Engineering undergraduate student at Penn State. He currently plans to minor in Energy Engineering. He attended Penn State Behrend for a year and a half before transfering to University Park. Researching under Dr. Amir Sheikhi, he hopes to innovate new forms of biologically-relevant, printable hydrogels. Between classwork, a part time job, and lab research, Dylan is an avid outdoorsman. From kayaking the Allegany in a thunderstorm to hiking the Appalachian trail, he has done a lot, but he is always ready for the next adventure!

Zeyu (Eric) Liu

Zeyu (Eric) Liu is a Senior at the Pennsylvania State University. He is very interested in various applications of chemical engineering and polymer science. His contributions to the group include but not limit to optimistic attitude towards all challenges and distinctive perspectives on various subjects. Eric plans to gain more hands-on experience on related fields by entering the chemical industry after college. Eventually, he will be pursuing higher degrees in engineering.

YinJen (Jessica) Chang

YinJen (Jessica) Chang is a second year undergraduate PSU student pursuing the major of Chemical Engineering. YinJen joined the Sheikhi Lab in January 2020 and is recently working under the hydrogel group. Her current research ranges from cell culture, microfluidics to 3D bioprinting. Her passion lies on studying the use of soft materials to enhance the living quality of the handicaps and to help reducing the pollution in the environment. She hopes to further concentrate on similar topics in graduate school.

Yousef Waheed Mohamed

Yousef Waheed Mohamed is a senior majoring in Chemical Engineering graduating in spring 2020. Yousef is interested in soft matter engineering and energy and environmental engineering technologies. Upon graduation, Yousef will pursue a masters degree at the Imperial College London in the United Kingdom. Yousef is an active member of the Penn State extracurricular community and is a member of the Emirati Student Association board. Yousef is part of a soccer team that has won the Intramural Soccer League and that takes part in many sporting events all around the campus.

Matthew J. Perdziola

Matt Perdziola is a sophomore from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is currently enrolled in the College of Engineering and plans to pursue a major in Chemical Engineering. He has a high regard for chemistry and is excited to combine chemistry with engineering principles to improve technology, the environment, and enhance health practices. Matt plans to gain more research experience and enter into industry after his undergraduate studies. In his free time, Matt enjoys sports, Penn State football games, and skiing in the winter.

Visiting Scholars

We are accepting visiting scholars/scientists from across the globe! If you have secured funding for your stay at the
B-SMaL for at least 1 year, please contact Dr. Sheikhi.


Penn State

Patricia Wamea (MSc, CHE), currently at GSK

Joy Muthami (MSc, CHE), currently at PSU

Nawaf Alharbi (MSc, BME)

David Kennedy (BSc, CHE and CHEM), currently at The University of Colorado Boulder

Daksh Adhikari (BSc, CHE), currently at Advanced Cooling Technologies

Before Penn State

Dr. Sheikhi has trained more than 40 students/researchers at UCLA, Harvard, MIT, and McGill. For the complete list of trainees, please contact Dr. Sheikhi directly.