WE ARE from 10 different countries, highly value inclusion, and enjoy diversity!


We have an open position for an exceptional post-doctoral fellow! Please refer to Open Positions.

PhD Students

Joy Muthami

Joy Muthami is a PhD student at the Pennsylvania State University. She was born in Kenya. She is the founder of Perijoma Library in Ngorano, Nyeri, the Republic of Kenya. Before joining Penn State in the Fall of 2019, she got her Bachelors of Engineering in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and a double minor in mathematics and chemistry. She has a background in engineering sensors that provide specific and selective in operando determination of contaminants and engineering functionalized silver nanoparticles as colorimetric sensors for fluoride detection. Her PhD research focuses on engineering hairy nanocrystalline cellulose for water, wastewater, and blood treatment. Joy drives a manual car!

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 worked under Dr. David Johnson 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 is currently doing a research rotation at B-SMaL. In her free time, Mica enjoys spending time with her friends and her cat, Blue.

Master Students

Patricia Wamea

Patricia Wamea earned her BSc in Chemical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University in 2018. She is very passionate about sustainable energy and environment. After graduation, she started working at Penn State as a Research Assistant in the biomass conversion lab at the Department of Agriculture and Biological Engineering to focus on bioenergy research (i.e. anaerobic digestion of lignocellulosic biomass and bioethanol fermentation). Currently, Patricia is pursuing her MSc in Chemical Engineering at Penn State, conducting research in Dr. Amir Sheikhi's Lab to explore her interest in hairy nanocellulose for water treatment applications. During her free time, she enjoys travelling to new places, trying new food, and hiking.

Undergraduate Students

David Kennedy

David Kennedy is a Junior at Penn State studying Chemical Engineering and Chemistry within the Schreyer Honors College. He is very interested in the medical applications of chemical engineering, and also interested in synthetic chemistry, so the applications of click chemistry and hairy nanocellulose synthesis piqued his interest in Sheikhi Research Group. Outside of the lab, David really enjoys spending his time running and is an executive board member for the Club Cross Country Team on campus. He plans to go to graduate school in chemical engineering or chemistry and will be working as a medicinal chemistry co-op for Vertex Pharmaceuticals in Boston from January to June 2020.

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.

Sam Arora

My name Is Sainyam Arora, and I am 19. I am an inquisitive and chirpy person, and I am passionate about work. I am a shopaholic and a big-time foodie. I love interacting and communicating with people. I think it is the negotiation in a society that results in change and the festers the positive mentality of ‘service before self’ in people that brings a steady evolution in the community. I am a freshman at Penn State University, and I have completed my High School Education in Sciences from India. I am currently researching about beaded hydrogels along with a fantastic research crew in Sheikhi Lab. I aim to pursue graduate with a bachelor’s in chemical engineering and further on achieve a master’s degree as well. I believe research can open doors to a lot of unanswered questions and unleash our true potential.

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

Due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, our 4 visitors from Italy, France, and Iran were not able to join us for the Spring semester. We hope to have them here at B-SMaL soon. Please stay safe!


Penn State

Coming Soon!

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.