Current Trainees

We are currently seeking M.D., Ph.D., D.V.M., D.D.S., and D.M.D. graduates who are U.S.citizens or U.S. permanent residents for this two-year interdisciplinary training program.  Applications from underrepresented minority individuals are strongly encouraged.

Current Postdoctoral Fellows 

Left to right:  Alexandra Pastino,  Amir Fakhrzadeh, David Gray, Shruti Saxena, Ashley Krull

Dr. Amir Fakhrzadeh received his D.M.D degree from the Boston University School of Dental Medicine in May 2014. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Boston University, he continued on to advanced clinical training in the fields of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery as well as Periodontics, while also maintaining his clinical practice in General Dentistry.

Dr. Fakhrzadeh joined the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials in the laboratory of Dr. Joachim Kohn and will be co-advised by Dr. Pamela Yelick at Tufts University. His interest is primarily on translational research focused to develop innovative surgical technologies in the fields of Oral Implantology and Regenerative Dentistry. 

 Dr. David Gray received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Materials Science and Engineering with a minor in Teaching.  Joining the lab of Prof. Angela Belcher as an undergraduate student and continuing throughout graduate school, he conducted research towards the capture of circulating tumor cells.  A functionalized microfluidic device was used to isolate tumor cells specifically with platelets attached from the blood of mice.

Dr. Gray joined the laboratory of Dr. Prabhas Moghe in June 2017 and will contribute to the construction of a bone-cartilage interface and the advancement of computational approaches to study the differentiation of stem cells.

Dr. Ashley Krull received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Washington. Under the direction of Dr. Robert Steiner, her dissertation focused on developing a murine model of vasomotor symptoms (i.e., hot flashes) following sex steroid withdrawal. To develop this model, she engineered a novel temperature gradient on which she could observe autonomic and behavioral thermoregulation in response to pharmaceutical compounds and neuronal stimulation. In response to these challenges, the mice recapitulated the aberrant thermoregulation observed in human hot flash patients. The lab will use this model to elucidate the neuronal driver of hot flashes and test potential therapeutics.

Dr. Krull joined the laboratory of Dr. Anthony Windebank at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She aims to promote neural regeneration in ALS patients by engineering adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells to express therapeutic factors following intrathecal implantation.

Dr. Alexandra Pastino received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University. Working in the laboratory of Dr. Jean Schwarzbauer, her dissertation focused on the role of the extracellular matrix on the progression of diabetic disorders. Specifically, she elucidated the stimulatory effects of advanced glycated endproducts (AGEs) on fibronectin matrix assembly.

Dr. Pastino joined the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials in the laboratory of Dr. Joachim Kohn and will be co-advised by Dr. Prabhas Moghe at Rutgers University. She is interested in integrating biological and biochemical techniques with materials science to study the role of the extracellular matrix in tissue regeneration.

Dr. Shruti Saxena received her Ph.D. in Material & Life Sciences from University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy. Through collaborative efforts between the labs of Prof. Ledi Menabue, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy and Dr. Antonio J. Salinas, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, her dissertation focused on synthesis and characterization of advanced bioceramics for biomedical applications like drug delivery systems and 3D scaffolds for tissue engineering. Also, investigated biocompatibility of 3D scaffolds (cell based study), improved performance of titanium based implants by coating their surface with bioceramics and enhanced interaction between drugs and surface of bioceramics by functionalization.

Dr. Saxena joined the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials in the laboratory of Dr. Joachim Kohn and will be co-advised by Dr. Cathryn Sundback in the Department of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She will be working on the development of engineered scaffolds for regenerative medicine applications.

Selected publications: