Dr. Richard C. Willson

Huffington-Woestemeyer Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Professor of Biochemical & Biophysical Sciences

Office Location S229, Engineering Building 1


Katerina Kourentzi

Research Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Previous Degrees:
Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering), University of Houston, Houston (2002)
M.Sc. (Chemical Engineering), University of Houston, Houston (1998)
Diploma (Chemical Engineering), National Technical University, Athens, Greece (1996)

Research Areas: My focus is on the development of diagnostics for proteins and pathogens at the interface of engineering, nanotechnology and biology. I possess technical background in chemical engineering and biotechnology and broad understanding of the practices in diagnostics coupled with extensive lab bench and scientific writing experience.

Binh V. Vu

Research Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Previous Degrees: Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering

Research Areas:

  • Novel reporters in point-of-care (POC) detection methods: I am working on improving the sensitivity of POC rapid tests with novel light-emitting reporters that are detectable with a smartphone camera.
  • Process analytical technology (PAT): I am working on methods to measure and characterize biologics from the bioprocess stream in real time.

Awards: Young Innovator Award in the Cullen College of Engineering for 2021-2022


Kristen Brosamer

Postdoctoral fellow

Previous Degrees:  Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering (University of Houston), B.S. in Biomolecular Engineering (University of California Santa Cruz)

Research Areas:  My research focuses on improving sensitivity and usability of current point-of-care diagnostic platforms through the use of novel reporter molecules


Maede Chabi Bahmanshiri

Research Assistant – PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering

Previous Degrees: Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Chemical Engineering – Sharif University of Technology

Research Areas: Rapid Diagnostics – Lateral Flow Assays: I am working on Lateral Flow Assays for early detection of Acute promyelocytic leukemia and SARS-CoV-2.

Anjali Drugkar

Research Assistant – PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering

Previous Degrees: Graduate Student (Department of Biology and Biochemistry)

Research Areas: I am working on point-of-care diagnostics development based on nucleic acid amplification using novel detection techniques.

Vijay Maranholkar

Ph.D. Student, (Department of Biology and Biochemistry)

Previous Degrees: M. Tech. (Bioprocess Technology), B.E. (Biotechnology)

Research Areas:

  • Downstream processing: I am working on purification of human cancer biomarker expressed in bacterial host.
  • Biophysical characterization: I am working on biophysical characterization of modified protein A ligand

Antonio Martino

Ph.D. Student

Previous Degrees: Bachelor’s degree in ICT Engineering, Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering

Research Areas: My research is based on the development of nanoparticles aimed at smart drug delivery and targeted treatment of diseases.

Suman Nandy

Graduate Research Assistant (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Houston)

Previous Degrees:  BSc in Chemical Engineering (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh)

Research Areas:

  • Molecular Biology and Bioseparations:  I am working on developing purification techniques (Affinity, IEX, SEC, etc.) for monoclonal antibodies (mAb), fusion proteins, and nucleic acids.
  • Biophysical and Analytical Characterization:  I am working on the characterization of proteins using surface plasmon resonance (SPR), and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC).


Sophia Song

Research Assistant

Previous Degrees: The University of Texas at Austin – B.S. Chemical Engineering (Class of 2019), University of Houston – M.S. in Biology (Class of 2022)

Research Areas: I am working on developing lateral flow assays for applications in point-of-care diagnostics. Specifically, I am experimenting with novel reporter particles and trying to understand their interactions with biomarkers, with the goal of optimizing detection sensitivity.

Austin Hahn

Research Assistant

Previous Degrees: BS (Biochemical/Biophysical Sciences), University of Houston

Research Areas: I am developing lateral flow assays that utilize high sensitivity reporters for use in reader development, point-of-care diagnostics, and industry applications.


Margarita Ortiz Martinez

PhD (Tecnologico De Monterrey)

Previous Degrees:
Ph.D. in Biotechnology at Tecnologico de Monterrey
Master of Science with a major in Pharmacy at Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León, Monterrey, Mexico.
Bachelors degree in Biology and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León, Monterrey, Mexico.

Research Areas: My research has focused on evaluating the bioactive potential of new compounds in in vitro models, with a special focus on bioactive proteins. Currently, as a part of the Bioengineering and Medical Devices Unit of the Institute of Obesity Research, I am involved in the project “Lateral flow platforms for the early detection of metabolic disorders and obesity protein biomarkers in children in collaboration with the University of Houston.