People

Principal Investigator

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Denis Wirtz

Vice Provost for Research and Theophilus Halley Smoot Professor of Engineering Science
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A Johns Hopkins faculty member since 1994, Denis Wirtz has served as vice provost for research since February 2014. He is the Theophilus H. Smoot Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the Whiting School. Dr. Wirtz has joint appointments in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering, as well as the Departments of Oncology and Pathology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Wirtz studies the biophysical properties of healthy and diseased cells, including interactions between adjacent cells and the role of cellular architecture on nuclear shape and gene expression. Cell biophysics, single molecule manipulation, intracellular particle trafficking, instrument development, tissue engineering, and nanotechnology in biology and medicine are among his research interests. Wirtz was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his contributions to cell micromechanics and cell adhesion. AAAS also recognized Wirtz for his development and applications for particle tracking methods to probe the micromechanical properties of living cells in normal conditions and disease state. In addition, Wirtz is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He is a past recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award and the Whitaker Foundation Biomedical Engineering Foundation Award.

Wirtz has authored over 190 peer-reviewed articles published in top journals including Science, Nature, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Methods, Nature Reviews Cancer, Nature Materials, Nature Protocols, PNAS, Nature Communications, and Journal of Cell Biology. Ten of his PhD students and postdoctoral fellows are in faculty positions at research universities. His work at Hopkins has been cited >13,000 times and has an h-index of 65. He has also given numerous presentations at universities and research institutions around the world.

As vice provost for research, Dr. Wirtz focuses on the current and future health of the university’s research enterprise, including institutional research compliance, research development, and cross-divisional research initiatives, such as the Johns Hopkins Catalyst and Discovery Awards, and the President's Frontier Award. He chairs the Research Oversight Committee (ROC), comprising the divisional research deans, research administration directors and key university personnel, to strategically plan Johns Hopkins’ research infrastructure. Wirtz chairs the High Performance Research Computing Facility (HPRCF). He is also co-chair to the Johns Hopkins Neuroscience Initiative.

Dr. Wirtz is also responsible for the university research programs administration that oversees policies, procedures and information systems for research grants. He supports important multidisciplinary, collaborative research projects, including the Signature Initiatives identified in the Rising to the Challenge Campaign, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships, and multidivisional proposals in response to RFAs.

 

Ph.D. Students

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Jake Sarnecki

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Jake's work focuses on image analysis to identify quantitative and prognostic features in histo-pathological images
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Hasini Jayatilaka

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Hasini investigates the factors that influence cancer cell metastatis and proliferation.
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Nicolas Perez

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Tatsat Banerjee

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Michelle Karl

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Alexandra Sneider

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Postdoctoral Fellows

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Meng Horng Lee

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Pei-Hsun Wu

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Lijuan He

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Visiting Scholars

 

Master’s Students

 

Undergraduate Researchers

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 Past PhD Students

StudentsCurrent Positions
Adriana SilvaSr. Staff Engineer, ExxonMobil Chemical Co
Andre F. PalmerProfessor and Chair, Department of Chemical Engineering, Ohio State University, OH. Recipient of an NSF CAREER Award
Brian R. DanielsAlliance Manager, Cardiovascular Disease Program at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Charbel HaberHead, Global Regulatory Affairs - Immunology and Neurology at EMD Serono, Inc.
Christopher M. Hale‪Senior Scientist, Amgen, Thousand Oaks, CA
Jerry S.H. LeeDeputy Director, Office of Technology and Industrial Relations, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD
Jung SuhAssociate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Rice University
Matt KeussPostdoctoral Researcher, University of Dundee
Melissa S. ThompsonAssociate Director, Strategic Industry Initiatives, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Michelle DawsonAssociate Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Brown University
Osigwe EsueSenior Manager, Immunology Marketing, Genentech, South San Francisco, CA
Porntula Panorchan Director, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Boston, MA
Ryan BraunAdvanced Manufacturing Technology Specialist, 3M
Saumendra Bajpai Assistant Professor, IIT Madras, India
Shyam B. KhatauManaging Consultant, Navigant
Soichiro YamadaAssociate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, UC Davis, Davis, CA
Stephanie M. FraleyAssistant Professor, Deptartment of Bio Engineering, The University of California, San Diego
Terrence M. DobrowskySenior Engineer, Biogen Idec
Thomas P. KoleResident in Chief, Department of Radiology, Georgetown University School of Medicine
Wei-Chiang ChenScientist, Immunogen, Boston, MA
Zev BinderSenior Research Investigator, the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Neurosurgery
Dong-Hwee KimAssistant Professor at Korea University
Allision ChamblissAssistant Professor, Pathology, University of Southern California School of Medicine
Anjil GiriDevelopment Scientist I, Alexion, Cheshire, CT
Angela JimenezPostdoctoral fellow, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Sarita KoridePostdoctoral fellow, Pfizer
Jude PhillipPostdoctoral fellow, Cornell University
Ivie AifuwaSr. Associate Scientist, Process Development, Juno Therapeutics, Seattle, WA

 

Past Master Students

NamesCurrent Positions
Jenna Graham PhD student, ETH (Dr. Viola Vogel)
Angela SanConsultant, Deloitte
Nitish Gandhi
Karen LeslieEngineer, Genentech, CA
Matthew B. HerwigMedImmune, MD.
Karl RufenerLyondellBasel, Philadelphia, PA
Robert Bond

 

Past Postodoctoral Fellows / Associate Research Scientists

NamesCurrent Positions
Alex DajkovicEMBO Postdoctoral Fellow, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
Yiider TsengAssociate Professor, Chemical Engineering, Florida University
Jingyuan Xu Senior Scientist, Biomaterials Processing Research, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Peoria, IL
James L. HardenAssociate Professor, Department of Physics, University of Ottawa, Canada
Thomas G. Mason Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCLA
Daniele GilkesAssistant Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Dept of Ovarian Cancer