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Sarah N

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University


Gene Delivery, Biotechnology, Immunology, Oncology, Consulting, Medicine, Autoimmune Diseases


Sarah earned her B.S in Biochemistry at Northeastern University in 2019 – a first generation American and college graduate! She is now a PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering program at Johns Hopkins University. Her thesis focuses on engineering polymeric nanoparticle for gene therapies and immunoengineering in oncology and autoimmune diseases. In addition to research, Sarah is passionate about STEM access and education. She founded a group at JHU called the Biomedical Engineering Application Assistance Program (BMEAAP) to help underrepresented minority (URM) prospective BME PhD students craft a stellar application. In her free time, Sarah loves to cook new recipes, travel (she’s been to 32 countries!), make art, and practice Pilates.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Advances in Non-Viral Gene Delivery

Non-viral gene delivery modalities have been around for decades, entering the clinic during the early 2000s, and further developing year by year. The technology took off during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic with the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA lipid nanoparticles (LNP) vaccine that significantly reduced the severity of COVID and hospitalizations. The FDA approval of the LNP vaccine sets the precedent and opens doors for future non-viral gene delivery innovations. This space is becoming of increased interest with intersections across various indication spaces. Furthermore, the technologies allow for “plug-and-play" with nucleic acid/gene cargos ranging from mRNA, DNA, CRISPR-Cas9, miRNA, siRNA, CAR constructs, and many more. The non-viral gene delivery market has been growing and expected to exponentially increase. Translational development of non-viral gene delivery will have broad impacts given the potential for high loading, low immunogenicity, multiple dosing, cost, stability, and tissue/cell targeting.

Alternative Protein & Food Engineering

The project aims to investigate and analyze the field of alternative proteins through the lens of food engineering. Alternative proteins, including plant-based proteins, cultured meats, and insect-based proteins, are gaining significant attention as sustainable and ethical alternatives to traditional animal-based protein sources. This project will delve into the science, technology, and engineering behind these emerging protein sources, with a focus on their production, processing, and potential applications in the food industry.

Investment Memo/Thesis in an STEM Area of Interest

In various industries, such as biotech, investment in companies are key to success and drug development. This project is a mock investment memo/thesis! Students will select a target company or sector of interest and thoroughly analyze its market dynamics, competitive landscape, growth prospects, and financial performance. The project will culminate in the creation of a comprehensive investment thesis report, which will include a well-supported investment recommendation backed by robust financial analysis and a persuasive argument. This project will equip participants with essential skills in investment research and decision-making, preparing them for future opportunities in the financial industry.

Teaching experience

I have designed and taught an exciting course at Johns Hopkins called Food Engineering, focused on new technologies and advances in the food/agriculture space! Additionally, I have served as an instructor for the Biomedical Engineering Innovation (BMEI) course for an all-girls high school in Baltimore. I mentor undergraduates and graduate students in the lab focused on technical skills but also lab meeting presentations and literature reviews! Lastly, I teach fun science experiments at a local Baltimore elementary school through the Science in Action program.



Northeastern University
BS Bachelor of Science
Johns Hopkins University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Biomedical Engineering

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