BiPS Executive Committee 2021-22

  • President/Webmaster: Tara Urner, PhD Student in Biomedical Engineering
  • Vice-President: Nischita Kaza, PhD Student in Bio Engineering (Home school: ECE)
  • Treasurer: Melissa Cadena, PhD Student in Biomedical Engineering
  • Secretary: Jeonghwan Son (Dylan), PhD Student in Biomedical Engineering
  • Advisors: Dr. Francisco Robles & Dr. Shu Jia

Committee Members

Tara (President/Webmaster)

Tara is a PhD student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Wallace H. Coulter Biomedical Engineering department who works in Erin Buckley’s lab at Emory University. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Earlham College with major concentrations in Physics and Philosophy and a minor concentration in Computer Science. She enjoys pursuing opportunities to teach at all levels and exploring interdisciplinary research questions. Her interests outside of research include gardening, listening to podcasts, drinking tea, or any combination thereof.

Nischita (Vice-president)

Nischita is a PhD. student in the Bioengineering program. Her research in the Robles’ lab focuses on phase retrieval techniques for hyperspectral imaging of cells and tissues in the UV region of the spectrum. She is interested in applying concepts from signal processing, machine learning, and convex optimization to develop algorithms and techniques for biomedical image acquisition and processing. Outside of research, she dabbles in art and cooking and is an ardent tennis and soccer fan.

Melissa (Treasurer)

Melissa Cadena is a PhD Student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. She is in Dr. Emelianov Stanislav’s Ultrasound Imaging and Therapeutics Research Laboratory, where her main research focus is on developing cell and particle tracking methods using photoacoustic imaging, and ultrasound imaging to improve novel therapies, specifically in immunology and stem cell therapy. She grew up in Laredo, Texas and received her bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering at University Texas at San Antonio. Outside of research, Melissa enjoys weight training, basketball, biking, hanging out with friends, and spending time in nature.

Dylan (Secretary)

Dylan (Jeonghwan Son) is a Ph.D student at the Wallace H. Coulter department of Biomedical Engineering. His research in Dr. Jia’s Systems Biophotonics group focuses on the development of new multimodality systems of optical fluorescence microscopy to open new biomedical applications, provide clinical translation, and benefit the next generation of scientists. He has been educated as a Biomedical Engineer at Yonsei University (South Korea) and StonyBrook University (NY, USA). He also enjoys playing squash, collecting perfumes, listening to jazz, and touring galleries outside of research.


Francisco Robles

Optical technologies have enabled key advances in biology and medicine due to their ability to assess many chemical and physical properties of cells and tissues with great flexibility (e.g., in-vivo, non-invasively, over a wide range of length scales, and over long periods of time). The OIS lab seeks to continue advancing optical technologies to help improve our understanding of biological processes and our ability to identify disease. Specifically, we focus on developing and applying label-free linear and nonlinear spectroscopic methods, along with advanced signal processing methods, to gain access to novel forms of functional and molecular contrast for a variety of applications, including cancer detection, tumor margin assessment, hematology, and neuron functional imaging.

Lab Website

Shu Jia

Our research is focused on systems biophotonics and imaging technology, such as single-molecule biophotonics, super-resolution microscopy, advanced optical and computational microscopy, imaging physics, biomedical imaging instrumentation and devices, and imaging microrobotics and machine-intelligence. We strive to innovate in ways that both advance the imaging science and also impact biological and translational research. Toward the application end, we have expertise in a wide range of imaging instrumentation and techniques, such as super-resolution, adaptive optics, light-field, miniaturized, light-sheet, computational microscopy and endoscopy. Collaboratively, these techniques are expected to address the challenges in 1) mapping functional networks of biological systems from molecules to the whole organ, 2) imaging collective patterns of cellular activities flowing within these networks in freely behaving animals, and 3) integrating and transforming molecular and cellular imaging information into health and disease.

Lab Website

Previous Executive Committees

BiPS Executive Committee 2020-21

  • President: Jeonghwan Son (Dylan), PhD Student in Biomedical Engineering
  • Vice-President: Paloma Casteleiro Costa, PhD Student in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Treasurer/Social Media: Nischita Kaza, PhD Student in Bio Engineering (Home school: ECE)
  • Secretary/Webmaster: Tara Urner, PhD Student in Biomedical Engineering
  • Advisors: Dr. Shu Jia & Dr. Francisco Robles