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We are a transdisciplinary team that addresses biomedical challenges by building upon fundamental chemistry, biophysics, and engineering concepts. To sustain these scientifically diverse efforts, our team is committed to creating an inclusive, equitable and collaborative space where each member can excel in their research endeavors.

We want to cultivate STEM opportunities aimed towards leveling the playing field for people that come from marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds.


We are committed to creating a safe training environment where everyone demonstrates mutual respect


We welcome members from all walks of life, each with unique scientific perspectives, as well as personal backgrounds. Our group embraces the fact that diverse environments lead to a more productive and creative team.

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Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University

Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University

B.S., University of the Philippines Diliman  

Email: hardona at





2024 CAS Future Leaders Top 100

2023 Tom Angell Postdoctoral Fellow

B.S., Ph.D., Peking University


Email: zefany at


Ze-Fan received his B.S. degree in 2016 in Chemistry from the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University. As an undergraduate researcher, he worked on the organic synthesis and structural characterization of organic conjugated molecules. He then obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2021 under the supervision of Prof. Jian Pei at Peking University. His Ph.D. research focused on conjugated polymers, transistor devices, and the effect of multi-level aggregation on charge transport. He started as a postdoctoral researcher in Prof. Ardoña’s group in September 2021. He is currently working on peptide-based materials and related electronic applications. He will also be working closely with the Arguilla Group in the UCI Chemistry department.During his free time, Ze-Fan likes running, cooking, and watching movies.



Ph.D., Politecnico di Milano & Center for NanoScience and Technology, Italian Institute of Technology (Milan) 

B.S., M.S., University of Milano-Bicocca


Email: lmaver at


Leonardo joined the Ardoña group in Spring 2024. After a bachelor's degree in Physics and master's degree n Particle Physics at the University of Milano-Bicocca, he got the chance to explore the world at the interface between Material Science and Biology during his Ph.D. at Politecnico of Milano, in the labs of the Italian Institute of Technology, where he was supervised by Dr. Maria Rosa Antognazza. Deeply and passionately curious, he always tries to learn new things, both in professional and personal domains. Outside the lab, he is an avid reader and a casual gamer, and he loves rock music and movies. He finds his peace in meditation, cooking/baking, and sports.




PhD Student, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


M.S., University of Southern California

B.S., California State University, Long Beach


Email: sujeungl at


Sujeung joined the Ardoña group in Fall 2020. Sujeung is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UC Irvine. She is interested in engineering new biomaterials to model biological responses and is interested in creating platforms to understand those responses. She hopes to work in the industry after completing her Ph.D. studies. She likes to bake and listen to music outside research.



PhD Student, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


M.S., Northwestern University

B.S., East China University of Science and Technology


Email: yuyaok at


Yuyao obtained his B.E. in Bioengineering from ECUST in 2018. During his undergraduate, he examined the modification of key enzyme in the synthesis of Ezetimibe for cholesterol medication. After that, he obtained his M.S. of Biotechnology in 2020. At Northwestern University, Yuyao explored magnetic nanostructures for MRI contrast enhancement and environment remediation. These research experiences cultivated an interest in biomaterials where his interests in biology and nanotechnology can be combined. He is developing novel mechanochromic hydrogel systems for cellular force sensing in Professor Ardoña’s group. At his free time, Yuyao likes cooking, playing basketball, hiking, and watching movies.



PhD Student, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


B.S., M.S., Johns Hopkins University

Email: harrij1 at


Harrison joined the Ardoña group in Fall 2021. His interest in biomaterials for tissue engineering applications sprung from his Master’s research with Dr. Anirudha Singh at JHU. He is working with photoconductive scaffolds for applications in cardiac and skeletal tissue engineering. Prior to joining the group, he worked in protein purification in Process Development at Amgen. Outside of the lab, he is very passionate about fashion and sneakers. He also enjoys dance, gaming, golf, and tennis.



CARE (T32) Fellow

PhD Student, Biomedical Engineering


B.S., University of California, Irvine

Email: elundqvi at


Emil completed his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from UCI in 2019. As an undergraduate researcher, Emil focused on determining impacts of cardiomyocyte organization on cardiac function. Following his undergraduate studies, he worked for two years as the lab manager for the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation Cardiovascular Innovation and Research Center where he worked with faculty and students to promote innovative cardiovascular research. Emil is interested in developing novel biomaterial platforms to advance the field of cardiovascular tissue engineering and improve the maturation of stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. Aside from his time in the laboratory, Emil enjoys painting, playing board games, and rock climbing.



PhD Student, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering


M.S., California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
B.S., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Email: kathrkl2 at


Kathryn joined the Ardoña group in Fall 2022. Kathryn’s research interests are polymeric biomaterials. She is currently working on spatially engineering bioscaffolds through photo-induced reactions. Before joining the group, she worked on non-destructive methods for coating analysis within Manufacturing and Design at Apple in fulfillment of her Master’s degree. In her free time, she likes to play volleyball, read, and care for her many plants.

Kiara Lacy Headshot Ardoña Lab Website.jpeg


2024– Supported by the NIH/NHLBI Supplement #3R01HL164348-01A1S1

2021–2022 Samueli School of Engineering Pathway to the PhD Fellow

PhD Student, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

B.S., University of California, Irvine

Email: lacyk at


Kiara is a co-advised PhD student between the Adams and Ardoña labs. Her research is focused on Dielectrophoresis (DEP), a label-free cell characterization technique to differentiate between different cell types using a non-uniform electric field. She is currently developing new platforms that enable light-induced dielectrophoresis for sorting subpopulations of human mesenchymal stem cell populations and for patterning biomolecular interfaces.



PhD Student, Biomedical Engineering

B.S., University of California, Berkeley

Email: celtn at


Natalie completed her B.S. in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley in 2022. As an undergraduate researcher, she explored various research areas including the proteomics of aging, in silico screening of estrogen receptor modulators, and macrophage mechanotransduction. Her interest in biomaterials, however, was sparked when she joined her undergrad Bioprinting Club. As part of the Ardoña lab, Natalie is interested in harnessing the manufacturing prowess of bioprinting to create mechanochromic biomaterial platforms for assessing the maturation of iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes for future drug and disease modeling. Outside of the lab, she can be found playing/watching basketball, learning how to cook, or walking her dogs.

Sheng Wei.JPG


PhD Student, Chemistry (ChAMP Student)

B.S., The Ohio State University

Email: shengwt at


Born and raised in Klang, Malaysia, Sheng Wei received her B.S. degree in Chemistry from The Ohio State University in 2023. As an undergraduate researcher, she worked on synthesis and chracterization of peptide and polymer self-assembly systems with Prof. Jon Parquette and Prof. Davita Watkins. As a ChAMP Chemistry student, she is interested in the design and characterization of soft nanoelectronics and its applications. In the Ardoña lab, she is currently working on cell-interacting peptide assemblies capable of tunable energy transport in cellulo and as ex cellulo networks. Outside the lab, Sheng Wei enjoys playing badminton, arranging scores on her piano, and trying out new restaurants.




Junior, Biomedical Engineering

Email: laniel at

Lanie is currently an undergraduate interested in interdisciplinary research involving biotechnology, specifically biomimetics, nanobiotechnology, and bioinformatics. In the future, she would love to pursue a PhD and become a professor. Outside of academics, she enjoys traveling, swimming, playing video games, and learning languages.

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Junior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Email: uyenvn at

Krystal is currently a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Chemical Engineering. By joining Dr. Ardoña's lab, she hopes to gain more knowledge as well as hands-on experience in exploring different types of biomaterials that can be applied in biotechnology and medical devices, particularly sensing. Her long-term goal is to work in the biotech industry and pursue her Ph.D. degree in the same field. Aside from academics, she enjoys photography, dancing, and painting.



Junior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Email: rusweld at

Ruswel is a second-year undergraduate majoring in chemical and biomolecular engineering who plans to specialize in biomolecular engineering. He hopes to gain more experience and skills in biomaterials and biotechnology. In the future, he hopes to continue his studies for his PhD. When he's not busy, he likes to gym, game, and watch anime.



Junior, Biomedical Engineering

Email: morsin at

Nadeen is a second-year undergraduate majoring in Biomedical Engineering and minoring in Health Informatics, planning on specializing in biophotonics. She hopes to gain more hands-on experience and knowledge of biomaterials and their uses by working in Dr. Ardoña's lab. In the future, she hopes to pursue an MD and become a radiologist. In her free time, she likes to read and go on hikes.



Sophomore, Chemical and Engineering

Email: mmarston at

Maddie is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Chemical Engineering and minoring in Material Science Engineering, with a specialization in Biomolecular Engineering. As a member of the Ardoña lab, she hopes to gain knowledge and hands-on experience in working with polymeric biomaterials and bioprinting. Post-graduation, Maddie intends to pursue a master's degree and work in the biotech industry. Apart from her academic interests, Maddie enjoys baking, reading, and spending time at the beach.



Sophomore, Biomedical Engineering

Email: salgadc5 at

Catherine is a second-year undergraduate interested in interdisciplinary research, specifically nanobiotechnology, tissue engineering, and biomolecular/genetic engineering. During her time at Dr. Ardoña’s lab, she hopes to gain more hands-on experience and learn more about biomimetic nanomaterials and biotechnology. After graduation, she hopes to enter the biotech industry and later obtain her PhD and become a professor. In her free time, she enjoys running, creating short films, and reading.



Sophomore, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Email: chungco at

Caleb is a third year undergraduate student studying Chemical Engineering with a specialization in Macromolecular Engineering. He plans on gaining hands-on experience and knowledge on biomaterials throughout his time in the Ardoña Lab. He hopes to apply his acquired skills in graduate school and eventually the semiconductor industry. In his free time, Caleb enjoys the gym, running, playing guitar, and going to concerts

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Interested to join our group as a postdoctoral researcher, graduate researcher, or undergraduate student? Please contact Herdeline Ardoña and check the UCI CBE webpage for more details. Postdoc applicants should send their CV, research summary, and a list of references to Professor Ardoña via email.

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