Future Innovators

UO Knight Campus
Future Innovators

First Cohort

The Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact welcomed its first cohort in September 2020. Despite a global pandemic, all new students began their respective learning and research journeys.

Each of our doctoral-level students contributes to the research being conducted at the Knight Campus. These entrepreneurial students are committed to their own studies while collaborating in different labs, but above all, they all aim to advance the science that can solve some of society's greatest challenges.


Jonathan Dorogin
Jonathan Dorogin

Hometown: Toronto, Canada
Undergraduate Studies: Nanotechnology Engineering, University of Waterloo (2016)
Knight Campus Program: PhD Bioengineering
Affiliated Lab: Dr. Marian Hettiaratchi

"Having completed my master’s in biomedical engineering and worked at a biomedical startup, I noticed the divide between academia and industry. The promise of the Knight Campus being a place specifically tailored towards bridging that gap was one of my biggest draws. Another reason I chose the Knight Campus is my current mentor, Marian Hettiaratchi. I had met Dr. Hettiaratchi previously and been extremely impressed with her work. We quickly established a great relationship, which further confirmed that I was making the correct decision."

Visit the Hettiaratchi Lab

Kelly O'Neill
Kelly O’Neill

Hometown: Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal
Undergraduate Major: Integrated Masters in Bioengineering, University of Porto, Portugal (2019)
Knight Campus Program: PhD Bioengineering
Affiliated Lab: Dr. Paul Dalton

"In my career as a young scientist, I have learned that the people who we work with greatly shape our success. When the opportunity came to continue working with Professor Paul Dalton, in the new and exciting, immersive and innovative environment that makes up the Knight Campus, I believed I had taken the right steps at the right time towards the right people. As a bioengineer, I recognize the value behind the Knight Campus’s integrative approach to bring together enthusiastic people from all scientific backgrounds."

Visit the Dalton Lab

 
 
Will Skinner

Hometown: Pensacola, Florida
Undergraduate Studies: Chemistry, Troy University (2015)
Knight Campus Program: PhD Bioengineering
Affiliated Lab: Dr. Keat Ghee Ong

"The Knight Campus feels unique in its approach to helping students chart a course for their PhD that is heavily influenced by our aspirations and career goals. The manner in which the Knight Campus helped us focus and hone our goals early and prepared us to 'hit the ground running' sets it apart from other programs. I particularly enjoy research engineering. Discovering the most efficient and powerful ways to apply newly developed technologies and tailoring these systems to suit the needs of the greater community is fulfilling."

Visit the Ong Lab

Will Skinner
Will Skinner

Hometown: Pensacola, Florida
Undergraduate Studies: Chemistry, Troy University (2015)
Knight Campus Program: PhD Bioengineering
Affiliated Lab: Dr. Keat Ghee Ong

"Having experienced some graduate training at a different but related facility already, I would say that the Knight Campus feels unique in its approach to helping students chart a course for their PhD that is heavily influenced by our aspirations and career goals. The manner in which the Knight Campus helped us focus and hone our goals early and prepared us to 'hit the ground running' really sets it apart from other programs. I particularly enjoy research engineering. Discovering the most efficient and powerful ways to apply newly developed technologies and tailoring these systems to suit the needs of the greater community is fulfilling."

Visit the Ong Lab

Tyler Guyer
Tyler Guyer

Hometown: Redmond, Oregon
Undergraduate Studies: Bioengineering, Oregon State University (2020)
Knight Campus Program: PhD Bioengineering
Affiliated Lab: Dr. Robert Guldberg

"There is a lot of engagement with resources here that I never expected to encounter so early on in my graduate training. Within my first week at the Knight Campus, I was introduced to not only academic and research mentors, but also writing instructors, business advisors, and even our librarian, who has given a lot of excellent advice on searching literature and finding good sources. Being on the frontier of groundbreaking new advances is an exciting idea, especially knowing how those advances might improve people’s lives. Severe musculoskeletal trauma in particular presents many clinical challenges, and I am eager to be a part of an effort to address those challenges."

Visit the Guldberg Lab

Andrew Holston
Andrew Holston

Hometown: Enumclaw, Washington
Undergraduate Studies: Biology and Chemistry, Northwest Nazarene University (2019)
Knight Campus Program: PhD Biochemistry
Affiliated Lab: Dr. Calin Plesa

"The graduate training at the Knight Campus excels due to the world class faculty, facilities, and professional development which are offered. Synthetic biology, enzymology, and protein engineering are my favorite areas of research because I enjoy thinking about macromolecule structure and function, and how these macromolecules can be designed for new applications. After graduation, I would like to work in the biotech industry doing protein engineering."

Visit the Plesa Lab

 

 
 
Kylie Nash

Hometown: Monmouth, Oregon
Undergraduate Studies: Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology, Whitman College (2020)
Knight Campus Program: PhD Bioengineering
Affiliated Lab: Dr. Robert Guldberg

"The productivity of the lab at the Knight Campus set us apart from other universities. Upon acceptance you are immediately paired with a PI which allows you to start making scientific progress that will impact society. Also, the emphasis on entrepreneurship, innovation, networking, and communication helps craft well-rounded students with the ability to maximum their impact on society. I am interested in the field of regenerative rehabilitation, an emerging subfield that has strong clinical relevance. This field allows me to use my biochemistry and biophysics background to help individuals that suffer from life altering injuries to their extremities. My work focuses on regenerating bone following complex injuries (such as combative traumas, cancer resection surgeries, or congenital anomalies) by utilizing mechanical loading as a rehabilitative strategy."

Visit the Guldberg Lab

Kylie Nash
Kylie Nash

Hometown: Monmouth, Oregon
Undergraduate Studies: Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology, Whitman College (2020)
Knight Campus Program: PhD Bioengineering
Affiliated Lab: Dr. Robert Guldberg

"The productivity of the lab at the Knight Campus set us apart from other universities. Upon acceptance you are immediately paired with a PI which allows you to start making scientific progress that will impact society. Also, the emphasis on entrepreneurship, innovation, networking, and communication helps craft well-rounded students with the ability to maximum their impact on society. I am interested in the field of regenerative rehabilitation, an emerging subfield that has strong clinical relevance. This field allows me to use my biochemistry and biophysics background to help individuals that suffer from life altering injuries to their extremities. My work focuses on regenerating bone following complex injuries (such as combative traumas, cancer resection surgeries, or congenital anomalies) by utilizing mechanical loading as a rehabilitative strategy."

Visit the Guldberg Lab

Sam Lester
Sam Lester

Hometown: Harper, Texas
Undergraduate Studies: Mechanical Engineering and Material Science, Duke University (2020)
Knight Campus Program: PhD Bioengineering
Affiliated Lab: Dr. Robert Guldberg

“Before I graduated from Duke, one of my mentors offered me some wisdom in how to choose the right career path. He told me to start where I would want to wake up in the morning and then see what options I would find. From how much my mom has been loving the four years she’s been up in Oregon, I thought, being close to home and surrounded by absolutely gorgeous outdoors, I couldn’t do better. The icing on the cake was the Knight Campus. Each project I am working on already requires a versatile approach, and the expert training I am receiving is jumpstarting me to take advantage of every aspect of the campus.”

Visit the Guldberg Lab

Natanya Villegas
Natanya Villegas

Hometown: Sunnyvale, California
Undergraduate Studies: Microbiology and Chemistry, San Jose State University (2019)
Knight Campus Program: PhD Biology
Affiliated Lab: Dr. Calin Plesa

"The UO Biology PhD program requires first-year students to rotate in three labs. By the end of their first year, students join the lab that was the best fit in terms of research topics and mentorship. For my last rotation, I worked on a virtual project with Professor Calin Plesa due to COVID-19. Calin’s vision for making gene synthesis methods more affordable and scalable deeply resonated with me and I decided to join his lab and work at the Knight Campus. I am glad to say that I chose the Knight Campus because it matches my personal commitment to performing high-impact, multidisciplinary work, while providing me with the skills needed to succeed in academia and industry."

Visit the Plesa Lab


 

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