Roberts:People

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Susan C. Roberts

Sue is an associate professor in the Chemical Engineering Department at The University of Massachusetts Amherst. She also holds a position as the director of the UMass Amherst Institute for Cellular Engineering (ICE). She obtained her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1992 and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University in 1998.

Contact Information:
Email: sroberts@ecs.umass.edu


Current Graduate Students


Martin Kolewe completed his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at UMass Amherst in 2011 and his B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in 2004. After completing his undergraduate degree, he worked for 3 years as a process control engineer for Amgen in the start up of their BioNext manufacturing facility. He joined the Roberts lab in 2007 and studied heterogeneity in plant cell culture through both modeling and experimental techniques, collaborating with Mike Henson. Marty is currently searching for a post-doctoral position in the Boston Area and spending time with his 1-year old daughter, Artemis and wife, Christina.

Email: mkolewe@ecs.umass.edu
Marty's Current CV


Rohan Patil completed his B.S. in Chemical engineering at University Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India. He joined Roberts lab in 2008. The general aim of Rohan’s research is to better understand the heterogeneity in plant cell cultures, with a focus on elucidating the relationship between cell populations and paclitaxel accumulation in culture. He is presently working on the application of molecular approaches to characterize and manipulate Taxus metabolism in distinct cell subpopulations.

Email: patil@ecs.umass.edu
Rohan's Current CV


Whitney Stoppel completed her B.S. in Chemical Engineering with minors in Mathematics and Cell & Molecular Biology at Tulane University in 2008. Following an REU program in Cellular Engineering at UMass in 2007, Whitney chose to attend graduate school at UMass, continuing to work in the Roberts lab. She joined the Roberts lab in the fall of 2008, and is working on enhancing the growth and functionality of mammalian cells in 3-D constructs by tailoring mechanical and physiological properties within the device through a collaboration with Surita Bhatia, Kim Tremblay, and Al Crosby.

Email: wstoppel@ecs.umass.edu


Sarah Wilson completed her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Rowan University in the spring of 2009. She decided to attend graduate school at UMass to conduct research in cellular engineering and joined the Roberts group in the fall of 2009. Sarah's focus is on characterizing novel genes involved in paclitaxel production with an overall goal to enhance the accumulation and production of paclitaxel in Taxus cell cultures.

Email: swilson@ecs.umass.edu




Lisa Leone completed her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia. During the course of her undergraduate education she participated in internship programs at ConocoPhillips, Dupont and Genencor, the last of which sparked an interest in biotechnology. She joined the Roberts group in the fall of 2010, and looks forward to optimizing Taxol production through metabolic engineering.

Email: lleone@ecs.umass.edu


Current Collaborators



Current Undergraduate Researchers


Nick Cadirov will graduate with his B.S. in Chemical Engineering in May 2012 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is currently applying to graduate school for the fall 2012 semester. He has worked in the Roberts lab since the beginning of his junior year. As a senior, he is currently completing his honors thesis, working to optimize a protocol for the reculturing of Taxus protoplasts.


Sarena Horava will graduate with his B.S. in Chemical Engineering in May 2012 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is currently applying to graduate school for the fall 2012 semester. She has worked in the field of biomaterials and tissue engineering in the Roberts lab since the beginning of her sophomore year. She has received numerous UMass Commonwealth Honors College fellowships and has presented a poster at the UMass Undergraduate Research Symposium in the spring of 2010 and 2011. This fall, she will present her work at the BMES annual meeting in Hartford, CT during the undergraduate poster session. Currently, she is completing her honors thesis through the exploration of smooth muscle cell extracellular matrix secretion in alginate hydrogels over time.
Nicole Raia will graduate with her B.S. in Chemical Engineering in May 2012 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is currently applying to graduate school and industry positions. Nicole has worked in the Roberts since the beginning of her junior year. As a senior, she is currently completing her honors thesis, working to develop a selection protocol for the Roberts lab's Taxus cell lines after an Agrobacterium-mediated transformation.



Former PhD Students


  • Martin Kolewe
  • Vishal Gaurav
  • Kham Vongpaseuth
  • Kyong-Sik Chin
  • Sarwat F. Khattak
  • Michael C. Naill
  • Camille Dubois

Former Undergraduates with Honors Theses


  • Amit Shavit
  • Nikola Finneran
  • Meenal Datta
  • Melissa St. Amand
  • Jordan Atlas

Open Positions

Post-doctoral positions
The Roberts Lab does not have any post-doctoral positions open at this time.

Graduate Students
The Roberts Lab may be interested in a qualified chemical engineering graduate student in the fall of 2011. Check back soon for more information.

Undergraduate Students
The Roberts lab is currently filling its positions for the 2011-2012 academic year, but may have openings in the fall of 2012 for juniors wishing to complete an honors thesis the following year. Please check back in the spring for more information and an application.


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