Team Members

Sandra Rugonyi, Ph.D.

Sandra Rugonyi, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator

Email Professor Rugonyi

Sandra Rugonyi is a tenured professor of biomedical engineering at the OHSU School of Medicine. In 1995, she earned her degree in Nuclear Engineering from Instituto Balseiro (Balseiro Institute), Argentina, one of the most prestigious research centers in Latin America. In 1999, she earned her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and went on to complete her Ph.D., also in Mechanical Engineering, from MIT. From 2001-2005, Dr. Rugonyi held a postdoctoral fellowship at OHSU, after which she became an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering at OHSU. In 2011, she was promoted to the rank of associate professor, and in 2017 she was promoted to the rank of full professor with tenure. In 2022, Dr. Rugonyi was recently elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows for her outstanding contributions in the biomechanics of cardiovascular development and advocating for inclusion and diversity in biomedical engineering.

Dr. Rugonyi's main research interests are in cardiovascular mechanics: how blood flow influences the heart and vessel tissues leading to a healthier environment or disease. She is particularly interested in the application of finite element methods and other numerical techniques, as well as imaging (Optical Coherence Tomography, Ultrasound, Confocal Microscopy) and image analyses, to quantify and visualize the response of cardiovascular tissues to blood flow conditions. Dr. Rugonyi's current research projects involve investigating the effects of blood flow on heart development, congenital heart disease, aortic aneurysms, and vein biomechanics.

Floyd Rubonal

Research Assistant 2

Undergraduate: University of Portland

Interests: cardiovascular biology, cardiovascular development, diversity & inclusion, scientific communication

I am originally from Waipahu, HI, but made the decision to traverse the Pacific Ocean to Portland, OR. Here, I attended the University of Portland and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree in 2021. Since my graduation, I have been conducting research in Dr. Rugonyi's lab. My main focus is on the mechanisms that guide both normal and abnormal cardiac development. Using two different models of abnormal development (one where we perturb genetic programs, and one where we perturb blood flow), I investigate the reciprocal interaction between blood flow and genetic programs, and the ways in which these two different origins of perturbation lead to the same congenital heart defects (mainly Tetralogy of Fallot and Double Outlet Right Ventricle). From day to day, I utilize a spectrum of techniques such as immunofluorescence on sectioned and whole mount embryos, ultrasound, and the most exciting part of them all -- working with the chick embryos! Outside of the lab, I enjoy cooking, working out, and trying out new cuisines. 

Marina Nimmo

Graduate Student

Supriya Iyer

Clinical Fellow/Intern

Research Assistants

  • Floyd Rubonal (2021-2023), went on to pursue his Ph.D. in Cell & Molecular Biology at Duke University
  • Katie Lee (2019-2023), went on to pursue a DMD at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine
  • Pia Dora Fornell (2021-2022)
  • Ian Fries (2019-2020)
  • Katherine Courchaine (2015-2019), currently pursuing a PhD at the PSU/OHSU School of Public Health
  • Stephanie Stovall (2014-2016), finishing her MD at Oregon Health and Science University
  • Stephen Haller (2014-2016) currently finishing his MD/PhD at University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Darcy Babcock (2011-2013)
  • Aaron Troyer (2009-2012)

Graduate Students

  • Graham Rykiel (2016-2019), currently at Stryker
  • Madeline Midgett (2013-2016), currently at BIOTRONIK
  • Jaime Zelaya (2011-2014)
  • Aiping Liu (2005-2011)

Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Trina Siebert (2005-2008) 
  • Carley Shaut (2006-2008) 
  • Zhenhe Ma (2009-2010) 
  • Xin Yin (2009-2012) 
  • Wei Wang (2010-2011) 
  • Liang Shi (2010–2013) 
  • Sevan Goenezen (2011–2013) 
  • Monique Rennie (2011–2013) 
  • Ly Phan (2014–2015) 
  • Keshav Chivukula (2014-2015) 

Clinical Fellows/Interns

  • Shilpi Garg (2016–2019) co-mentored with Dr. Burch and Dr. Silberbach.  
  • Jeffrey Crawford (2014–2018) co-mentored with Dr. Azarbal. 
  • Peter Li (2018–2023) co-mentored with Dr. Al-Hakim, and Dr. Farsad. 

Undergraduate Students Interns

  • Lee White (2007) 
  • Jacqueline (Jackie) Levin (2008-2009) 
  • Lane Johnson (2009) 
  • Devon Frazier (2009) 
  • Sandra Baker (2010) 
  • Stephen Haller (2011 & 2012) 
  • Victoria Talbutt (2012) 
  • Sarani Chatterjee (2012) 
  • Alyssa Ehdahl (2012) 
  • Stephanie Stovall (2013) 
  • Curran Gahan (2013) 
  • Brianna Cowin (2014) 
  • Samantha Wallace (2014) 
  • Calder Dorn (2014) 
  • Evan Davies (2015) 
  • Abigail Griffiths (2015) 
  • Ali Bauer (2015) 
  • Nicholas Agalzoff (2016) 
  • Jonathan Matthew Stephens (2016) 
  • Molly Carpenter (2016) 
  • Hyun (Kevin) Cho (2016) 
  • MacKenzie Gray (2017-2018) 
  • Aaron Streblow (2017)
  • Natalie Hwee (2017) 
  • Anna-Liisa Sepp (2017) 
  • Carlos Márquez (2017) 
  • Carrie Anne Jones (2018) 
  • Francine Mendoza (2018, 2019) 
  • Anne C. Chiing (2018)
  • Cameron L. Chun (2018) 
  • Kendra Hunt (2019) 
  • Darke Hull (2019) 
  • Nicolas Enriquez (2021) 
  • Owen Baenen (2022) 
  • Aidan O’Scannlain (2022) 

High School Students

  • Neeloy Pandit (2008) 
  • Melissa Wong (2011), St. Mary’s Academy 
  • Geneva Li (2011), St. Mary’s Academy 
  • Zanna Doak (2012) 
  • Elise Sevy (2012) 
  • Madison Hayes-Lattin (2014) 
  • Sabrina Angel (2015) 
  • Mary Root (2015) 
  • Batya Beard (2016), St. Mary’s Academy 
  • Dolores Fritzsche (2018), St. Mary’s Academy 
  • Kaitlin Beel (2018), Camas High School 
  • Sanika Deosthali (2019 - 2020), Sunset High School 
  • Natalie Ge (2021), Camas High School 
  • Vatsal Parikh (2021-2022), Sunset High School 
  • Alexander Perry (2022), Park Academy – HEART program (NSF outreach) 
  • Aron Wang (2022), Beaverton Academy of Science and Engineering - HEART program (NSF outreach) 
  • Samyak Shrimali, Jesuit High School - HEART program (NSF outreach) 
  • Dilisha Patil (2022), Northwest Academy - HEART program (NSF outreach)