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About Us

BEPSA Executive Board and Committee Chairs for 2023 – 2024

Summary of Positions and Roles

Copy of BEPSA Constitution


Executive Board


Amit Narawane


Amit is a fourth-year MD/PhD candidate in Joseph Izatt’s biomedical optics lab. His research focuses on developing and testing novel optical imaging devices to aid ophthalmic diagnostics and therapeutics. As BEPSA president he is excited to have the opportunity to give PhD students a voice in the department and strengthen the BME community. Outside of the lab he enjoys reading a good book, baking for friends, traveling and learning languages, and exploring the Durham food scene.

Vice President

Helen Streff


Helen is entering her fourth year in the Gersbach lab, and works on in vivo liver regeneration CRISPR screens and iPSC reprogramming. She was previously one of the outreach chairs, and is excited to continue serving on the BEPSA executive board as Vice President. She will serve as the student voice on DAC (doctoral advisory committee) and attend meetings with faculty to discuss issues pertinent to PhD students. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, baking, watching The Bachelor, and cross-stitching.


Grayson Hamrick


Grayson is a third-year PhD student in the You synthetic biology lab. In his research, he aims to engineer robust microbial communities for biomanufacturing and other biotechnology applications. His primary duty as CFO is to aid the rest of the executive board and the committee chairs in realizing their goals by acquiring and approving funding. Outside of the lab, he enjoys reading, coaching lacrosse, and hanging out with his two dogs, Wrangler and River. 

Committee Chairs

Events Co-Chair

Nicole Angel


Nikki is a 3rd year PhD student in Shyni Varghese’s and Brent Hoffman’s labs. Her research focuses on understanding the interplay between biomechanics and inflammation on the regulation of fibroblast activity in the context of pulmonary fibrosis. As events co-chair with Lauren, her role is to help build community between members of Duke BME PhD through hosting fun events and socials. When she’s not in lab, she enjoys running, spending time with her cats, and hanging out with friends. 

Events Co-Chair

Lauren Onweller


Lauren is a second-year PhD student in the Reker lab. In her research, she aims to use active machine learning to engineer nanoparticles for combination therapy applications. Her primary role as Co-Events chair is to plan events for the BME department such as socials, food events, and more with Nikki as well as support the rest of the executive board. Outside of work, she enjoys running, hiking, crocheting, and spending time with her two orange tabby cats.

Outreach Chair

Wren Wightman


Wren is a third year PhD student in the Nightingale Lab, studying translational ultrasound imaging. Their research involves developing ultrasound-based biomarkers for neuromuscular health through shear wave elasticity imaging and ultrasound image statistics. Her role as outreach chair involves organizing community-centered events including blood drives, collaboration with local community centers, and educational opportunities with local educational groups. When not in the lab, she enjoys playing with her cats, growing plants, and exploring the night-life of Durham with their friends.

Resources Chair

Daniel Marshall


Daniel is a second year PhD student in the Grill Lab. His research focuses on developing novel methods for modeling peripheral nerve stimulation, with the goal of advancing our understanding of neural responses to electrical stimulation and designing improved neuromodulation therapies. His role as resources chair is to provide tools for students to navigate the complexities of working towards a PhD. Outside of work, he enjoys playing volleyball, producing music, cooking, and playing board games.

First-Year Officers

Derek Pang


Derek is a first year PhD student in the Luck Injury Biomechanics Lab, studying the injury risks, mechanisms, and consequences of ballistic impacts to the thorax in behind armor blunt trauma and fatigue loading of the head/neck from head-supported masses such as helmets and night vision goggles. As first year representative, his role is to build the first-year cohort community through planning activities and represent the cohort within BEPSA. Outside of the office, he enjoys backpacking or camping, caffeinated drinks, and things that go boom!

Sophie Shi


Sophie is a first year PhD student in Timothy Dunn Lab. Her research focuses on behavioral study in motor-related neural diseases. She uses deep-learning tools to quantitatively assess behavioral deficits in stroke, enabling sensitive and high-throughput investigation of preclinical treatment. Her role as a first-year representative is to work as a bridge between the first-year cohort and BEPSA, and to connect the first-year cohort together, by providing resources to the new students and organizing social events. Outside of the work, she really enjoys painting, crafting, baking, making vlogs, exploring good food… – anything that is fun and refreshing!