Lab Members

Daniel Conway, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator and Associate Professor

Daniel Conway received his Bachelors in Bioengineering from Rice University and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. During his postdoctoral studies with Martin Schwartz he developed FRET-based tension biosensors to study how fluid shear stress affects mechanical forces across cell-cell junctions. Since starting his lab at VCU, he continues to focus on mechanobiology at cell-cell adhesions, as well as the nucleus.

Jolene Cabe, BA

Lab Manager

Jolene Cabe received her B.A. in Biology at Randolph-Macon College. She investigates tubulogenesis and helps the lab derive different cell lines. When not working in the lab, Jolene spends her time on farms artificially inseminating cattle.

Vani Narayanan, Ph.D.

Postdoc fellow

Vani joined the Conway lab in 2014 and received her M.S. degree in biomedical engineering in 2016, and PhD in biomedical engineering in 2020. Her research interests lie in the field of development biology, tissue homeostasis, and tumorigenesis. Her past and present work focuses on studying the significance and functional consequences of biophysical forces in regulating function and stability in the epithelia. Vani's research has shown the critical nature of mechanical forces in regulating cellular response and elucidates tissue-related complexities arising from disruptions in the epithelia.

When not indulged in science, Vani loves spending her time by either cooking, doing some fun art work or going on long nature walks, with my two children, Aditi and Arjun, and my husband, Nishanth.

Brooke Danielsson, BS

Ph.D. Student

Brooke completed her Bachelors of Science degree at the New York Institute of Technology in NYC. She joined Conway lab in 2018 and studies how chromatin condensation state regulates nuclear lamina tension and cellular adaptation to physiological forces. Brooke received the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship, as well the Koerner Family Foundation's Graduate Award. Brooke was also awarded a Public Engagment Grant from the American Society of Cell Biology for her outreach program EPIC (Engineering Practice in Color) which teaches STEM to middle school students with Dyslexica. In her free time, Brooke enjoys spending time with her husband and newborn son.

Katie Tieu, BS

Ph.D. Student

Katie graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BS in Biomedical Engineering and a BS Mathematical Sciences. She was an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Conway's lab studying the nuclear mechanics of progerin cells. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. under the continued guidance of Dr. Conway to understand the mechanics of viral fusion and the effects of SARS-CoV-2 proteins in vitro.

Uzair Rehman, M.B.B.S

Ph.D. Student

Under construction......

Sydnie Tran, BS

Ph.D. Student

Sydnie went to the University of Akron for her BS degree in Biomedical Engineering (concentration on biomaterials and tissues), and minored in applied mathematics. Her current PhD research is to determine how P-cadherin forces drive collective cell migration. Fun fact: she has have an 11-inch stuffed penguin named Bruce who likes salmon, pilates, and long walks on the beach.

Vidal Bejar-Padilla, BS

Research Technician

Vidal graduated Magna Cum Laude from VCU with a Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics. Vidal is from Virginia Beach, and started working in the Conway Lab in 2018. He is currently researching the role of vinculin at adherens junctions. Vidal was awarded research funding from the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Fellowship in 2018. He was also awarded a Diversity supplement from the NIH in 2020.

Aamna Siddiqui

Undergraduate Student

Aamna Siddiqui is an undergraduate student in her sophomore year, majoring in biomedical engineering with a pre-medical track. She is interested in investigating the various COVID proteins and observing their relationship to different cell organelles. A fun fact about Aamna is that she enjoys spending her free time embroidering.

Jessica Cornthwaite

REU Student

Jessica is third year undergraduate student studying biomedical engineering at UVA. She is working with Dr.Conway on several different projects. One of those projects is to be able to visualize the role of rapamycin. In another project, they are using a Vimenten Tension Sensor (Vim. TS) to understand the force that is exerted on the intermediate filament structures. A fun fact about Jessica is that before she was 20 before she tried her first cheeseburger, and spoiler alert, she did like it!

Santiago Lopez

Undergraduate Student

Santiago is a Biomedical Engineer major graduating in spring of 2023. Currently he is working with Vidal in researching Vinculin recruitment. A fun fact about Santiago is that he knows how to play the trombone and tuba.

Sujit Anumukonda

Undergraduate Student

Under construction.....

Ashley Cardenas-Alviar

Undergraduate Student

Ashley is a 4th year premed student pursuing a biomedical engineering degree and a chemistry minor. She is part of VCU's Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Program and is being mentored by Dr. Narayanan. Ashley is currently investigating how epithelial cells maintain lumen pressure and a fun fact about her is that shes Ecuadorian.


  • Tristan Raisch, PhD.

  • Hannah Peters, BS

  • Kevin Denis, PhD.

  • Paul Arsenovic, PhD.

  • Carl Mayer, PhD.

  • Kranthi Bathula, MS

  • Keisuke Ito, MS

  • Hayley Eicher, BS

  • Jackson White, BS

  • Kira Vu, BS

  • Shaston Newman

  • Niharika Patel, BS

  • Abhinav Mohan, MS

  • Lindsay Lafratta, MS

  • Madeline Surratt

  • Nicole Duggan, BS

  • Alex Kniffin, BS

  • Benjamin Nguyen, BS

  • Kyle Schlue, BS

  • Sindora Baddam, BS

  • Eric Buchanan

  • Delisa Clay, BS

  • Ashley Duke, BS

  • Hisham Kamoun, BS

  • Natalie Noll, BS

  • Ezoza Nomazova, BS

  • Iswarya Ramachandran, BS

  • George Wesley