Mary Gates Endowment For Students

2019 CoMotion Scholars

Summer Internship Program

Selected 2019 Scholars

Zihan Cao

Institution: University of Washington

Faculty Mentor: Matthew Tolentino, Electrical and Computer Engineering


Zihan is a rising senior at the University of Washington studying electrical and computer engineering. She is working with Professor Mathew Tolentino this summer in his IPA research lab and start-up company, Namatad, in Tacoma. The company is coordinating with Tacoma Fire Department to develop an IoT-based system that aims to improve the safety of first responders during structural fires by tracking ground operations and encountered environmental conditions. Zihan is very excited to work on this project and to contribute to its direct impact on reducing the fatalities of firefighters.

Xinyu Gu

Institution: University of Washington

Faculty Mentor: David Baker, Biochemistry and Lance Stewart, Institute for Protein Design, UW Medicine


Xinyu is a senior in Biochemistry and Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington. Xinyu has been exploring her interests in the field of biotechnology through research since the end of her freshmen year. Specifically, she has worked on developing novel iron oxide nanoparticle based drug delivery systems which can also be utilized as imaging agents in the Zhang Lab. In summer 2019, she works with the Institute of Protein Design (IPD) on a protein drug that aims to treat Crohn’s disease (CD) by targeting the interleukin-23 (IL-23) receptor. Xinyu is helping to develop a proper process for large-scale expression of the target protein and subsequent purifications. In addition, Xinyu is also building a net present value (NPV) model to assess the market for an orally administered and protein-based treatment for CD and to address the value of investing on such a protein. During her free time, Xinyu loves to cook, bake and she enjoys occasional hiking and camping.

Kim Ha

Institution: University of Washington

Faculty Mentor: Jeffrey Riffel & Eleanor Lutz, Biology

Kim is a rising sophomore at the University of Washington with an intended major in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. Last summer through the University of Washington’s GenOM ALVA program, she received an opportunity to work in the Bamshad lab investigating a candidate variant in the DNA of individuals affected with distal arthrogryposis and continued the project during the academic year. This summer, she will be working with Eleanor Lutz in the Riffell lab to better understand the chemical sensing of disease vector mosquitoes. In the future, Kim hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a PhD in a scientific field. She is excited to be exploring another area of research and identifying her interests early on. Kim is also passionate about educational equity and wants to merge her interests in science and education together to close the achievement gap for low-income students passionate about STEM. Outside of the lab, Kim likes to binge-read webcomics, watch light-hearted variety shows, and design bullet journal spreads using her massive washi tape collection.

Erika Lee

Institution: University of Washington, Seattle

Faculty: Mika Sinanan, Surgery


Erika is a senior at the University of Washington, who just completed her senior capstone project in the Engineering Innovation in Health program (EIH), in the Mechanical Engineering department. With a team of mechanical engineering students, Erika developed and filed a provisional patent on an automated insulin loading device for geriatric or visually impaired individuals to prevent mis-dosing of insulin and to ultimately mitigate the risk of death and improve disease management. Throughout the program, she gained insight on the interdisciplinary aspect of innovation in medical device design and grew a passion to pursue graduate school to help enrich lives of others. This summer, Erika is working with Dr. Mika Sinanan and the Quinton PHSH team to help bring their noninvasive hernia support belt to a successful commercialization. In her free time, Erika loves playing piano and having small gatherings with friends. She also plans to go hiking more and learn how to play golf and guitar this summer.

Hugo Pontes

Institution: University of Washington, Seattle

Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Nance, Chemical Engineering


Hugo is a rising junior in Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington. He is very interested in using engineering to solve the problems that medicine faces today. Since February of 2018, he has been working with Professor Nance to develop nanoparticles for brain delivery through nanoparticle probing and the characterization of the blood-brain barrier. He has also been involved in a project in Puerto Rico with Professor Pozzo to figure out the health effects of Hurricane Maria on those that depend on power for their medical needs. As for his personal interests, Hugo loves to cook, bake, and rollerblade around Seattle.

Idanis Cruz

Institution: University of Washington, Seattle

Faculty Mentor: Michael Yost, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences


Idanis is an upcoming senior, graduating in spring 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health. She was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and grew up in Eastern Washington, in the small town of Mattawa. She is interested in eliminating health disparities within her community, working specifically with agricultural workers. This summer she is working with Etiquetas bilingues de pesticidas (Bilingual Pesticide Safety Project), in which she will gain a platform to connect with agricultural workers to help eliminate language barriers. She aspires to continue to disseminate information about injustices in the healthcare field and to keep advocating for underrepresented communities.

Khoi Ha

Institution: University of Washington, Seattle

Faculty: Michael Mulligan, Surgery


Khoi is a rising senior at the University of Washington majoring in Biology with a focus in Physiology. He spent the last year with the Thomas Hawn research group looking into rare gene variants in cystic fibrosis patients that could potentially explain their resistance to microbial infection and colonization following the diagnosis of the disease. This summer, he is working with the Mulligan/Hwang Lab to explore novel therapeutic methods for preventing lung ischemia reperfusion injury in pulmonary transplant patients. He is most excited to be working with both the UW Department of Surgery and the Center for Lung Biology as it will give insight to how basic and clinical research accomplishes a common goal. Khoi also has a passion for leadership opportunities serving as the Vice President of Programming for Phi Delta Epsilon WA Alpha International Medical Fraternity, as well as serving as a mentor for the Alexander Hamilton Scholars. His free-time activities include video games on rainy days and hikes during the limited sunny days in Seattle.

Marcos Miranda

Institution: University of Washington, Seattle

Faculty Mentor: David Baker, Biochemistry


Marcos Miranda is currently a rising senior majoring in microbiology and public health at the University of Washington. He plans to pursue a career in infectious disease medicine, and this past year interned at the Center for Infectious Disease Research in protein purification. This summer he is working at the Institute for Protein Design (IPD) on a protein for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Marcos is assisting in the purification process of the protein for future use in mouse modeling, crystallography, and tagless purification. He is also assessing the market for IPF treatments to accurately describe the net present value of this new potential treatment. In his free time, Marcos enjoys backpacking and snowboarding.

Xiange Wang

Institution: University of Washington, Seattle

Faculty Mentor: Karl Bohringer, Electrical Engineering


Xiange is a rising senior majoring in mechanical engineering at UW. She is interested in product development and sustainable engineering. Currently, Xiange is working with Professor Bohringer on improving the rapid DNA screening tool with Conservation X lab and MEMS lab, where the screening tool can identify wildlife and timber source species. At UW, she is involved with EcoCar team, Society of Women Engineers, and FIUTS. During her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, and exploring the city.