Allyson Sgro – Principal Investigator

Allyson is an East Coast native who left high school early to attend Simon’s Rock College of Bard (now Bard College at Simon’s Rock) where she investigated carbenes with Professor David Myers and earned a B.A. in Chemistry and Pre-Medical Studies in 2005. She then moved to the University of Washington in Seattle to work in the laboratory of Professor Daniel T. Chiu developing new tools for biological analysis, obtaining a Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2011. From 2011 through 2016 she was a NIH Kirschstein-NRSA Fellow and a Burroughs Wellcome Fund CASI Fellow in the laboratory of Professor Thomas Gregor at Princeton University investigating the origins of collective behavior in Dictyostelium. In January 2017 she began her appointment as an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and a member of the Biological Design Center at Boston University, and in September 2017 became a Moorman-Simon Interdisciplinary Career Development Professor.  She also holds a joint programmatic appointment in the Department of Physics.


2017 Moorman-Simon Interdisciplinary Career Development Professorship
2017 BU College of Engineering Dean’s Catalyst Award
2015 BWF Career Award at the Scientific Interface
2013 NIH National Research Service Award

Postdoctoral Researchers

Achini Opathalage

BME Postdoctoral Researcher
Postdoctoral Researcher/Assistant Director of Microfabrication Facility, Brandeis University, 2017
Ph.D. in Physics, Brandeis University, 2015
B.S. in Physics, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2007

Achini is interested in investigating how single cells make decisions and communicate with each other to execute complex phenomena such as formations of secondary structures, biofilms and tissue remodeling. Her background is in soft condensed matter physics where she studied the self-assembly of proteins and the collective dynamics of cytoskeletal protein based active nematic liquid crystals with extensive use of microfluidics.

Graduate Students

Mark Aronson

BME Ph.D. Student
B.S. in Biological Engineering, Purdue University, 2017

Blog: Horizons

Samuel Ghilardi

BME Ph.D. Student
B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, 2016

2018 ACS Division of Biological Chemistry Fall National Meeting Travel Award
2017 ASCB Meeting Travel Award

Chuqiao Huyan

BME Ph.D. Student
B.S. in Biological Science and Biomedical Engineering, Beihang University, 2017

Breanna O’Reilly

BME Ph.D. Student
B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester, 2017

Xinwen Zhu

BME Ph.D. Student
M.S. in Pharmacology, McGill University, 2018
B.S. in Pharmacology, McGill University 2016

2019 FRQNT Doctoral Scholarship

Undergraduate Students

Dev Mehrotra
Biomedical Engineering, Class of 2020
Honors: UROP and STARS Recipient

Cullen Paulisick
Biomedical Engineering, Class of 2021
Honors: Distinguished Summer Research Fellowship

Kyra Smith
Biomedical Engineering, Class of 2020
Honors: Presidential/Engineering Scholar, UROP Recipient

Frank (Haoning) Yu
Biomedical Engineering, Class of 2021


Graduate Students
Shwan Javdan, M.S. Biomedical Engineering (2019)

Undergraduate Students (Selected)
Michael Fogg, B.S. Biomedical Engineering (2019)
Olivia Salazar, B.S. Biomedical Engineering (2019)
Bonnie Walton, B.S. Biomedical Engineering (2019)
Allison Weaver, B.S. Biomedical Engineering (2019)

Join Us!

We are always excited to hear from people who share our research interests in collective behavior, multicellular decision making, and the design principles of biological systems.

Current undergraduates interested in graduate studies in the lab should apply to Boston University’s Biomedical Engineering, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Biochemistry (MCBB), Bioinformatics, or Physics Ph.D. programs. The application deadline for these programs will be in December for the following fall semester.

Current graduate students at BU who are interested in rotating in the lab or joining the lab should contact Allyson to discuss their interests and potential projects. We are interested in rotation students from a wide variety of backgrounds and do not require any previous experience in our areas of research. We will consider 1-2 new Ph.D. students per year.

Prospective postdocs should email Allyson a cover letter that includes a description of their past and future research interests and how these interests would fit in the lab, a current CV, and contact information for three references. Experimental bioengineers, biophysicists, synthetic biologists, neuroscientists, and quantitative biologists are highly encouraged to apply. Outstanding candidates in other fields and with theoretical backgrounds will also be considered. Any experience with microscopy, cell culture, synthetic biology, optogenetics, theoretical modeling, machine learning, or image analysis is a bonus but not required.  We are committed to the career development of all of our trainees and are delighted to work with prospective postdocs to develop applications for independent funding.