Co-Founder & Chief Science Officer, AesculaTech
Niki, the first USC doctoral student to be named as one of the “35 innovators under 35” by MIT Technology Review, is an exceptionally talented engineer and innovative entrepreneur who has made important contributions to the chemical and biomedical engineering field with multitude of applications for the ophthalmological and medical device industry. During her PhD, she has developed ground-breaking biomedical devices including an injectable hydrogel for sealing open globe eye injuries, a reversible thermo-responsive adhesive patch for sealing injuries, and smart hydrogels that provide a unique platform for drug delivery. Her PhD research which led to development of injectable hydrogel sealant was featured on the cover of the Science Translational Medicine. Currently, together with a team of scientists and engineers, she is in the process of commercializing another one of her inventions through the company she co-founded, AesculaTech, Inc. They are working to develop a platform of thermally responsive materials for sustainable, localized drug delivery. This work is particularly effective for patients who have daily requirements for administering eye drops.