People

Principal Investigator

Dana Spence is a professor of biomedical engineering and chemistry. He leads a research group whose interests lie at the interface of analytical chemistry, bioengineering, pharmacology, and hematology. Dr. Spence earned his B.S. in chemistry from Grand Valley State University and his Ph.D. in chemistry at Michigan State University. He previously held faculty appointments in chemistry at Saint Louis University and Wayne State University.

Personnel

Morgan Geiger received her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Saginaw Valley State University in 2016 and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Michigan State University in 2021. Currently, Morgan works as a research scientist in Dana Spence’s lab. Her work focuses on a clinical trial with C-peptide for people with type 1 diabetes and understanding the mechanism of interferon-beta therapy in multiple sclerosis. She also assists graduate and undergraduate students, completes administrative aspects of the laboratory, handles safety officer duties, and manages the flow cytometer. In her free time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family and dogs.

Suzanne Summers is the lab manager for the Spence lab. She earned dual B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Forensic Science from University of New Haven and her Ph.D. in chemistry from Michigan State University. Her major roles in the lab include writing and implementing IRB protocols, purchasing equipment and supplies, venipuncture for the collection of whole blood, and processing the various components of whole blood for experimentation or storage. Additionally, Suzanne works in the lab on the development of the multiple sclerosis diagnostic device and training students.

 

Graduate Students

Stephen Branch is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in the Spence Lab within the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan State University. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a Biomedical concentration in 2019 from the Honors College at MSU. Stephen’s research focuses on developing a type 1 diabetes therapy based on C-peptide, a molecule co-secreted with insulin. This therapeutic aims to improve glucose distribution and metabolism as well as mitigate chronic complications such as neuropathy and retinopathy. Stephen also manages the 3D Printing Core at the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering. This core facility provides consulting and high-fidelity 3D printing services to research laboratories at MSU.

 

Ashley Davis is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Spence Lab within the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan State University. She received her B.S. in Biomolecular Science with a minor in Science & Technology Studies from New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering in 2023. Previously she worked on a project involving the prevention of catheter-associated bacterial biofilm infections using CRISPR interference. She’s interested in the potential use of microfluidic chips to observe sickle red blood cells and their effect on cardiac function. In her free time she enjoys reading and basketball.

 

Logan Soule received his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering with concentrations in Biomedical and Biochemical Engineering at Michigan State University in 2019. He primarily worked with biomaterials characterization and developed bioactive glass thin films for application as prostheses. Logan joined MSU’s Biomedical Engineering PhD program and Dr. Spence’s lab in the fall of 2019 where he has primarily been working on improving blood banking practices. He has designed, developed, and validated an automated glucose feeding device to maintain normoglycemic conditions throughout blood storage. Utilizing this system, Logan has performed many analytical biochemical measurements to monitor RBC functionality during normoglycemic storage. Additionally, he is a founding member of the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Student Association and now serves as the president, providing guidance and support for the graduate student body. Logan enjoy board games, video games, brewing, and hiking when he can.

 

Parker van Emmerik is a 1st year DO/Ph.D. student. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Biotechnology from Purdue University in 2021. Following graduation, he worked as a guest scientist at the Extremity Trauma & Amputation Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. His research focused on tissue regeneration following traumatic muscle loss. Parker joined Dr. Spence’s lab in the Spring of 2024. In his free time, Parker enjoys digital design, video games, and intramural sports.