The five 2024 Siebel Scholars pose for a photo as a group outdoors on campus.
The 2024 class of Siebel Scholars from Johns Hopkins University are (from left) Inez Lam, Paul Sargunas, Sarah Neshat, Sixuan Li, and Fan-En Chen

Sixuan Li, a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been named a 2024 Siebel Scholar, an honor that recognizes students in bioengineering fields for exemplary achievement in academia, research, and leadership.

Since its founding in 2000, the Siebel Scholarship has been awarded to 75 Johns Hopkins graduate students. Each year, around 100 scholars are selected from leading graduate schools to join a community of nearly 2,000 researchers, scholars, and entrepreneurs. Recipients receive a $35,000 award to support their final year of studies. Additionally, they are invited to attend annual conferences to discuss global issues alongside heads of state, scientists, and other experts seeking solutions to the world’s most complex and pressing problems.

Advised by Jeff (Tza-Huei) Wang, Sixuan’s research focuses on developing and applying innovative methods in the single-molecule analysis, particularly focusing on nucleic acids, proteins, and nanoparticles. His multidisciplinary approach draws from biophysics, chemistry, optics, and engineering to push the boundaries of scientific knowledge. His work has been published in journals including Nature Communications, Analytical Chemistry, Lab on a Chip, and Small Methods, and he holds a patent on the characterization of nanoparticles.

Looking ahead, Li envisions the establishment of CICS Analytics, a startup company that leverages single molecule fluorescence spectroscopy and cutting-edge toolkits to provide comprehensive analyses of therapeutic nanoparticles. He is committed to developing more effective and safer nanomedicines and advancing the field of cell and gene therapy.

Another advisee of Professor Wang’s, Fan-En Chen, a PhD candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, was also recognized as a 2024 Siebel Scholar. Chen focuses on the development of decentralized antimicrobial susceptibility testing through the use of point-of-care devices. By combining her expertise in analytical assay design with her engineering knowledge, Chen is developing a highly multiplexed detection for sexually transmitted diseases. Her work has resulted in six first-author and 13 co-authored publications, along with three patents and seven conference presentations.

Outside the lab, she served as president of the Taiwanese Student Association at Johns Hopkins and currently is co-president of the Graduate Consulting Club. Addressing a career information gap for Taiwanese life scientists, Fan-En co-founded a podcast, leading a team of 11 scientists. The podcast has over 60 episodes with more than 100,000 downloads