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Meet our Team

CFF Group Picture


Genevieve Dion, Director

Geneviève Dion, MID

Director, Pennsylvania Fabric Discovery Center
Director, Center for Functional Fabrics
Founder, Shima Seiki Haute Tech Lab
Professor, Design, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Affiliate Faculty, Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering

Geneviève Dion is an award-winning designer with an extensive background in bespoke clothing and industrial design. Her research focuses on identifying production methods that advance the field of smart fabrics to create textile devices. Textile devices are complex systems that blend modes of communication, diagnostics, and functional technologies into unobtrusive fabrics. Dion founded the Shima Seiki Haute Technology Laboratory, a state of the art knitting facility dedicated to the design and prototyping of smart and technical textiles. Dion works with transdisciplinary teams to integrate electronics into textiles and to research versatile production methods that are mass customizable. Our fabric production knowledge instills materials scientists and engineers with a new sense of how to design new materials to be integrated into the textile fabrication process so that they are compatible with large-scale manufacturing. 

Professor Genevieve Dion: Collaborations that Spark New Industries and Change Lives


PA FDC Staff

Chelsea Amanatides

Chelsea Amanatides, PhD

Textile Fabrication Engineer
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Recipient
PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, Drexel University
BS, Sustainable Materials & Design, Drexel University

Chelsea loves to explore how changes in textile architecture affect the resulting properties and behaviors of a fabric. She is passionate about sustainable design and understanding the impact of manufacturing process on our environmental resources.  As a textile fabrication engineer, she programs and manufactures textile structures, experiments with yarn twist effects, and characterizes textile properties. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time outdoors, and a variety of crafts, including hand knitting and house renovations.


Andrea Blando

Andrea Blando

Executive Assistant 

Andrea Blando is a versatile, results-oriented professional with over 15 years of experience providing administrative leadership and an unparalleled level of customer service. Andrea has also worked as a CRM systems administrator to build custom Salesforce solutions, train staff, and create problem solving within the platform. Andrea is certified as of April of 2015.

Ms. Blando has grown up in the local Philadelphia area and holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Management from Widener University in Chester, PA. In her free time, Andrea likes to travel and enjoys eating out as well as entertaining friends and family at home.

Leighton Cline

Leighton Cline, MS

Testing & Fabrication Engineer  

Leighton’s background is rooted in materials science, inventing and engineering prototyping.  Prior to joining the PA FDC, he performed research in nanomaterials and defect engineering for conductive polymers, as well as providing invention and prototyping services to industry clients including Fortune 500 companies.  His professional focus is furthering sustainability through developing functional materials and improving processes.  As a testing & fabrication engineer, he works to perform characterization and failure analysis on the Center’s textiles and yarns, in addition to designing and building hardware for micro-scale textile production and testing.  In his personal life, he enjoys mountaineering, backpacking and building and playing synthesizers.


Patrick Doran

Patrick Doran, MBA

Business Development Manager

Patrick’s career has focused on entrepreneurial non-profit management, focusing on increasing earned income to carry out and sustain an organization’s mission. At the PA FDC, he assists the Director in developing the overall strategy of the PA FDC, creating new partnerships and developing new markets. A native of Philadelphia, he recently moved back after 24 years in North Carolina, where he was a business owner and served in leadership roles in several organizations in the field of Community Development Finance, making loan capital available to underserved business owners. He enjoys doing things outdoors and playing piano.


Christina Kara

Christina Kara

Operations Project Manager
BS, Drexel University

Christina has spent the last 15 years working in a variety of roles in both state government and higher education research institutions. As operations project manager, Christina leverages both her considerable research administration experience and enthusiasm for textiles to support advanced textile innovation. In her free time, she enjoys textile crafts (the old-fashioned way), traveling, and playing drums.


Maria Kim

Maria Kim, MDes

Communications Coordinator

Maria comes from a writing and design background and has worked in higher education for the past 10 years supporting minority STEM students. She has been involved in documentation, graphic design, branding and public relations. As communications coordinator, she helps pique others’ curiosity as to how functional fabrics can seamlessly fit into our everyday life and how the transdisciplinary approach transforms the research process. She’s a fan of exploring (travel, discovering new corners of Philly), thrifting and spicy food.


Sol Schade

Sol Schade

Textile Fabrication Engineer

Sol enjoys spending his time with the knitting machines at the PA FDC. He comes from a background in civil engineering and textile art and was thrilled to find a field full of tiny, soft architectural problem spaces. When he’s not programming and talking to textile fabrication equipment, he’s usually on a bike or working on a quilt.



Richard Vallett

Richard Vallett

PhD Candidate, co-advised by Youngmoo Kim
BS, Mechanical Engineering, Drexel University
MS, Mechanical Engineering, Drexel University

Richard received his doctoral degree from Drexel University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, advised by both Music Entertainment Technology Lab (MET-lab) and CFF. Richard served as a teaching assistant in the Mechanical Engineering department, courses included statics, dynamics, basic fluid mechanics, control systems, product design and development and freshman engineering design lab. He also advised many undergraduate student groups on various mechanical and electrical design projects. Richard’s primary research interests include robotics, control systems, dynamics, microcontrollers and smart textile fabrication. Richard is currently working on developing textile capacitive touch sensors at CFF for applications towards humanoid robot sensing and wearable technologies.


CFF Graduate Students

Ariana Levitt

Ariana Levitt

National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
PhD Candidate, Materials Science and Engineering, co-advised by Yury Gogotsi
BS, Fiber Science, Cornell University

Ariana is a fourth-year PhD candidate working on developing conductive fiber, yarn and fabric electrodes for wearable energy storage devices. She pursues this research in two labs, the CFF, advised by Professor Genevieve Dion and the Drexel Nanomaterials Institute, advised by Professor Yury Gogotsi. More specifically, she works on incorporating a new family of two-dimensional materials, MXenes, into fiber-based architectures for 3D knitted energy storage devices. Her main research interests include fiber spinning, computer-aided knitting and smart textile development. She has presented her research internationally, giving talks at conferences and universities in China and Korea and spending two months at the Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin University in Australia pursuing collaborative research. Outside of the lab, Ariana is actively involved with Drexel’s graduate community. She previously served as Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Graduate Student Association (GSA) and as president of the Materials Science graduate organization (MAGNET), and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the GSA.


Simge Uzun, Graduate Student

Simge Uzun

PhD Candidate, co-advised by Yury Gogotsi
MS, Fiber & Polymer Science, Cornell University
BS, Textile Engineering, Istanbul Technical University

Simge is a PhD candidate working towards designing and producing scalable and functional wearable devices with applications in energy storage and sensors by incorporating a new family of two-dimensional materials called MXenes into yarn and fabric structures. Her goal is to contribute to the development of functional textiles through teaching, research and collaboration while considering the sustainability, wearability, washability and comfort aspects of the produced smart yarns and fabrics during manufacturing. Simge’s earlier work during her master’s investigated in-situ X-ray study of the deformation mechanisms of nonwoven aramids using the synchrotron at Cornell University. During her free time, she enjoys exploring new countries and restaurants.


Undergraduate Co-ops

Eli Eisenman

Eliezer Eisenman

Business Process Specialist Co-op
Design and Merchandising Student (Minor in Business Administration), Drexel University

Originally focused on the menswear industry, Eli has spent much of his time at Drexel University studying the future of technology integrated with fashion. To extend his skills in the business sector, Eli took on a minor in Business Administration. As a Business Process Specialist, Eli works with Andrea, Maria and Patrick to assist with the everyday and long-term business operations of the Center for Functional Fabrics. In his free time, Eli enjoys reading, studying new fashion, playing volleyball and table tennis.


Grant Farabaugh

Grant Farabaugh

Technology Manufacturing Assistant Co-op
Mechanical Engineering Student, Drexel University

Grant is a second year Mechanical Engineering student. He enjoys working with machines and learning how they work. He hopes to advance his understanding of smart fabrics production and integration through his co-op position at the Center for Functional Fabrics. In his free time, Grant loves skateboarding and skiing.



Julia Fenton

Julia Fenton

Technology Manufacturing Assistant Co-op
Electrical Engineering Student, Drexel University

Julia spent her first co-op working at Crane Payment Innovations in the cost reduction and sustaining team. At the Center for Functional Fabrics, she is able to apply her knowledge of electrical engineering to the field of textiles, aiding in further research. In her free time, Julia likes to skateboard and explore new areas of Philly.



Amanda Hipple-Bornhorn

Amanda Elizabeth Hipple-Bornhorn

Textile Manufacturing Assistant Co-op
Electrical Engineering Student, Drexel University

Amanda is a junior in the Electrical Engineering program at Drexel who is absolutely thrilled to be working at the Center for Functional Fabrics. Amanda's main academic areas of interest are astronomy, signal processing, cryptography, non-Euclidean geometry and physics. In her free time, she enjoys bookbinding, calligraphy, painting and playing with her cat. In the future, Amanda hopes to pursue a career in research and obtain a PhD.



Lev Saunders

Lev Saunders

Junior Manufacturing Assistant Co-op
Computer Engineering Student, Drexel University

Lev worked remotely over the summer for CHOP as a research informatics assistant working on the Arcus Program. He has always had a deep interest in computers and their real-world applications and wanted hands-on experience with the engineering process. At the Center for Functional Fabrics, Lev is excited to work on computational solutions to the unique challenges posed by functional fabrics. In his free time, Lev enjoys cooking and baking as well as listening to music and going to new restaurants with friends. 


Ibim SoibiHarry

Ibim Soibiharry

Textile Manufacturing Assistant Co-op
Mechanical Engineering Student, Drexel University 

‚ÄčIbim has always been interested in textiles, sourcing fabric for the apparel brand, Wedonotbelong, since 2018. As a mechanical engineer with an avid interest in fashion, Ibim is always looking for places where these two worlds intertwine. At the Center for Functional Fabrics, he is able to see real-time interactions between both fields and the advancements engineering lends in the fashion world. In his spare time, Ibim also loves to crochet and play around on Adobe Photoshop.


Jacob Wong

Jacob Wong

Junior Manufacturing Assistant Co-op
Computer Engineering Student, Drexel University

With a diverse skillset, Jacob has taken on roles such as a mechanical, electrical and computer engineer in order to tackle his recent co-op experiences. Starting at a Naval robotics lab and entering the commercial RFID scene, he quickly developed an aptitude for the R&D environment. Extending that to the present day, Jacob is again in a research and development position at the Center and working on advancing a variety of projects. Outside of the Center, Jacob is an avid fencer, dancer and gamer with the occasional pass at playing guitar and saxophone.



Student Alumni

Amani Alexander

Entrepreneurship & Retail, Drexel University

Chelsea Amanatides

National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Recipient
PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, Drexel University
BS, Sustainable Materials & Design, Drexel University

Luke Coleman

Student, Biomedical Engineering, Drexel University

Emma Dietz

Student, Product Design, Drexel University

Grandin Hammell

Student, Electrical Engineering Technology, Drexel University

Kristy Jost

Senior Product Development Engineer at 3M Department of Defense
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellow
PhD, Materials Engineering, Drexel University
BS, Fashion Design, Drexel University

Carly Kandler

BS, Design & Merchandising (minor in International Economics)

Michael Koerner

DMD, student at Kornberg School of Dentistry, Temple University
MS, Biomedical Engineering, Drexel University
BS, Biomedical Engineering, Drexel University

Alexander Morris

Student, Business & Engineering Student, Drexel University

Camren Randleman

Student, Fashion Design, Drexel University

Amy Stoltzfus

BS, Fashion Design (minor in Fine Arts), Drexel University

Shivansh Suhane

Student, Computer Science, Drexel University

Keith Taylor

BS, Mechanical Engineering (minor in Product Design), Drexel University