Aiyana Fortin


B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, University of Vermont, 2021

M.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University, 2024 | Twitter: @FortinAiyana







Arthritis is a debilitating joint disease affecting 1 in 4 people in the U.S. While disease-modifying therapeutics are available for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), there are no therapeutics equally effective for treating osteoarthritis (OA). Our objective is to efficiently deliver these RA drugs using a targeted delivery vehicle for extended total joint retention, leveraging the C’ Dot nanoparticle technology developed at Cornell. With this technology and protected IP, we will found a start-up company for the continued development of C’ Dots and related technologies for the treatment of arthritis and inflammatory joint diseases.

Our team’s combined expertise in arthritis (Larry Bonassar, PhD), materials (Uli Wiesner, PhD), and veterinary  medicine (Heidi Reesink, VMD, PhD) will be leveraged to push this promising technology to the cutting edge of intra-articular osteoarthritis therapeutics.


  • Ulrich B Wiesner, Lawrence J Bonassar, Aiyana G Fortin. Nanoparticles for Imaging and Treatment of Arthritis and Inflammatory Joint Diseases. US Patent Application 63/444,372, filed Feb 9, 2023.

Posters and Presentations

  • Aiyana G Fortin, Erica Secor, Nada Naguib, Ulrich B Wiesner, PhD, Heidi L Reesink, VMD, PhD, Lawrence J Bonassar, PhD. Extended intra-articular presence of fluorescent C’ Dot nanoparticles in naive and arthritic rat knee joints. ORS Conference, Feb 2024. Poster Presentation.
  • Aiyana G Fortin, Nada Naguib, Erica Secor, Heidi L Reesink, VMD, PhD, Ulrich B Wiesner, PhD, Lawrence J Bonassar, PhD. Extended intra-articular presence of fluorescent C’ Dot nanoparticles in naive and arthritic rat knee joints. BMES Conference, Oct 2023. Oral Presentation.
  • Aiyana G Fortin, Ulrich B Wiesner, PhD, Lawrence J Bonassar, PhD. C’ dot nanoparticles as a therapeutic delivery vehicle for osteoarthritis. Ignite Innovation Showcase, May 2023. Poster Presentation.
  • Aiyana G Fortin, Nada Naguib, Ulrich B Wiesner, PhD, Lawrence J Bonassar, PhD. Functionalization of C’ dot nanoparticles with collagen-II targeting peptide reduces effective diffusivity in healthy articular cartilage. ORS Conference, Feb 2023. Poster Presentation.
  • Aiyana G Fortin, Cameron Erber, Cassandra L Roberge, David T Corr. The effect of crosslinking ion and concentration on swelling in laser direct-write alginate microbeads. BMES Conference, Oct 2019. Poster Presentation.


  • Cassandra L Roberge, PhD, David M Kingsley, PhD, Lexie R Cornely, PhD, Connor J Spain, PhD, Aiyana G Fortin, David T Corr, PhD. Viscoelastic properties of bioprinted alginate microbeads compared to their bulk hydrogel analogues. Journal of Biomedical Engineering, ASME, 2023.

Honors, Awards, and Training Programs

  • Cornell’s Life Sciences Technology Innovation Fellow, 2024-25 cohort
  • Regional NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps), Spring 2024
  • WE Cornell (Women Entrepreneurs at Cornell), Fall 2023
  • Ignite Innovation Acceleration, Fall 2022 & Fall 2023
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, Fall 2023 – Spring 2026
  • Ignite Innovation Acceleration, Spring 2022
  • Cornell University Fellowship, 2021

Mentored Students

  • Avdhesh Vermani, Chemical Engineering Master’s student. “C’ dot nanoparticles for Osteoarthritis: Therapeutic delivery of the anabolic growth factor IGF-1 in bovine articular cartilage.” Fall 2023-present.
  • Zongyin Dong, undergraduate research assistant. “Optimized design of particle-based systems for arthritis therapeutic delivery.” Fall-2023-present.
  • Antonio Garces, undergraduate research assistant. “Chondrocyte uptake and intracellular trafficking of C’ dots.” Spring 2023-present.
  • Emily D’Angelo, undergraduate research assistant. “Cartilage and chondrocyte localization of C’ dots.” Summer 2023 & Spring 2024.
  • Abigail Loucks, M.S., rotating PhD student. “Cartilage diffusion and chondrocyte localization of targeted C’ dots.” Spring 2023.


Aiyana grew up in Mt. Holly, Vermont and attended the University of Vermont where she received an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering. At UVM, Aiyana pursued undergraduate research in hydrogels and materials engineering. She worked and later managed student employees at the UVM FabLab, assisting engineering and art students with a variety of design course and research projects. Aiyana served as the President of the graduate BMES Chapter at Cornell in 2023. She enjoys playing with her beagle, Callie, as well as baking, cycling, horseback riding, and photography.