Meet the Team


Elizabeth Erickson-DiRenzo, PhD, CCC-SLP
Associate Professor
Laboratory Director

Dr. Elizabeth DiRenzo is a clinician scientist with a subspecialty interest in the behavioral assessment and treatment of laryngological disorders. She completed her undergraduate and clinical graduate degrees at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana specializing in speech-language pathology. Following her clinical degrees, she remained at Purdue and earned a PhD in laryngeal physiology. She then completed postdoctoral training in the Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying vocal fold biology.

Clinically, Dr. DiRenzo is a practicing speech-language pathologist in the Stanford Voice and Swallowing Center. Her specific interests include the behavioral evaluation and treatment of patients with voice, resonance, upper airway, and swallowing disorders. In addition, she aims to advance patient care and improve treatment outcomes through study of both normal laryngeal function and the pathophysiology of voice disorders. To achieve this overarching objective, Dr. DiRenzo’s laboratory utilizes a highly collaborative, multifaceted approach consisting of basic science and clinical research techniques. Outside of work, she prioritizes spending time outdoors enjoying the beautiful California terrain with her husband Dan and their children Lucas and Clara.


Patrick Kiessling, MD
OHNS Resident

Patrick Kiessling is an Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery resident at Stanford in the R-25 funded research track. After receiving his bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, he completed medical school at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in Rochester, MN. He is interested in understanding the pathogenesis and clinical effects of wildfire smoke exposures to the upper airway in pediatric and adult patient populations. He enjoys continuing to pursue singing opportunities, hiking around the Bay Area, baking, and spending time with his husband, Alex, and their dog, Eliza. 


Amirbahador Golchin, MD
Visiting Scholar

Amirbahador Golchin earned his medical degree (MD) from Guilan University of Medical Sciences (GUMS) in Iran. Beside working as a clinician, he pursued his research interest in otolaryngology field and during his time in medical school and after, he worked on numerous clinical projects with its focus on laryngology, rhinology, and head and neck surgery. Along with his clinical research, he has taken several courses to expand his basic science research skills. In June 2023, he joined Dr. DiRenzo’s voice research lab and his current research aims to enhance the understanding of inhalalon toxicity effect on the transcriptome of upper airway cells. Outside of work, he is a cinema enthusiast and he enjoys traveling in his free time.


Meena Easwaran, MS
Research Associate

Meena received her bachelor's degree in Biotechnology from Anna University, India in 2013. She then received her master's degree in Medical Sciences from University of Florida, Gainesville, USA in 2015. During her Masters, she obtained the Young Investigator Award from the European Atherosclerotic Society (EAS) for her research on establishing the role of major periodontal microbial pathogens in induction of atherosclerosis in LDLR-/- mice.  Upon completion of her degree, she worked in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Texas, USA. She also worked in the Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA. She then joined the DiRenzo lab in the Department of Otolaryngology at Stanford University in 2016. She is also a member of the Kim lab at the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford since 2020.  

At Stanford, she developed skills related to inhalation toxicity testing using tobacco and e-cigarette products. She is an expert in designing and conducting these exposures, primarily in vivo (mice) for assessing toxicity within the larynx and other regions of the upper airways. She is extending this work to evaluate the toxic effects of tobacco and e-cigarette products in the cardiovascular system, specifically in transgenic mice. Her areas of expertise also include rodent (mouse) colony management, animal husbandry, microbiology, molecular biology, histology, immunostaining, microscopy, and image/data analysis.  Her current research interests focus on utilizing various bioinformatic tools on exploring genomic data.  Outside of work, Meena loves exploring food from various cuisines, enjoys singing (trained in Indian classic music for >15 years), hiking and reading crime/mystery books. 


Mohammed Imran Khan, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar

Mohammed Imran Khan did his Ph.D. in Molecular Oncology Laboratory (Clinic of Oncology) at the Military Institute of Medicine, Warsaw, Poland. His thesis work explored the renal cell carcinoma cancer stem cell identification, characterization, and comparing gene expression profiling isolated from primary and metastatic sites. In 2018 he moved to Canada to pursue his first postdoctoral training in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Western University, London, Ontario. The focus of his research training was studying the genomic basis of anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) progression and head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). In October 2021, Imran joined the DiRenzo Voice Research Lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery at Stanford University. His current research focuses on studying the effects of e-cigs vaping on the development of laryngeal health issues in adolescents and investigating key biological responses to vapor exposure in the epithelium of the larynx at a single-cell resolution. When not in the lab he enjoys hiking, tennis, volleyball, amateur boxing with other postdocs, and going on fun outings with friends. He loves filming traveling videos to capture amazing places on earth.


Joshua Martinez, MS
Research Associate

Joshua is a Life Science Technician who completed his undergraduate studies in animal biotechnology at the University of California, Davis (UCD). He went on to earn a Professional Science Masters at California State University, Sacramento where he studied Stem Cell Biology and contributed to laboratory research at UCD focused on bioengineering laryngotracheal tissue. He joined the DiRenzo Lab in 2018 and focuses on in-vitro modeling, histologic and microscopic imaging techniques to investigate the effects of inhaled toxicants on the cells and tissues of the upper airway. His manuscript “Effects of Electronic (E)-cigarette Vapor and Cigarette Smoke in Cultured Vocal Fold Fibroblasts” was published in The Laryngoscope in 2022. Outside of lab he enjoys roller skating, bicycling, hiking, and traveling.  


Joanne Soo, MD
Postdoctoral Scholar

Joanne is a current Stanford otolaryngology resident on the R25-funded research track. She is interested in understanding the pathogenesis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) with the goal of identifying genomic markers for clinical risk and prognostic stratification, early detection, and treatment personalization. Her research is focused on determining how NSD1 mutation contributes to the development of HNSCC. In her free time she enjoys traveling, karaoke, hosting themed dinners, and anything related to animals (e.g. zoos, aquariums, playing with other people's pets since she can't convince her allergic husband to let her get a pet of her own).


Akari Kimura, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Akari Kimura is an Otorhinolaryngologist involved in treating laryngeal and tracheal diseases. She performed surgery for patients with vocal cord polyps, Reinke’s edema, laryngeal cancer, and vocal cord paralysis in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Kitasato University and National Defense Medical College in Japan. Along with her clinical research focused on laryngology, her basic research theme focused on elucidating of the mechanism of tracheal mucosal disease and extracellular signal regulated kinase using mouse model of tracheal stenosis. She earned her PhD degree in March 2022 at Kitasato University. In November 2022, she joined Dr DiRenzo’s Voice Research Lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Her current research focuses on creating laryngeal injured mouse model and establishing the method of ALI culture of laryngeal epithelial cells.

In her free time, she likes watching movies and traveling abroad. Recently, she has been studying world history and heritages with enthusiasm and got a qualification of World Heritage Academy Certified Instructor.

Lab Gallery

DiRenzo Lab