Our Team

Michelle James, PhD

Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor of Radiology and Neurology & Neurological Sciences


Dr. James is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Radiology and Neurology, within the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS). She received her BS in pharmacology and medicinal chemistry at the University of Sydney, where she also earned her PhD in radiochemistry/neuropharmacology and was awarded the prestigious University Medal. For nearly fifteen years, Dr. James’s research has focused on developing and evaluating novel molecular imaging agents to improve the way we diagnose, treat, and understand brain diseases. In particular, she is interested in designing new positron emission tomography (PET) radioligands for visualizing the neuroinflammatory component of Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke with the goal of learning about the in vivo role, spatiotemporal dynamics, and different functional phenotypes of specific innate and adaptive immune cells in the very early stages of these diseases and throughout their progression. Dr. James is also very interested in applying these tools to: track disease progression, guide therapeutic selection for individual patients, and serve as surrogate endpoints in clinical trials. Dr. James has multiple patented radioligands for imaging neurological diseases, three of which are currently being evaluated in humans.

Israt Alam, PhD

Senior Research Scientist


About Israt: Dr. Israt Alam is a Research Scientist in the Department of Radiology at Stanford University in Prof. Michelle James' lab. Her research focuses on studying lymphocyte activation with the motivation of developing non-invasive imaging tools, to monitor immune dynamics in response to immunotherapy and for diagnosis of immune driven diseases. Her work has supported the clinical translation of several nuclear imaging agents for early disease diagnosis and prediction of treatment response for improved patient management.

Aisling Chaney, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow


About Aisling: Aisling is a postdoctoral fellow in the James Lab. Aisling grew up in Dublin, Ireland, where she received her BA. Mod. in Neuroscience from Trinity College Dublin. She then located to the UK where she obtained a MRes in experimental physiology, drug discovery and Bio-imaging from Imperial College London, and a PhD in neuroscience and neuroimaging from the University of Manchester. Aisling's research focuses on developing and evaluating imaging techniques to enhance understanding of the role of neuroinflammation in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, stroke and multiple sclerosis.

Isaac Jackson

Graduate Student


About Isaac: Isaac is working towards a dual MD/PhD in the medical scientist training program, and is a graduate student in the James lab. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in chemistry, where he also trained as a radiochemist for 4 years. Isaac is involved in multiple projects applying PET imaging of inflammatory biomarkers to various disease states, and for his PhD hopes to focus on the development of novel small molecule PET radiotracers for immune imaging within the CNS. Isaac aims to earn a PhD in chemistry and go on to specialize in pediatric radiation oncology: His life plan is to make good drugs, and make sick kids feel better. When he isn’t in lab or clinic, Isaac enjoys indoor rock climbing and spending time with his siblings.

Sydney Nagy

Undergraduate Researcher


About Sydney: Sydney will be working with Aisling to learn about image analysis and she is especially excited to learn how to visualize and track neurodegenerative diseases. She plans to study Human Biology with a concentration in neuroscience. In her spare time, Sydney practices aerial and contortion, loves cycling around this lovely area, repairing bikes, and working on environmental sustainability initiatives!


Post-dog-toral Fellow

About Lancelot: This lovely blind old chap entered into our lab in January 2018, and makes the perfect grant writing companion. At present, he is focusing his considerable energy on the development of a spatial orientation package that will allow him to completely map out metabolic pathways leading to the supply of puppy goodies hidden somewhere near Dr. Aisling Chaney’s desk. Outside the lab, Lancelot enjoys naps and long walks on the beach.

Carmen Azevedo

Lab Manager & Research Assistant


About Carmen: Carmen is a Research Assistant and Lab Manager in the James Lab. Carmen grew up in a small town outside Chico, CA and earned her B.A. in Biochemistry from Oberlin College in 2015. In addition to learning immunology and neuroscience and helping everyone in lab, Carmen is developing PET imaging markers involved in multiple sclerosis. In her free time, Carmen spends as much time outside as possible running, cycling, hiking, and backpacking through the hills, coasts, and mountains of California.

Mackenzie Carlson

Graduate Student


About Mackenzie: Mackenzie is a bioengineering PhD student in the James and Zeineh labs. She's from the Land of 10,000 Lakes and 10,000,000 Mosquitoes, and she graduated from Dartmouth College in 2017 where she studied astrophysics and optical imaging. Between Dartmouth and Stanford, she worked in a hyperpolarized gas MRI lab. Her current research interests are in developing translational PET and MR imaging tools for neurodegenerative diseases. Mackenzie's primary hobbies are road running, trail running, and track running, but you may also spot her drinking Trader Joe's pumpkin spice coffee (year-round) or going to church.

Audrey Luo

Undergraduate Researcher


About Audrey: Audrey is excited to be working with Isaac to learn all about PET imaging and radiotracer design, especially within the CNS. She plans to study Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior with a minor in English at UC Davis. In her free time, Audrey can be found swimming, exploring cool places to film, or hanging out with her cat Momo!

Samantha Reyes

Research Assistant


About Samantha: Samantha Reyes graduated from UC Irvine in 2013 with bachelors' degrees in both biology and chemistry. She has studied the sigma-1 receptor (sciatica) and the GABA-A receptor (fragile x syndrome). Samantha specializes in in vivo imaging utilizing PET, CT and MRI, as well as performing pharmacokinetic PET studies. She also performs a variety of molecular biology techniques such as autoradiography, histology, western blots and PCR.  She has a passion for molecular imaging and is interested in expanding her knowledge of neuroscience and pharmacology. In her spare time, Samantha loves to travel and experience new cultures, and express her creativity through cooking.


Post-dog-toral Fellow

About Juni: Juniper "Juni" James joined the James family and lab summer 2020. She is a miniature Dachshund and loves running outside and making mischief. 

Lab Alumni

  • Katie Lucot, PhD, Postdoctoral scholar (2017 - 2020) - Postdoctoral scholar, Department of Pathology at Stanford
  • Marc Stevens, PhD, Postdoctoral scholar & Wallenberg Fellow (2017 - 2020) - Pharmacist at Swedish Poisons Information Centre
  • Poorva Jain, Research Assistant (2018 - 2020) - MD/PhD student at the University of Miami
  • Anouskha Rao, high school intern (2019) - Stanford University undergraduate student
  • Haley Cropper, Research Assistant + Lab Manager (2014 - 2019) - MD/PhD student at the University of Chicago 
  • Anjali Biswal, high school intern (2018) - undergraduate student at UC Berkeley
  • Emily Johnson, Research Assistant (2015 - 2018) -  Clinical Research Assistant in the Department of Anesthesiology at Stanford 
  • Niki K, intern (2017) - Neuroscience PhD at the University of Colorado 
  • Bethel Habte, intern (2014 - 2017) -  Global Health Corps Fellow, Communications and Development Coordinator of the Boys & Girls Club of Newark
  • Lauren Andrews, MD, Research Assistant (2011 - 2014) - Resident at the University of Pittsburgh 
  • Deepika Bodapati, Intern (2009 - 2010) - Founder of  Athelas