MIPS seminar series, IMAGinING THE FUTURE, aimed at catalyzing interdisciplinary discussions in all areas of medicine and disease.

This seminar series is open and free to everyone in the Stanford community, as well as anyone from the surrounding community, universities, companies, or institutions.

Refreshments will be served immediately following the seminar. 


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

1:00pm - 2:00pm

Berg Hall A-C, Li Ka Shing, Stanford

Journey Through Academia, Government and Industry: Lessons Learned

Elias Zerhouni, MD

Professor Emeritus
Johns Hopkins University

In a career that spanned academia as a physician scientist, government as director of the NIH and then president of R&D for a global pharmaceutical company I share my experience and lessons learned on the way. While different in essence, academia, government and industry have symbiotic and complementary roles. The geopolitics of Research and development across the globe will be presented and their implications for biomedicine will be discussed along with the key emerging trends shaping the research agenda in the years to come across the changing landscape of healthcare. Personal advice on how best to navigate one’s career in these different environments will be shared.



All lectures will take place in Berg Hall at the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, Stanford, unless otherwise stated. 

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Berg Hall, LKSC, Stanford

291 Campus Dr
Stanford, CA 94305
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Hosted by

This seminar series is hosted by Dr. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir and the Department of Radiology, Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford.

Past Events

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

1:00pm - 2:00pm

Berg Hall A-B, Li Ka Shing, Stanford

World of CRISPR: Editing Genomes and Altering Our Future

Jennifer Doudna, PhD

Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Li Ka Shing Chancellor's Professor in Biomedical and Health
University of California, Berkeley

As an internationally renowned professor of Chemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology at U.C. Berkeley, Doudna and her colleagues rocked the research world in 2012 by describing a simple way of editing the DNA of any organism using an RNA-guided protein found in bacteria. This technology, called CRISPR-Cas9, has opened the floodgates of possibility for human and non-human applications of gene editing, including assisting researchers in the fight against HIV, sickle cell disease and muscular dystrophy. Doudna is an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Inventors and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is also a Foreign Member of the Royal Society, and has received many other honors including the Kavli Prize, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Heineken Prize, the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award and the Japan Prize. She is the co-author with Sam Sternberg of “A Crack in Creation”, a personal account of her research and the societal and ethical implications of gene editing.

Event Photos

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

1:00pm - 2:00pm

Berg Hall A-B, Li Ka Shing, Stanford

Scientific Solutions to the Opioid Crisis

Nora Volkow, MD
Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)/NIH

Nora D. Volkow, M.D., became Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health in May 2003.  NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. 

Dr. Volkow’s work has been instrumental in demonstrating that drug addiction is a disease of the human brain.  As a research psychiatrist and scientist, Dr. Volkow pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the toxic effects and addictive properties of abusable drugs.  Her studies have documented changes in the dopamine system affecting, among others, the functions of frontal brain regions involved with motivation, drive, and pleasure in addiction.  She has also made important contributions to the neurobiology of obesity, ADHD, and aging.

Dr. Volkow was born in Mexico, attended the Modern American School, and earned her medical degree from the National University of Mexico in Mexico City, where she received the Robins award for best medical student of her generation.  Her psychiatric residency was at New York University, where she earned the Laughlin Fellowship Award as one of the 10 Outstanding Psychiatric Residents in the USA.

Dr. Volkow spent most of her professional career at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton, New York, where she held several leadership positions including Director of Nuclear Medicine, Chairman of the Medical Department, and Associate Director for Life Sciences.  In addition, Dr. Volkow was a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Associate Dean of the Medical School at the State University of New York (SUNY)-Stony Brook.

Dr. Volkow has published more than 600 peer-reviewed articles and written more than 90 book chapters and non-peer reviewed manuscripts, and has also edited three books on neuroimaging for mental and addictive disorders.

During her professional career, Dr. Volkow has been the recipient of multiple awards.  In 2013, she was a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (Sammies) finalist; and she was inducted into the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) Hall of Fame.  She was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine in the National Academy of Sciences and received the International Prize from the French Institute of Health and Medical Research for her pioneering work in brain imaging and addiction science.  She has been named one of Time Magazine’s “Top 100 People Who Shape Our World” and was included as one of the 20 people to watch by Newsweek magazine in its “Who’s Next in 2007” feature.  She was also included in Washingtonian Magazine’s 2015 list of the “100 Most Powerful Women” and named “Innovator of the Year” by U.S. News & World Report in 2000.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

1:00pm - 2:00pm

Berg Hall A-B, Li Ka Shing, Stanford

Precision Medicine in Cancer Prevention and Screening

Douglas Lowy, MD - Deputy Director, NCI/NIH

Douglas Lowy, M.D., is the Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Lowy previously served as NCI’s deputy director, helping lead NCI’s key scientific initiatives since 2010.

A cancer researcher for more than 40 years, Dr. Lowy received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Obama in 2014 for his research that led to the development of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. As chief of the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology in the Center for Cancer Research at NCI, Lowy’s research includes the biology of papillomaviruses and the regulation of normal and neoplastic growth. His laboratory, in close collaboration with John T. Schiller, Ph.D., was involved in the initial development, characterization, and clinical testing of the preventive virus-like particle-based HPV vaccines that are now used in the three U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved HPV vaccines.

Dr. Lowy is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), as well as the Institute of Medicine of the NAS. For their pioneering work, Lowy and Schiller have received numerous honors in addition to the National Medal, including the 2011 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award and the Federal Employee of the Year Award in 2007 from the Partnership for Public Service.

Lowy received his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine, New York City, and trained in internal medicine at Stanford University, California, and dermatology at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

1:00pm - 2:00pm

Berg Hall A-B, Li Ka Shing, Stanford

From Discovery to Curing Cancer:

the 30 Year Odyssey of the T Cell Zeta Chain

Richard D. Klausner, MD - Co-Founder and Director, Juno Therapeutics

In the War on Cancer, Dr. Rick Klausner has been described (by Norman Shwarzkopf) as “The General”. He held numerous influential positions such as Director of the National Cancer Institute, Chief Strategy Advisor at USAid and Executive Director, Global Health at the Gates Foundation. Speaking this week in Tel Aviv, Rick was pragmatic. “We won’t cure cancer. It is many different diseases. However, we now have the tools to dramatically decrease cancer mortality”.

In 2013, he cofounded Juno Therapeutics, building on his earlier research. Using patient stem cells, cells are genetically engineered outside of the body. When re-introduced to the body, these can recognize and destroy the cancer cells. The results have been extraordinary, with success rates above 90%. The company now has 600 employees and a market cap of $4.63 billion. “Cancer learns to turn off the immune system. We have begun to learn how to turn it back on”.

The second project, Grail, does not aspire to CURE cancer. Leveraging Illumina’s sequencing technology, where Rick served the last two years as Chief Medical Officer, the company is developing a simple blood test to screen for a variety of cancers. It is led by Jeff Huber and backed by $100 million from Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Google Ventures and other elite investors.

“The holy grail in cancer is to find it early, when it is curable". The blood test detects circulating nucleic acids in the cancer cells for a direct measurement that is highly accurate.

Once the treatment begins, it takes around ten days for the tumors to leave the body. "I asked patients to describe the feeling of having these heavy tumors leave the body. The analogy several told me was 'it is like ice melting'.

Rick was in Israel as Executive Chairman of Wisdo, an Israeli startup leveraging the crowd to extract step by step timelines of a myriad of life challenges, from a diagnosis with an illness. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

1:00pm - 2:00pm

Berg Hall A-B, Li Ka Shing, Stanford

High Performance Medicine

Eric Topol, MD - Founder and Director, Scripps Research Translational Institute

Eric Topol is the Founder and Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute (SRTI), Professor, Molecular Medicine, and Executive Vice-President of Scripps Research, As a researcher, he has published over 1200 peer-reviewed articles, with more than 200,000 citations, elected to the National Academy of Medicine, and is one of the top 10 most cited researchers in medicine (Thomson Reuters ISI, “Doctor of the Decade”). His principal scientific focus has been on the genomic and digital tools to individualize medicine—and the power that brings to individuals to drive the future of medicine.

In 2016, Topol was awarded a $207M grant from the NIH to lead a significant part of the Precision Medicine (All of Us) Initiative, a prospective research program that aims to enroll 1 million participants in the US. Prior to coming to lead Scripps SRTI in 2007, for which he is the principal investigator of a flagship $35M NIH CTSA grant, he led the Cleveland Clinic to become the #1 center for heart care and was the founder of a new medical school there. He has been voted as the #1 most Influential physician leader in the United States in a national poll conducted by Modern Healthcare. Besides editing several textbooks, he has published 2 bestseller books on the future of medicine: The Creative Destruction of Medicine and The Patient Will See You Now. His new book Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Health Care Human Again, will be published in early 2109.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

1:00pm - 2:00pm

Berg Hall A-B, Li Ka Shing, Stanford

Biomaterials and Cell Therapy and How They Can Change Our Lives

Robert S. Langer, PhD - David H. Koch Institute Professor, MIT

Robert S. Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor (there are 13 Institute Professors at MIT; being an Institute Professor is the highest honor that can be awarded to a faculty member).  Dr. Langer has written more than 1,400 articles.  He also has over 1,260 issued and pending patents worldwide.  Dr. Langer’s patents have been licensed or sublicensed to over 300 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device companies.  He is the most cited engineer in history (h-index 240).

He served as a member of the United States Food and Drug Administration’s SCIENCE Board, the FDA’s highest advisory board, from 1995 -- 2002 and as its Chairman from 1999-2002. 

Dr. Langer has received over 220 major awards.  He is one of 4 living individuals to have received both the United States National Medal of Science (2006) and the United States National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2011).  He also received the 2002 Charles Stark Draper Prize, considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for engineers, the 2008 Millennium Prize, the world’s largest technology prize, the 2012 Priestley Medal, the highest award of the American Chemical Society, the 2013 Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and the 2014 Kyoto Prize.  He is also the only engineer to receive the Gairdner Foundation International Award; 83 recipients of this award have subsequently received a Nobel Prize.  In 2015, Dr. Langer received the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.  Among numerous other awards Langer has received are the Dickson Prize for Science (2002), Heinz Award for Technology, Economy and Employment (2003), the Harvey Prize (2003), the John Fritz Award (2003) (given previously to inventors such as Thomas Edison and Orville Wright), the General Motors Kettering Prize for Cancer Research (2004), the Dan David Prize in Materials Science (2005), the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2005), the largest prize in the U.S. for medical research, induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (2006), the Max Planck Research Award (2008), the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research (2008), the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize (2011), the Terumo International Prize (2012) and the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science (2016).  In 1998, he received the Lemelson-MIT prize, the world’s largest prize for invention for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.”  In 1989 Dr. Langer was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, and in 1992 he was elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and to the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2012 he was elected to the National Academy of Inventors.


Forbes Magazine (1999) and Bio World (1990) have named Dr. Langer as one of the 25 most important individuals in biotechnology in the world.  Discover Magazine (2002) named him as one of the 20 most important people in this area.  Forbes Magazine (2002) selected Dr. Langer as one of the 15 innovators world wide who will reinvent our future.  Time Magazine and CNN (2001) named Dr. Langer as one of the 100 most important people in America and one of the 18 top people in science or medicine in America (America’s Best).  Parade Magazine (2004) selected Dr. Langer as one of 6 “Heroes whose research may save your life.”  Dr. Langer has received honorary doctorates from Harvard University, the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Yale University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Gerstner Graduate School, the University of Maryland, University of Western Ontario (Canada), the ETH (Switzerland), the Technion (Israel), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), the Universite Catholique de Louvain (Belgium), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Willamette University, the University of Liverpool (England), Bates College, the University of Nottingham (England), Albany Medical College, Pennsylvania State University, Northwestern University, Uppsala University (Sweden), Tel Aviv University (Israel), Boston University, Ben Gurion University (Israel), Carnegie Mellon University, Drexel University, Hanyang University (South Korea), University of New South Wales (Australia), Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Hong Kong), the University of Limerick (Ireland) and the University of California – San Francisco Medal.  He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University in 1970 and his Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974, both in Chemical Engineering.