Current Trainees

Aaron Chiou
mentors: Sylvia Plevritis and Michael Longaker
(9/16/2020 - 9/15/2022)

Aaron Chiou is a postdoctoral fellow interested in applying quantitative tools to study spatiotemporal mechanisms of cancer progression. Aaron earned his Sc.B. in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University in 2014, and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University in 2020. Under the mentorship of Dr. Claudia Fischbach, his doctoral research focused on developing and utilizing spatially resolved approaches to investigate interactions between tumor cells and mineralized bone matrix relevant to skeletal metastasis of breast cancer. In 2018, Aaron received the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Predoctoral (F31) Fellowship from the National Cancer Institute. As a SCIT fellow, he will work with Dr. Sylvia Plevritis to characterize the tumor microenvironment during lung cancer progression using quantitative imaging and computational analysis.

Jessica McKay
mentors: Brian Hargreaves and Bruce Daniel
(7/16/2020 - 7/15/2022)

Jessica earned a B.S. (2014) in Physics from the University of Denver and a Ph.D. (2020) in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota where she performed research at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, mentored by Dr. Patrick Bolan. As a postdoctoral fellow in Stanford’s Department of Radiology, under the mentorship of Drs. Brian Hargreaves and Bruce Daniel, Jessica works toward technical developments of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for breast cancer. Her main goal is to improve the quality and resolution of breast diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), which she hopes will contribute to non-contrast breast cancer screening. In the age of “over-diagnosis” (better-termed “over-treatment”) of breast cancer, Jessica is also interested in exploring the role of breast DWI in treatment decision-making and disease monitoring. She plans to further translate these technological developments to other body regions that are often neglected due to their challenging nature to expand their clinical impact.

Michael Zhang
mentors: Heike Daldrup-Link and Gerald Grant
(12/1/2019 - 11/30/2021)

Michael is a 4th year neurosurgery resident with a primary interest in CNS tumor imaging and immunology. He studied health economics and global health as an undergraduate at Harvard (2008-2012). During this period and under the guidance of Professor Gregory Verdine, he used X-Ray crystallography to evaluate how a DNA glycosylase (MutM) interrogates damaged DNA base-pairs for removal. Michael subsequently came to Stanford for medical school, where he worked with Dr. Samuel Cheshier to study anti-CD47 induced phagocytosis in glioblastomas elimination. As a surgical trainee, he now continues various avenues of clinical research including CNS applications in radiosurgery, radiomics, and medical administrative databases. As an SCIT Fellow, he will specifically be working with Dr. Sanjiv Gambhir to develop potential immuno-PET tracers to characterize CNS immune-suppression.

Eduardo Somoza
mentors: Sandy Napel and Guido Davidzon
(9/16/2019 - 9/15/2021)

Eduardo received his B.S.E. (2010) and M.Sc. (2012) in Biomedical Engineering with a specialization in medical imaging at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.  In 2010, he was awarded the National GEM Consortium MS Engineering fellowship. After completion of his graduate degree, Eduardo worked as a research scientist at Johnson & Johnson Consumer and as an imaging scientist at Molecular Imaging Inc. In 2015, Eduardo enrolled at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC to focus on medical health disparities in low income communities and received his M.D. in 2019.  His main research interest is using medical imaging to address cancer health disparities in low income communities.

Masoud Badiei Khuzani
mentors: Lei Xing and Erqi Liu Pollom
(8/26/2019 - 8/25/2021)

Masoud Badiei Khuzani received the B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering (communication systems) from Tehran Polytechnic, Tehran, Iran, in 2011, and the M.Sc. degree from the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Waterloo, ON, Canada, in 2013. He received his Ph.D. degree in applied mathematics with the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA. His research interests include optimization on manifolds, distributed optimization, and information theory. In 2016, he received the IBM Ph.D. Fellowship.

Maxine Umeh
mentors: Melanie Hayden Gephart and Sylvia Plevritis
(8/26/2019 - 8/25/2021)

Maxine earned her B.S in Developmental Biology and MS in Quantitative and Systems Biology at UC Merced in 2010 and 2013, respectively. She earned her PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology with an emphasis in Translational Research from UC Davis in 2019. Her overarching research interest lies in elucidating molecular mechanisms of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), as there is a disproportionately higher frequency and poorer clinical outcome of TNBC in African-American women. Specifically, Maxine is interested in using bioinformatics and computational tools, including quantitative imaging techniques, to enhance TNBC diagnosis and treatment. Her previous research focused on identifying novel molecular mechanisms and signaling axes that could serve as therapeutic targets for the treatment of TNBC, using microRNAs and dead-Cas9 technology. As a SCIT postdoctoral fellow, Maxine will work with Dr. Melanie Hayden Gephart, a brain tumor neurosurgeon, to study TNBC metastasis to the brain.