Current Trainees

Irene Lim, PhD

Program Area: In Vivo Molecular Imaging

Mentors: Jianghong Rao, PhD and Craig Levin, PhD
SMIS Fellowship: (1/16/2023 - 1/15/2026)

Irene received her Ph. D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2022. Her graduate work focused on developing chemical tools to study perfluorocarbons in living systems. She developed a palette of fluorous-soluble polymethine fluorophores, loaded nanoemulsions, and used fluorescence imaging to gain a deeper appreciation for how chemical changes to nanoformulations impact the biodistribution in mice. Under the mentorship of Prof. Jianghong Rao at Stanford, she plans to extend this interdisciplinary work towards understanding the immune response in tumors using PET and shortwave infrared fluorescence imaging.


Hieu Thi Minh Nguyen, PhD

Program Areas: In Vivo Molecular Imaging, Including Cell Tracking

Mentors: Guillem Pratx, PhD and Ramasamy Paulmurugan, PhD
SMIS Fellowship: (1/1/2023 - 12/31/2025)

Hieu received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Her Ph.D. research focused on optical-based interventions for early-stage cancer detection and therapy, including work with fiber-based spectroscopy devices for tumor resection guidance and application of ns high-energy laser pulse to induce immunogenic cell death in breast cancer cells. At Stanford, she is currently developing methods for tracking single cells in vivo with PET under the mentorship of Prof. Guillem Pratx.


Angelie Rivera Rodriguez, PhD

Program Areas: In vivo molecular imaging, Cell Tracking and Molecular Imaging Studies of Tumor Immunology/Biology

Mentors: Kathy Ferrara, PhD and Michelle James, PhD
SMIS Fellowship: (9/1/2022 - 8/31/2025)

Angelie received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Florida. During her graduate studies, she worked on the application of magnetic nanoparticles for cancer treatment and as an imaging tracer for T cell tracking using Magnetic Particle Imaging. For her postdoctoral training, she is working with Dr. Katherine Ferrara and Dr. Michelle James to develop ionizable lipid nanoparticles for the in vivo delivery of imaging biomarkers to immune cells for PET T cell tracking in tumor animal models.

Emily Cosco, PhD

Program Areas: Chemistry of Molecular Probes and In Vivo Molecular Imaging, Including Cell Tracking

Mentors: Matthew Bogyo, PhD and Eben Rosenthal, MD
SMIS Fellowship: (8/1/2021 - 7/31/2024)

Maly received her PhD in Chemistry from UCLA in December 2020. In her PhD research, she developed long wavelength absorbing and emitting polymethine fluorophores and nanomaterials for deep tissue optical imaging. Alongside new chemical tools, she established a method for multicolor in vivo imaging, excitation multiplexing with shortwave infrared (1,000–2,000 nm) detection. At Stanford, Maly is working on covalently targeted imaging agents for precise tumor detection under mentorship from Prof. Bogyo. 

Parivash Moradifar, PhD

Program Areas: Molecular Imaging Instrumentation and Computations and Therapeutic Applications of Molecular Imaging, including Cancer Immunotherapy and Theranostics

Mentors: Jennifer Dionne, PhD and Craig Levin, PhD
SMIS Fellowship: (8/1/2021 - 7/31/2024)

Parivash received her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering in 2020 from Pennsylvania State University (PSU) under guidance of Prof. Nasim Alem. During her PhD she worked on modulation, characterization, and nanoscale visualization of plasmonic responses in 3D extended metalattice nanostructures and 2D topological insulator heterostructures as next generation plasmonic platforms. She used a range of in-situ electron microscopy techniques combined with low-loss electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) and atomic resolution scanning/transmission electron microscopy (HRSTEM) to identify the impact of physical and chemical tunning pathways including strain, defects, interconnectivity, and structural confinement on plasmonic enhancements. At Stanford, she is working with Prof. Jennifer Dionne and Prof. Craig Levin and she is interested in developing new nanophotonic metamaterial platforms and multimodal microscopies for next-generation cancer medical imaging and diagnostics. 

James Wang, PhD

Program Area: Tumor Immunology/Biology

Mentors: Katherine Ferrara, PhD and Sylvia Plevritis, PhD
SMIS Fellowship: (9/16/2019 - 9/15/2021; 9/1/2022 - 8/31/2023)

James received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from University of California San Diego. During his PhD work, he worked on silica hollow particles as theranostic agents for cancer. Using perfluorocarbon filled silica hollow particles, James developed an image guided ultrasound mechanical ablation method that converts immunosuppressive glioblastoma tumors into immune active tumors, favorable for enhancing the efficacy of checkpoint blockade therapies. Additionally, James also developed gadolinium oxide nanoparticles for high sensitivity MRI imaging. The surface chemistry of these nanocrystallines are optimized to create increased MR signal at much lower gadolinium concentration, beneficial for imaging tumor vasculature structures. At Stanford, he will work with Prof. Ferrara on tumor thermal ablation with immunotherapy.