Current Trainees


Elise Robinson, PhD

Program Areas: In Vivo Molecular Imaging, Including Cell Tracking and Molecular Imaging Studies of Tumor Immunology/Biology

Mentors: Kathy Ferrara, PhD and Ramasamy Paulmurugan, PhD
(8/16/2021 - 8/15/2022)

Elise received her PhD in Bioengineering from Stanford University. During her graduate studies, she worked on PET imaging strategies for early cancer detection, including tumor-targeted delivery of PET reporter genes. For her postdoctoral training, she is working with Dr. Katherine Ferrara and Dr. Ramasamy Paulmurugan to develop ionizable lipid nanoparticles as molecular imaging agents for tumor-targeted delivery.


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
(8/1/2021 - 7/31/2022)

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
(8/1/2021 - 7/31/2022)

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
(9/16/2019 - 9/15/2021)

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.


Brian Lee, PhD

Program Areas: Imaging Instrumentation and Clinical Translational Imaging

Mentors: Jeremy Dahl, PhD and Joe DeSimone, PhD
(7/16/2019 - 7/15/2022)


Brian began his SMIS fellowship in July 2019. He received his MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. For his PhD research, he designed and developed a PET insert for simultaneous PET/MR in Molecular Imaging Instrumentation Lab (Radiology). During his first postdoctoral training, he worked with Dr. Gambhir on a Smart Toilet system for continuous monitoring of human excretion for early cancer detection. Brian, in his second postdoctoral training, is now working with Dr. DeSimone on developing advanced 3D printers for achieving a cancer vaccine delivery platform for immunotherapy. Molecular imaging modalities will be used to track immune cells for the assessment of systemic and intracellular delivery.