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Back to: About the Clinical Center > Departments and Services > Radiology & Imaging Sciences Home > Imaging Sciences > Imaging Sciences Training Program
Radiology and Imaging Sciences
Imaging Sciences Training Program Fellows, 2010-2011

 


Fellow: Omer Aras, MD   
Mentor: Peter Choyke, MD

Biosketch:

Dr. Aras received his MD degree from Ankara University School of Medicine in Ankara, Turkey. He served a surgical internship at Oregon Health & Science University and completed both nuclear medicine (chief resident) and diagnostic radiology residencies at the University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore. His current research project involves development of multifunctional molecular probes to label T-cells for tumor immunology.

Research:

Dr Aras's research goals are: a) non-invasive whole-body image guided monitoring of CD8 + T cells in vivo; b) to develop a novel, sensitive method for accurate tracking of transferred cells with good anatomic detail; and to characterize and quantitate the accumulation of T cells in tumors following adoptive transfer in a simple murine model system; and c) to investigate molecules that regulates T-cell migration into and out of the bone marrow. As a first step, he was able to optimize a labeling protocol for T cells with an ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO). He is currently studying USPIO labeled, adoptively transferred tumor specific T cells in the B16-OVA/OT1 model system using MRI imaging.

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Fellow: Ulaş Bağcı, PhD, MSc, BSc   
Mentor: Daniel J. Mollura, MD, and David A. Bluemke, MD, PhD, MBA

Biosketch:

Ulaş Bağcı, PhD, MSc, BSc

Ulaş Bağcı, PhD, MSc, BSc

Dr. Bağcı is currently a ISTP post-doctoral research fellow under the supervision of Drs. Daniel J. Mollura and David A. Bluemke. Prior to joining the Infectious Imaging Lab, Radiology and Imaging Sciences, he was a Marie Curie Research Fellow in the Collaborative Medical Image Analysis Group at the University of Nottingham where he was awarded his PhD in April 2010. In 2009, he was a visiting research scholar in the Medical Image Processing Group at the University of Pennsylvania under the supervision of Prof. Jayaram K. Udupa. He received his BSc and MSc degree in the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department at Bilkent University, and in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Koç University, Turkey, in 2003 and 2005, respectively. He has received several awards including IEEE - Best Student Paper in the IEEE Conference on SIU, 2006, and an NIH ISTP Fellowship in 2010. His current research includes computer assisted diagnosis systems for infectious diseases, model based object recognition and delineation, 3D reconstruction of medical images, synergistic segmentation approaches, registration and tracking of medical images. He is a member of IEEE, SPIE, IAENG and BMVA.

Research:

Dr. Bağcı is primarily working in the Medical Image Processing field and is concerned with the research issues for developing automatic methods for computer assisted diagnosis systems (CAD). Although radiologists can now employ CAD systems to characterize malignancies, pulmonary fibrosis and other chronic medical conditions, such techniques have not yet been developed for the study of respiratory tract infections such as influenza or tuberculosis. The lack of CAD approaches may reflect the nonspecific radiographic features of these diseases, which make it impossible to reliably differentiate infection from inflammation or to achieve a specific etiologic diagnosis in the absence of laboratory data. Despite these limitations, CAD could make a valuable contribution to the management of respiratory tract infections by assisting in the early recognition of pulmonary parenchymal lesions, providing quantitative measures of disease severity and assessing the response to therapy.

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Fellow: Scott R. Burks, PhD   
Mentor: Joseph A. Frank, MD

Biosketch:

Scott R. Burks, PhD

Scott R. Burks, PhD

Dr. Burks received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of New Mexico in 2003. He earned his PhD in Medical Physiology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, under the direction of Dr. Joseph P.Y. Kao in 2009. His thesis research focused on targeted delivery of nitroxide molecular probes to HER2-positive breast tumors in vivo for high-contrast electron paramagnetic resonance imaging of lesions. He joined the ISTP in the laboratory of Dr. Joseph A. Frank in July 2009. His current research investigates the utility of high-intensity focused ultrasound as a non-invasive mechanism to target therapeutic stem cells to sites of disease.

Research:

Dr. Burks's research focuses on high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). HIFU exposures are normally applied as continuous sonic waves that produce extreme temperature elevations for ablation of blood clots, uterine fibroids, and solid tumors. Pulsed HIFU (pHIFU), however, deposits significantly less energy and emphasizes the mechanical effects of HIFU (e.g., cavitation and acoustic radiation forces). This results in minimal, non-lethal perturbation of exposed tissue. Dr. Burks is currently investigating the biochemical and molecular biological changes that accompany pHIFU exposures and have shown that they induce inflammation at the exposure site and significantly upregulate local expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors. He has demonstrated that pHIFU exposures lead to increased homing of intravenously-injected mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to treated tissue and is investigating the use of pHIFU as a non-invasive tool to direct the migration of MSCs to diseased tissues. His research utilizes a variety of in vivo imaging techniques (MRI, bioluminescence, ultrasound imaging) to guide therapy and monitor stem cell migration. Additionally, he employs histopathology and confocal microscopy, as well as an array of biochemical and molecular biological techniques to confirm imaging results and investigate molecular mechanisms.

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Fellow: Carmen Gacchina, PhD   
Mentor: Bradford Wood, MD

Biosketch:

Carmen Gacchina, PhD

Carmen Gacchina, PhD

Carmen Gacchina, PhD, received her undergraduate degree in Materials Science Engineering, with a minor in Biomaterials, from Michigan State University in 2006. She earned a PhD from the Clemson University-Medical University of South Carolina Bioengineering Program in August of 2010. Her dissertation work focused on cardiovascular tissue engineering, specifically biomaterial and growth factor-induced elastic matrix regeneration for the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). To realize these goals, she created rodent AAAs, optimized cell culture experiments for elastin matrix production and crosslinking, quantified and imaged extracellular matrix production, and designed a graft-based concept for local delivery of the elastogenic agents. These approaches are significant because they combine novel material and drug combinations for direct development of advanced AAA therapy. Dr. Gacchina has continued her translational research in novel drug and device combinations to improve local-regional therapies. In August 2010, Dr. Gacchina joined Dr. Bradford Wood's Lab in the Center for Interventional Oncology as an ISTP Fellow supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and Radiology and Imaging Sciences. Her current projects include animal models of clinical pathologies, biomaterials, image guidance, and local drug delivery.

Research:

Dr. Gacchina is involved in numerous interdisciplinary research projects. She is examining tissue perfusion and oxygenation following transarterial chemoembolization of liver tumors to develop a greater understanding of the effects of embolic particles on ischemia, drug delivery, and ultimate treatment efficacy. She is also assessing low temperature sensitive liposomes (LTSL) in combination with high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for local delivery of thrombolytics for the advancement of local, minimally-invasive therapy of thromboembolic diseases. Additionally, she is participating in the development and characterization of a porcine abdominal aortic aneurysm model for the assessment and improvement of stent-graft design. Dr. Gacchina's research interests and goals focus on animal models, biomaterials, drug delivery, and minimally invasive, image-guided therapies.

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Fellow: Hui Wang, PhD   
Mentor: Joseph A. Frank, MD

Biosketch:

Dr. Wang is currently an ISTP post-doctoral research fellow under the supervision of Dr. Joseph A. Frank. She received her MD in clinical medicine from the Fourth Military Medical University in Xi’an, China. Continuing her studies there, she received her PhD degree in molecular biology in 2004. During her doctoral training, she worked primarily on protein expression, purification, and protein biochemistry. In 2006, she joined Dr. Shawn Chen’s group in the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS) as a postdoctoral fellow and focused her research on molecular imaging of angiogenesis using protein-based probes, as well as tracking stem cell fate in vivo. Beginning in April 2009, she worked in Dr. Peter Conti’s laboratory at the University of Southern California as a Research Instructor, and later that year, also held a position at West China Hospital, Chengdu, China as an Associate Professor. In October, 2010, she became a member of the Laboratory for Molecular Imaging and Nanomedicine (LOMIN) where she continues her work on preparation of recombinant protein-based molecular imaging probes, monitoring tumor treatment response by molecular imaging technologies, and stem cell tracking.

Research:

Dr. Wang’s current research goals are: a) monitoring tumor treatment response with contrast enhanced ultrasound imaging; b) to enhance the homing capacity of mesenchymal stem cells by genetic modification or cell preconditioning; c) to develop mesenchymal stem cells based treatment for traumatic brain injury and to monitor the braining function recovery by molecular imaging technologies; and d) to improve neural stem cells viability in hostile environment.  She is currently studying how CXCR4/SDF-1α interaction regulates mesenchymal stem cells tropism to tumor by BLI imaging and PET imaging.

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Fellow: Homeira Zahiri, MD   
Mentor: Dima Hammoud, MD

Biosketch:

Homeira Zahiri, MD

Homeira Zahiri, MD

Dr. Zahiri earned her MD in 2002 at Tehran Azad University, after which she completed a research Post Doc fellowship at NHLBI, NIH in 2006, an internship (internal medicine) at Lenox Hill Hospital, in 2007 and a Nuclear Medicine residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2011. In July 2011, she joined the Imaging Sciences Training Program at NIH as a research fellow. Her primary research interests involve using nuclear medicine imaging techniques, especially PET/CT, in the evaluation of a variety of disease pathophysiologies, both intra and extracranially.

Research:

Dr. Zahiri's research focus is the application of PET/CT imaging in the field of infectious disease imaging and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). In her current projects, she is using a variety of novel PET radiotracers to assess the pathophysiology of bacterial infections in immunosuppressed patients as well as the brain pathology associated with Post Trauma Stress Disorders (PTSD) in TBI patients. Dr Zahiri is involved in all the research aspects of those protocols, including protocol drafting, experimental design planning, imaging and data analysis. Dr Zahiri is proficient in the use of different data analysis programs such as Pmod and MIM5.

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Fellow: Anna E. Zavodni, MD   
Mentor: David A. Bluemke, MD, PhD, MBA

Biosketch:

Dr. Zavodni completed her MD in 2005, general internship in 2006, and diagnostic radiology residency in 2010 at the University of Alberta and joined the Imaging Sciences Training Program in the summer of 2010. Her primary research interests involve the characterization of subclinical atherosclerotic disease with non-invasive imaging techniques and her projects involve cardiovascular MRI, CT and PET imaging.

Research:

Dr. Zavodni's main research focus is the non-invasive assessment of atherosclerotic disease. Her interests include using state-of-the-art MRI, CT and PET imaging techniques for the quantification of plaque burden in various vascular beds for the purposes of prognostic assessment and longitudinal follow-up. She is currently responsible for patient imaging for several studies including a trial of imaging versus traditional risk factor guided LDL targets for statin therapy, a study of atherosclerosis in patients with chronic granulomatous disease and several cardiovascular disease protocol development projects. She is activity involved in technique development, image interpretation and analysis. She is also evaluating cardiovascular disease in participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) to develop a better understanding vascular remodeling.

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This page last reviewed on 12/23/11



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