MRTD Laboratory Team
In the clinical translation process, technology discovery is achieved through the collaboration between two separate yet equally important key teams: The biomedical engineers, who develop and validate new technologies, and the physicians, who evaluate these discovered medical techniques.
Keigo Kawaji, Ph.D. Principal Investigator at IIT
Dr. Kawaji (Dr. K), a Biomedical Engineer, holds the title of Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). He is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Magnetic Resonance Technology Discovery Lab, which was first founded as the technical research arm of the University Hospital's Cardiac Imaging Center's MRI program in 2014, and later also worked extensively with the Neuro MRI research group to develop novel techniques in the brain in 2015.
In January of 2018, the MRTD lab formally became part of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, with expanded research goals in achieving unique and important scientific work that requires both engineering and medicine expertise.
Amit R. Patel, MD. Key Physician Collaborator at the University of Chicago
Dr. Patel, a Cardiologist, holds the title of Associate Professor of Medicine and Radiology at the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC). He directs the Cardiovascular MRI Program at the UCMC.
Dr. Patel has previously helped found the MRTD lab (2014-2017) at the UCMC, which was first established as the technical research arm under his Cardiovascular MRI program in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Patel continues to support the MRTD Laboratory research efforts as the primary physician collaborator. He regularly offers key physician insights to help the MRTD engineers and their overall research efforts. See here for Dr. Patel's Twitter account.
Marcella K. Vaicik, Ph.D. Co-Principal Investigator (Tissue Engineering Lab) at IIT
Dr. Vaicik, a Tissue Engineer and Biomaterials Expert, holds the title of Research Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). She is the Principal Investigator of the Tissue Engineering Lab at IIT, and co-advises the BME students in MRTD lab who receive joint training in medical imaging (Dr. Kawaji), in clinical mentorship (Dr. Patel), and tissue engineering (Dr. Vaicik).
Dr. Vaicik is an expert of advanced engineering methods for both adipose tissues and the myocardium. Some of her research interests lie in the quantitative aspects of these tissues for imaging-based assessments - with multi-modal imaging expertise including microscopy, and now MRI, she is working closely with the team towards developing diagnostic and therapeutic applications and disease characterization methods for conditions including Heart Failure.
Ning Shirakawa, MBA. MRTD Lab Advisor (Entrepreneurship and Binational Education Programming)
Ms. Ning Shirakawa, an education innovator-entrepreneur, is an official collaborator in the capacity of senior advisor to help us navigate the complexity of binational education programs such as ours in Chicago. She is the co-founder of Taktopia & Co. a bi-national organization that promotes Japanese student engagement including STEM-based study abroads with US-based partners including us.
Her singular efforts in Japan over the past have helped our lab secure key partnerships including Japanese government ministries and JSPS applications. Ms. Shirakawa is leading several major binational education-based projects, and her mission aligns with ours. This has led to collaborative meetings with her other program parters, several invited talks for our group to the Japanese audience, and a realistic outlook on future summer programs with Japan for 2019 and beyond.
Current Members, Visiting Students, and Lab Alums
Kohei Matsumoto, MA - Public Policy 2016, UofC; Currently a PhD student (Business-Marketing) at UIC
Kohei has been a member of MRTD group at the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) since September of 2015, while he pursued a MA degree in Public Policy (Grad 2016). He is currently a PhD student in Marketing at the University of Illinois - Chicago (UIC), and is studying the market proliferation of healthcare technologies. Kohei still collaborates with MRTD for his analysis of large healthcare market datasets.
Nanyque Boyd - BME-ECE Co-Term '19 at IIT. Graduate Student; Clinical Immersion fellow '18 (IIT)
Nanyque is a co-terminal BME-ECE student who joined the MRTD lab in March of 2018. She is further advancing her recently completed ENGR 599 clinical immersion research on mathematically optimized methods that further improves a highly specialized non-Cartesian MRI sampling acquisition approach for applications in cardiac and neuro imaging.
Jacob (Jake) Goes, BS ('18 from NIU) - BME Graduate student; MS-PhD program (IIT)
Jacob (Jake) is a BME MS-PhD student who joined the MRTD lab in August of 2018. Prior to joining IIT, he received an EE BS with BME concentration from Northern Illinois University in May 2018. In the MRTD Lab, Jake's research interests lie in the technical development and evaluation of novel instrumentation to facilitate superior MRI techniques in the clinical hospital setting.
Blessing Obioma, BS (‘17 from UIC) . BME Graduate student; MS program (‘19)
Blessing is a BME MS student who joined the MRTD lab in December of 2018. She is first studying research methods under Dr. Kawaji towards building her foundations for her eventual Masters Thesis project through the AHA Challenges program coordinated by Drs. Vaicik and Kawaji. Her current research focuses are in the application of software systems methods to automate calibration steps in patient MRI exams.
2018 Research Student and Writing Program Organizers
Austeja Staneviciute - BME '19 at IIT. Undergraduate research student (Primary Advisor: Dr. Vaicik)
Eric Cunningham - BME '19 at IIT. Undergraduate research student; Clinical immersion fellow '18 (Primary Advisor: Dr. Vaicik)
Asma Shuaibi - BME '20 at IIT. Undergraduate Research Student; Spring 2018 Armour College PURE research fellow.
Akila Goel - BME '20 at IIT. Undergraduate research student; Academic Writing Workshop Coordinator '18.
AHA IIT-Challenges Program Spring 2019 Program Participants:
Elizabeth Bremer - BME '20 at IIT. American Heart Association IIT-Challenges Program Fellow 2019.
Wallace Burns - BME '21 at IIT. American Heart Association IIT-Challenges Program Fellow 2019.
Nanjeeba Chowdhury - BME '21 at IIT. American Heart Association IIT-Challenges Program Fellow 2019.
Madison Davis - BME '20 at IIT. American Heart Association IIT-Challenges Program Fellow 2019.
Mark Dhom - BME '20 at IIT. American Heart Association IIT-Challenges Program Fellow 2019.
Fei Mo - BME '20 at IIT. American Heart Association IIT-Challenges Program Fellow 2019.
Alexander Julian - BME '20 at IIT. American Heart Association IIT-Challenges Program Fellow 2019.
Ruth Negru - BME '20 at IIT. American Heart Association IIT-Challenges Program Fellow 2019.
Eoin Sode - BME '20 at IIT. American Heart Association IIT-Challenges Program Fellow 2019.
Jeja Lina Wu - BME '20 at IIT. American Heart Association IIT-Challenges Program Fellow 2019.
Shanxiu Xu - BME '19 at IIT. American Heart Association IIT-Challenges Program Fellow 2019.
Yung-Chuan (William) Yang - BME '20 at IIT. American Heart Association IIT-Challenges Program Fellow 2019.
Visiting Students (Research Experience for Undergraduates; Visiting Graduate Exchange)
Sarah Schroeder - BioE '20 at Washington State University. Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) '18. (Primary Advisor: Dr. Vaicik).
Sarah spent the summer of 2018 working in the tissue engineering lab, where her REU research role was to synthesize, measure, and quantitate the properties of plant-based tissue to simulate healthy (i.e. normal myocardium) and diseased (i.e. chronic heart failure) tissue of the heart. She has successfully submitted an abstract to the BMES conference in Oct. 2018.
Karolena (Lena) Lein - BME '20 at Arizona State University. Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) '18. (Primary Advisor: Dr. Cinar).
Karolena (Lena) spent the summer of 2018 working for Dr. Ali Cinar in the PMMC Lab, where her REU research project was to develop a healthy volunteer study that examined physiologic response changes to external visual stimuli. She has successfully submitted an abstract to the BMES conference in Oct. 2018.
Madison (Madi) Moucka - BME (4+1) '20 at Texas A&M University. Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) '18. (Primary Advisor: Dr. Papavasiliou).
Madison (Madi) spent the summer of 2018 working for Dr. Georgia Papavasiliou in The Polymeric Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Lab, where her REU research role was to synthesize, measure, and characterize the properties of hydrogels with specific controlled released properties. She has successfully submitted an abstract to the BMES conference in Oct. 2018.
Yudai Suzuki, BS - ECE MS (2019) at Gifu University - Japan. Exchange Research Student.
Yudai hails from Gifu University Japan, where he is completing a MS degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, focusing on the application of Deep Neural Network (DNN)-based methods for image reconstruction in Dynamic cardiac MRI techniques. Primarily affiliated with the Hayamizu-Tamura Lab (asr-lab) in Japan, He is visiting IIT for the summer of 2018 between June and August.
Graduate Lab Alums
ALUM '18: Neal Patel, MAE - BME/ECE 2018, IIT. Spring 2018 ACE MIND fellow
Current Position: Clinical Project Manager, Epic System
Neal is a co-terminal BME-ECE MAS '18 graduate. He joined the MRTD lab in January of 2018, completing a BMES abstract through his Armour College of Engineering MIND fellowship (Project on ECV map motion error compensation via confidence maps), which was accepted for a poster presentation at the BMES 2018 Annual meeting. After graduating from IIT in 2018, he is currently a Clinical Project Manager at Epic System based in Madison, WI.
The MRTD Lab is currently recruiting several Undergraduate (BS) and MS students to join our lab at IIT for this academic year.
At the present moment, there may be a potential PhD position opening for Fall 2019.
See a list of projects here for more details on these positions.
ALUM '15: Sui-Cheng Wang, MS - BME 2015, Northwestern University
Current position: Lead Cardiac MRI Applications Engineer, Philips (2018.09)
Sui-Cheng completed a 9-month research rotation in MRTD (Sept 2014-May 2015), where she successfully defended her MS thesis on her work that was published in the premier technical MRI journal: Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (MRM). After graduating from the BME MS program at Northwestern University in 2015, she has worked as an Applications Engineer for the MRI team at Philips Healthcare in Best, The Netherlands.
Undergraduate Lab Alums
ALUM: Sze Lam Or - BME '19 at IIT. Undergraduate research student; Clinical immersion fellow '18. (Joint Co-Advised by Drs. Vaicik and Kawaji) Accepted Position at Pfizer.
ALUM: Amreen Nasreen - BME '20 at IIT. Undergraduate research student; Clinical immersion fellow '18. (Joint Co-Advised by Drs. Kawaji and Vaicik) Transitioned her summer research experience to a position in Bhushan Lab.
IIT-Biomedical Engineering Investigators
MRTD's mission is to educate future biomedical engineers through unique research that advance both society and humanity. From the biomedical imaging perspective, this goal is achieved through strong intra-departmental collaboration with cell and tissue engineers who develop new biologically inspired materials and seek to validate novel approaches using MRI, and also with neuroscience/neuroimaging engineering experts who benefit from MRTD's unique techniques when applied to the brain.
MRTD's immediate goal is to lead an effort in developing an engineering research portfolio that addresses unique challenges such as heart motion, quantitative imaging of physiologic biomarkers, and novel biomedical instrumentation. Several unique student projects are immediately available to BME students at IIT.
UCMC-Cardiac Imaging Center
The Cardiac Imaging Center - or the globally well-established 'Echo Lab', has some notable firsts, including the pioneering efforts in developing the 3D echocardiography technology widely used around the world today.
The CMR program in the Cardiac Imaging Center has a team of seven clinical faculties and 3-5 imaging fellows each year, and ongoing MRTD support across the two Chicago campuses to conduct advanced imaging protocols in both pre-clinical and clinical settings.
MRTD continues its strong collaboration with the Cardiac Imaging Center, which embeds biomedical engineers into the clinical hospital setting at UCMC. This provides physicians choice opportunities to explore and pursue new research with IIT's biomedical engineers.
UCMC-NeuroMRI group - Carroll Lab
Dr. Timothy Carroll, Ph.D. at the University of Chicago Medical Center, leads the Neurovascular MRI research group to detect and address diseases in the brain, including ischemic stroke. He is a key collaborator in the technical development and pre-clinical evaluation of several MRI techniques which MRTD had previously supported since 2015.
Key lab member collaborators in Carroll Lab: Charles (Grady) Cantrell, Ph.D.; Dallas Turley, Ph.D.; and Alexey Dimov, Ph.D.
UCMC-Cardiothoracic Surgery group - Ota Lab
Dr. Takeyoshi Ota, MD Ph.D. at the University of Chicago Medical Center, leads several AHA and NIH-funded research projects with us as collaborators. We are able to conduct sophisticated tissue engineering and imaging experiments to assess heart failure disease with Dr. Ota’s team.
Northwestern Medicine Clinical Collaborator - Dr. Akhil Narang, MD (Cardiology)
Dr. Akhil Narang, MD. is a cardiologist with advanced imaging expertise at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago. A former Cardiology and Advanced Imaging fellow at the University of Chicago Medical Center (2015-18), Dr. Narang is an expert in multiple cardiac imaging modalities and approaches, including Cardiac MRI, Echocardiography, and CT. Since August 2018, he has been building his own program as an independent attending physician and investigator at the Feinberg School of Medicine at the Northwestern Downtown campus, he continues to collaborate with the MRTD laboratory in both research and student career development.
With a prior engineering degree in BioE, Dr. Narang is an MD physician who is also familiar in the fundamentals of working as an engineer in the clinical hospital setting. With Dr. Kawaji, the principal investigator of the MRTD lab, Dr. Narang hopes to advise BME students in the MRTD lab in key aspects of the clinical sciences, including how Biomedical Engineers serve a critical role in the Clinical Hospital Setting.