U1-Research 2F Microscope Lab-Grad-hero

Current Biophysics Students

Zachary Boyd


Mentor: Eric Paulson, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2017
Previous Education: Milwaukee School of Engineering, BS, Biomedical Engineering (2017)
Research Interest: My primary area of research interest is developing a method to provide biologically adaptive radiation therapy for oncology patients, based on quantitative imaging techniques. The ultimate goal of this research is to provide a more personalized and responsive treatment for oncology patients based on reproducible, quantitative data.

Ethan Duwell


Mentor: Edgar DeYoe, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2015
Previous Education: St. Olaf College, BA, Chemistry and Philosophy (2013)
Research Interest: My research interests include visual attention, conscious awareness, and conscious experience. I am currently pursuing these interests in the DeYoe lab, where we study visual attention both behaviorally and neurophysiologically via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The DeYoe lab develops novel fMRI paradigms to map brain patterns of attention-related activity and then uses mathematical models to explore the effects of attention on visual processing and other behaviors. The overall goal is to understand the brain mechanisms responsible for visual perception, attention, and awareness, ultimately providing tools for diagnosis and treatment of brain-related vision and attention deficits.

Alex Helfand


Mentor: Jeffrey Binder, MD
Year Entered MCW: 2016
Previous Education: Boston University, BA, Psychology (2012); MS, Medical Science (2014)
Research Interest: I am interested in the neural networks that mediate behavior, especially the processing of external stimuli in order to plan and execute a response. I am particularly interested in the neural networks mediating motivated behaviors and reward valuation. I am also interested in studying the biological bases for human communication (verbal and written).

Samantha Kohn


Mentor: Jimmy Feix, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2014
Previous Education: Carroll University, BS, Chemistry (2013)
Research Interest: The Feix lab focuses on the structure, conformational dynamics, and membrane interactions of ExoU, a key virulence factor of Pseudomonas aeruginosa that is strongly correlated with a poor clinical outcome. ExoU is a 74 kDa phospholipase that requires noncovalent interaction with ubiquitin for activity. Membrane binding of ExoU is enhanced by the phospholipid inositol-(4,5)-bisphosphate; however, the liposome binding mechanism, the liposome binding domain(s), and the role of ubiquitin in liposome binding remain unknown.  We are investigating these molecular processes using a combination of biochemical and biophysical methods.

Seung Yi Lee


Mentor: Matthew Budde, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2016
Previous Education: The Catholic University of Korea, BS, Chemistry (2012); Pennsylvania State University, MS, Chemistry (2015)
Research Interest: My research is to identify MRI biomarkers to diagnose spinal cord injury severity. The research utilizes animal models to screen for and develop novel MRI-based methods to detect injury.

Sean McGarry


Mentor: Peter LaViolette, PhD, MS
Year Entered MCW: 2015
Previous Education: Milwaukee School of Engineering, BS, Biomedical Engineering (2015)
Research Interest: My research interests involve structural imaging in brain cancer. I actively work in radiomics, a field of study dedicated to extracting quantitative imaging features from a medical image to produce a mineable database of radiological features with clinical relevance. Radiomic features are hypothesized to capture phenotypic differences within a tumor and have prognostic power. Through the combination of magnetic resonance imaging and ex vivo histology, cellular and genetic information regarding the patients tumor can be linked to macroscopic in vivo images. 

Nikolai Mickevicius


Mentor: Eric Paulson, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2013
Previous Education: Milwaukee School of Engineering, BS, Biomedical Engineering (2013)
Research Interest: My main area of interest is in developing real-time simultaneous multislice MRI pulse sequences and image reconstruction algorithms for managing patient motion during MRI-guided radiation therapy treatment fractions. 

Daniel Olson


Mentor: L. Tugan Muftuler, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2013
Previous Education: Marquette University, BS, Biomechanical Engineering and Physics (2013)
Research Interest: My research is in diffusion-weighted imaging with emphasis on diffusion kurtosis tensor imaging (DKTI). We have applied DKTI to quantify the extent and severity of acute physiological changes following sport-related concussion.

Jaiqing (Tony) Tong


Mentor: Jeffrey Binder, MD
Year Entered MCW: 2016
Previous Education: Fenyang Collage, Shanxi Medical University, BS, Clinical Laboratory Technician (2012); School of Basic Medicine, Shanxi Medical University, MS, Physiology (2015)
Research Interest: My research explores how neurons code the information of language learning.

Zhan Xu


Mentor: Shi-Jiang Li, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2012
Previous Education: Beijing Jiaotong University, BS, Biomedical Engineering (2007)
Research Interest: My research focuses on improving the BOLD (blood-oxygen-level dependent) contrast in the fMRI application, as well as on improving the repeatability of the fMRI signal. To improve the contrast-to-noise ratio and repeatability, the most accepted approach is to increase acquisition duration. However, this method is not efficient enough, and motion artifacts usually become more severe during longer periods of data acquisition. As such, I am developing a new method, named the spatial compensated intro-shot turbo keyhole (SCITH) method. This multi-echo imaging technique aims to improve contrast within the same scan duration as is used in the current fMRI acquisition approach. The SCITH method is developed first at the 3T platform, but it can easily be transferred to the 7T platform. The conventional multi-echo approach is hard to implement due to the fast T2* decay at a strong magnetic field of 7T, but the SCITH method is capable of reducing the echo time interval between echoes as low as 6 ms that break the readout time limitation.