The Focused Ultrasound Foundation established the Young Investigator Awards Program to encourage quality research by clinicians and scientists-in-training and to support their presentation of meritorious scientific papers at major venues such as the International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound.

Graduate students, research fellows, clinical fellows and junior faculty members are eligible to apply for the awards, which include complimentary event registration and up to an additional $2,000 in reimbursement for travel and lodging expenses.

 
Pavlos Anastasiadis, PhD

Awarded for: Towards a model of FUS-mediated blood-brain barrier disruption in non-enhancing, glioma-invaded brain regions for testing improvements in therapeutic delivery [YI-7/P-YI-7] 

Pavlos Anastasiadis joined the Translational Focused Ultrasound Research Laboratory in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2016. The lab, under the directorship of Victor Frenkel, Ph.D., is part of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation-Designated Center of Excellence at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. His research efforts make up a key component of the lab’s mandate to develop focused ultrasound-based procedures. His projects include the use of MRgFUS for targeted delivery of therapeutics, cancer immunotherapy for the treatment of brain tumors, and the delivery of cellular-based therapies. He was previously a Fellow of the German Research Foundation, the Max-Planck Foundation, and the Fraunhofer Foundation. Prior to moving to Maryland, he worked at the National Cancer Institute-Designated University of Hawaii Cancer Center. Currently, as an NIH T32 Cancer Biology Fellow, he is associated with the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center. His NIH T32 advisory committee is composed of Victor Frenkel, Ph.D., Graeme F. Woodworth, M.D., Joseph A. Frank, M.D., Eduardo Davila, Ph.D., and Jeffrey A. Winkles, Ph.D. Pavlos is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the International Society for Electrical Bioimpedance, the Acoustical Society of America, the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound and the German Society for Cell Biology. 

  
Kamyar Firouzi, PhD

Awarded for: Efficient transcranial ultrasound delivery via excitation of lamb waves [YI-5/P-YI-5]

Kamyar Firouzi received his MS degree in mechanical engineering from University College London (UCL), London, U.K., in 2010, and PhD degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA, in 2016. For his doctoral dissertation, he focused on the localization of objects in chaotic and reverberant enclosures, based on which he developed a Lamb-wave multitouch ultrasonic touchscreen system. He was a Research Assistant with UCL from 2010 to 2011, where he developed a predictive computational tool for evaluation of photoacoustic imaging techniques for detection of brain tumors. He has worked on numerous problems in ultrasound/MEMS technologies, including modeling and design of ultrasonic transducers, photoacoustics, microbubbles, wave propagation, and numerical methods. His current research interests include trans-cranial ultrasound, ultrasound neuromodulation, ultrasonic flow-measurement, and ultrasound signal processing and inverse problems.

 
Marc N. Gallay, MD

Awarded for: MRgFUS in chronic therapy-resistant Parkinson‘s disease [YI-1/P-YI-1]

Marc Gallay currently works since 2015 as neurosurgeon at the Center for Focused Ultrasound Neurosurgery Sonimodul, Switzerland led by Neurosurgeon Daniel Jeanmonod. He received is medical degree at the University of Zurich in 2008. His doctoral dissertation "Human cerebello- and pallidothalamic tracts: Stereotactic localization, interindividual variability and MR correlations“ was obtained in 2009 at the University Hospital Zürich under the supervision of Dr. Anne Morel and Prof. Daniel Jeanmonod. There he further studied the monkey and human insular cortex as a post-doc fellow before training in neurosurgery at the Kantonsspital St.Gallen and at the University Hospital Geneva. He completed is neurosurgical training in 2015.

Pooja Gaur, PhD

Awarded for: Histological study of focused ultrasound neuromodulation and MR-ARFI in sheep [YI-4/P-YI-4]

Pooja Gaur earned her BS in Biomedical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University, and her PhD at Vanderbilt University under the mentorship of Dr. William Grissom. During her doctoral research, she developed MRI methods for measuring temperature changes in the body during focused ultrasound heating treatments. As a postdoctoral scholar working with Dr. Kim Butts-Pauly at Stanford University, Dr. Gaur is investigating focused ultrasound through the skull and assessing tissue safety in the brain.

Tyler I. Gerhardson

Awarded for: Histotripsy mediated immunomodulation in a mouse gl261 intracranial glioma model [YI-8/P-YI-8]

Tyler Gerhardson is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. He received a BS degree in biomedical engineering from Western New England University in Springfield, MA in 2015 and an MS Degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan in 2017. Selected honors include the Deans Award for Academic Excellence and Biomedical Engineering Department Award for Outstanding Senior from Western New England University, a Scholarship and Fellowship from Tau Beta Pi and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Tyler’s research interests include ultrasonic standing wave separators, ultrasound transducers and focused ultrasound therapies.

Yekaterina Gilbo

Awarded for: Detecting T1-based signal reduction in focused ultrasound heating of bone using a 3D spiral ultra-short echo time sequence [P-YI-13]

Yekaterina Gilbo graduated from the University of Virginia in 2017 with a BS in Physics and is pursuing a PhD in BME at UVA. She is currently working on a project in MRgFUS that uses the magnetization properties of bone to detect potentially harmful skull heating.

Catherine Gorick

Awarded for: Focused ultrasound-mediated transfection of cerebral vasculature independent of blood-brain barrier opening [YI-3/P-YI-3]

Catherine Gorick received an undergraduate degree in Biological Engineering from MIT in 2015. There, she was a four-year member of the varsity lightweight crew team, a member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, and a mentor for an undergraduate leadership development program. Now in her fourth year of a PhD program in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia, Ms. Gorick is working in the lab of Dr. Richard Price and her research focuses on developing a platform for ultrasound-mediated gene delivery to the cerebral vasculature for stroke applications.   

Alexander S. Mathew

Awarded for: RNA sequencing of focused ultrasound-treated melanoma reveals that thermal ablation and hyperthermia elicit differential immunogenicity [YI-11/P-YI-11]

Alex Mathew received his BS in Chemistry and BA in Mathematics from the University of Virginia. He is pursuing an MD/PhD at the University of Virginia in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Price. Currently, he is integrating high throughput sequencing with systems biology approaches to uncover the mechanisms behind FUS immunomodulation to inform FUSimmunotherapy combination strategies.

Ying Meng MD

Awarded for: Blood brain barrier opening in primary brain tumors: A demonstration of safety and feasibility with non-invasive MR-guided focused ultrasound [YI-6/P-YI-6]

Dr. Meng is a neurosurgery resident at the University of Toronto, researching neurologic applications of FUS under Dr. Lipsman’s supervision. Her interests and activities span from preclinical to clinical investigations involving neurological conditions such as movement disorders, traumatic brain injury, and neurodegenerative disorders.

Daniele Mercatelli, PhD

Awarded for: Treatment of painful bone tumors using MR-guided focused ultrasound with conformal bone system [YI-12/P-YI-12]

Dr. Mercatelli is a postdoc research fellow active in the field of imaging and oncology at IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli. He holds a master’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology and PhD in Oncology and Experimental Pathology at Alma Mater Studiorum–University of Bologna. He has been working in the team headed by Dr. Alberto Bazzocchi since 2016, where he is involved in managing and coordinating clinical trials investigating magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) and its current applications in bone malignancies. His main research interests involve the potential application of focused ultrasound in the experimental treatment of osteoarthritis and benign bone and soft tissue tumors, broadened to wider aspects of cellular and molecular research.

 
Francesco Sammartino, MD

Awarded for: Longitudinal analysis of lesion microstructural changes after focused ultrasound thalamotomy [YI-2/P-YI-2]

Francesco Sammartino received his MD from University of Udine, Italy in 2008 and completed his Neurosurgery residency in University of Padova in 2015. In 2016 completed the Functional Neurosurgery fellowship at the University of Toronto, under the supervision of Prof. Andres Lozano. He is currently a research fellow at the Ohio State University in the Center for Neuromodulation. Dr Sammartino’s main interest is neuroimaging applied to functional neurosurgery. During his Fellowship in Toronto he chose to dedicate his research to personalize the targeting and improve the outcomes after MR-guided Focused Ultrasound thalamotomy for Essential tremor. He developed a methodology to help defining the VIM region with the use of tractography, and he is currently involved in developing new methods to understand the mechanisms of tremor efficacy in the thalamus and the longitudinal microstructural changes associated with tissue ablation.

Natasha Sheybani

Awarded for: Leveraging MR image-guided focused ultrasound to potentiate immunotherapy for glioblastoma [YI-9/P-YI-9]

Developing synergy between immunotherapy and focused ultrasound ablation for metastatic breast cancer [YI-10/P-YI-10]

Exploiting FUS as a strategy for myeloid cell modulation and repolarization in metastatic breast cancer [YI-10-2/P-YI-10-2]

Natasha Sheybani is a fourth-year PhD Candidate and member of the Price Lab in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia. Her graduate research centers on leveraging FUS to potentiate immunotherapy for primary and disseminated solid cancers. Natasha received her BS in Biomedical Engineering (with Honors) from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and UVA Robert R. Wagner Fellowship.