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Research Opportunities for Medical Students

Throughout the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, faculty experts seek medical students interested in participating in research projects. From subject-matter experts exploring pediatric radiology and brain tumors to others dissecting the historical value of medicine and education—medical students have countless opportunities to learn from subject-matter experts throughout the department.

Making the Most of Mentors

Faculty Expert Research

Forbes-Amrhein's research interests include fetal MRI imaging, pediatric and fetal applications of ultrasound imaging, and pediatric musculoskeletal imaging. Forbes-Amrhein utilizes advanced ultrasound imaging techniques to identify tissue characteristics that result in improved diagnosis and assessment of post-hemorrhagic obstructive hydrocephalus in preterm infants. For this project, she is working with both a rat model and human subjects. Her projects in the field of musculoskeletal imaging currently involve non-accidental trauma imaging. Finally, as a member of the Maternal Fetal Imaging Center there are a multitude of fetal imaging projects, such as predicting the severity and prognosis of congenital diaphragmatic hernia, defining normal fetal spinal cord appearance and lengths, improving imaging of the fetal skeleton and diagnosis of skeletal anomalies, and maternal cervical imaging to predict preterm labor related to cervical incompetence.

Monica Forbes-Amrhein's faculty profile

Garcia's research is in using biomechanics and MRI to understand brain development and disease. Potential project areas include fetal brain development and cortical folding, early childhood development and autism, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Garcia's profile

Gunderman's is heavily involved in:

  • Professionalism: Ethics of radiology practice, radiology's place in medicine and healthcare.
  • History: An understanding of radiology's past can help us understand its current status and future direction.
  • Philosophy: What do radiologic imaging techniques reveal, and what do they tend to obscure?  How can we compensate for blind spots while clarifying what have we seen best?

Gunderman's profile

Haste is an interventional radiologist who spends much of his time working at University Hospital at IU Health in Indianapolis, IN. While providing a wide variety of interventional procedures, his focus is on liver cancer treatments, treatment of portal hypertension and post-transplant interventions. Much of his research is devoted to multiple clinical trials that are mostly centered around the treatment of liver cancer. 

Paul Haste's faculty profile

Karmazyn's research includes:

  • Multicenter study on rickets and CML
  • Variations in the ossification of the spine in the first three years of life that can mimic fractures
  • Contribution of chest CT for the diagnosis of rib fractures
  • Frequency and pattern of rib fractures after blunt trauma in children younger than three years
  • Variations in malrotation- can they predict risk for midgut volvulus?
  • Incidental liver lesions- algorithm for imaging workup

Karmazyn's profile

Kovoor currently is involved in the research on "outcome of mechanical thrombectomy by stent retriever vs aspiration at the carotid terminus compared to middle cerebral artery occlusion". This involves data collection from the last five years. Each year we do approximately 200 cases. ASTER and compass studies have looked at it without separating the location. For the outcome, student(s) will look at mRs pre and at 90 days. Secondary outcome students will look at the CTA, CTP and MRI to look for an increase in the volume of stroke. Students will be able to do data collection and write up a paper and present at a conference. They will also be able to learn about approaches to stroke imaging, clinical approach in addition. 

Jerry Kovoor's faculty profile

Marine's Research focus: Pediatric Radiology/ Child Abuse Imaging
Marine's Learning Objectives: Students will discover the field of pediatric radiology as well as learn more about child abuse pediatrics and the powerful impact imaging plays in the evaluation and care of these children. Students will participate in a clinical and/or education research project pertaining to child abuse imaging. Additionally, students may attend the monthly multidisciplinary child abuse conference.

Megan Marine's faculty profile

Newman's research focuses on understanding and predicting fractures in developing bone with the clinical goal of predicting and understanding fractures in children. This is accomplished with the use of animal models and clinical studies in two areas. First, I study the types of forces that lead to fractures in children who have suffered child abuse. Second, I study how medical imaging can evaluate the quality of bone and the ability of bones to resist fractures.

  • Animal Models of Child Abuse Fractures
  • Child Abuse Imaging
  • Quantiative Bone Ultrasound
  • Evaluation of Pediatric Bone Marrow
  • Animals Models of Pediatric Bone Quality

Christopher Newman's faculty profile

Radhakrishnan's research interests include the use advanced MRI (volumetric, diffusion, structural connectivity) and ultrasound methods to understand alterations in brain development in neonates with prenatal; and perinatal brain injury including prenatal opioid exposure, prematurity and neonatal hydrocephalus.
Current learning objectives include understanding the basic concepts of imaging research. Use of image processing pipelines and software and basic statistical analysis for a project that can be submitted as a conference paper and ideally published in manuscript form.

Radhakrishnan's profile

Risacher focuses on biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease and has a funded study to examine whether sensory measures (visual, olfactory, and auditory) are sensitive and specific biomarkers for detecting Alzheimer’s pathology (amyloid, tau, and/or neurodegeneration) in older adults at risk for future progression to dementia. In addition, Risacher has an interest in determining the impact of comorbidities and lifestyle factors on risk for and presence of Alzheimer's disease neuropathology.

Shannon Risacher's faculty profile

Saykin uses brain imaging and genomic methods to study mechanisms of memory dysfunction and treatment response in neurological and psychiatric disorders. Current interests include: Alzheimer’s disease, cancer chemotherapy induced cognitive changes, and brain activity and connectivity in schizophrenia.

Andrew Saykin's faculty profile

Snyder's interest involves molecular imaging ligand development
Research Interest includes design and development of PET radiotracers for molecular imaging in cancer, neuroscience and cardiology clinical research applications. Snyder's projects involve synthesis and radiolabeling of novel molecular imaging probes, in vitro biochemical validation of promising radiotracers and in vivo imaging in both preclinical rodent models of disease and human subjects research.

Scott Snyder's faculty profile

Steenburg's current research focuses on:

  • CT of Multi-System Trauma
  • Imaging Following Damage Control Laparotomy
  • CT of Active Bleeding and Extravascular Blood Product Quantification as a predictor of management

Scott Steenburg's faculty profile

Tirkes' current research efforts include:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as a Non-Invasive Method for Assessment of Pancreatic fibrosis (MINIMAP) study: 
    This multicenter study aims evaluate the role of quantitative MRI as a non- invasive tool to detect chronic pancreatitis, even in the early stages of the disease.
  • Consortium for the study of Chronic Pancreatitis, Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancer (CPDPC): 
    This consortium has been given the task of further elucidating the relationship between chronic pancreatitis, diabetes and pancreatic cancer, with a focus on establishing early diagnoses
  • Type 1 Diabetes in Acute Pancreatitis Consortium: 
    The main objective of this research program is to undertake a prospective longitudinal observational clinical study to investigate the incidence, etiology and pathophysiology of diabetes following acute pancreatitis.

Temel Tirkes' faculty profile

Wang's current research focuses on:

  • High-resolution diffusion MRI
  • Brain connectivity
  • High-resolution quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM)
  • Neuroimage in Alzheimer's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis
  • MRI in musculoskeletal radiology

Nian Wang's faculty profile

Wen's research focuses on:

  • Brain Clearance Breakthrough: Recent Neuroscience breakthroughs have revealed that the brain eliminates waste through cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) circulation, with dysfunction linked to numerous neurodegenerative diseases. 
  • Bridging the gap: Unfortunately, the absence of non-invasive detection tools has hampered human studies in this realm. To fill this gap, we've pioneered clinically feasible CSF imaging. What's more, we have gathered data across diverse conditions such as Alzheimer's Disease, Hydrocephalus, Cerebrovascular stenosis, Sports-related concussion, and others.

The objective: To uncover fresh insights into human brain CSF clearance through analysis of imaging data. Your background and interest in medical neuroscience and physiology are integral parts for interpreting results and driving novel discoveries.

Qiuting Wen's faculty profile

Veronesi's current research includes:

  • Advanced clinical brain tumor imaging:
    The long-term goal of this project is to optimize advanced imaging techniques for patients with devastating brain cancers. Through an expanded access Investigational New Drug application for clinical use of 18F-Fluoro-ethyltyrosine (FET) coupled with hybrid PET/MR imaging, a powerful diagnostic multimodality imaging tool has been optimized to help answer the question of whether MRI changes in a patient represent progression of malignant disease or non-malignant treatment related change. Sub-aims within this larger PET/MR brain tumor imaging program include development of novel and cutting-edge imaging technologies that complement and propel the power of PET/MR imaging, which include MR Spectroscopy, MR chemical exchange saturation transfer, MR diffusion tensor imaging, and dual energy CT. A student could participate in one or more of these IRB projects. Options for development of analysis techniques include radiomics, textural analysis and/or introductory deep learning/artificial intelligence. The ideal student would have an interest in the fields of Radiology, Radiation Oncology, Nuclear Medicine, or Neuro-Oncology. The interested medical student should ideally have a background and interest in software development, database management and imaging data analysis. This project could potentially be performed virtually given remote access to MIM7, Q Image, Cerner, PACs and various software analysis tools.
  • Preclinical glioblastoma theranostics:
    Glioblastoma (GBM) is a highly malignant brain tumor with a median patient survival of 20 months despite maximal treatment. Multifunctional lipid-polymer hybrid nanoparticles are theranostic agents that can preferentially target glioblastoma (GBM), treat the tumor, and be imaged in vivo during treatment. This project employs nanotechnology, engineering, in vitro drug testing, and in vivo GBM animal therapy and imaging testing to achieve the specific aims. This multi-faceted basic science and translational project has various arms for an interested student with a specific skill set and prior experience. This project would not be ideal for a student with no prior research benchwork experience. The student with experience in laboratory bench work, advanced chemistry, biochemistry, nanotechnology and/or engineering would have the opportunity to participate in nanoparticle and intranasal aerosolizer development for small animal drug delivery. A student with experience in cell culture and animal care, would assist with chemotherapy treatment of GBM cells and neurospheres in culture as well as work with an immunodeficient rat model of GBM implanted intracranially and imaged with a high powered 9.4 Tesla simultaneous small animal MR/PET scanner. The ideal student would have an interest in the fields of Radiology, surgery, Nuclear Medicine or Neuro-Oncology. The project would not have a virtual option given the need for hands-on experimental manipulation in the laboratory setting.

Veronesi's profile

Wu's research develops innovative MRI neuroimaging technologies for elucidating disease mechanisms, facilitating early diagnoses and identifying optimal treatments.

Current research projects include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Mild traumatic brain imaging
  • Sports-related concussion
  • Neurodegenerative diseases

Current learning objectives for students include:

  • Neuroimaging data processing pipelines
  • Image data processing software tools
  • Regions-of-interest analyses
  • Voxel-based analyses
  • Diffusion imaging and functional imaging computations
  • Literature reviews

Yu-Chien Wu's faculty profile

Yoder's potential research areas include: assessment of dopaminergic brain PET data to aggregate subjects across projects and scanners; processing of functional and structural connectivity data; and, combinatorial analysis of multi-modal imaging data sets.

Karmen Yoder's faculty profile

Yu's team is interested in identifying associations between the human connectome (measured by functional and diffusion MRI) and amyloid-β and tau pathologies (measured by PET imaging data), as well as blood-based microarray RNA gene expression profiles (transcriptome), DNA variations (genome) and neurotransmitter receptor densities (PET-derived maps) in AD.

Meichen Yu's faculty profile

Zheng works in the development of new radiopharmaceuticals for biomedical imaging technique positron emission tomography (PET) to study cancer, neurological and cardiovascular diseases. 

Qi-Huang Zheng's faculty profile