Student Bios and Research

Natalie Baughan

I graduated from the University of Michigan in 2019 with a degree in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences. During my years there, I became interested in medical physics while doing research in the optimization of radiation therapy treatment planning. I joined the GPMP in 2019 and currently work in Dr. Giger’s lab. My research focuses on developing a novel method of breast cancer risk assessment from mammography and tomosynthesis imaging. Outside of doing research, I enjoy bouldering, exploring the Chicago food scene, and hanging out by the lake.

Lucas Berens

Hello! I joined the GPMP after completing a major in physics and a minor in mathematics from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2021. My advisors are Dr. Chien-Min Kao and Dr. Howard Halpern, and I am researching oxygen imaging using mainly PET. Specifically, I am investigating positronium lifetimes as biomarkers for hypoxia, and am attempting to predict hypoxic fraction data produced by EPR using a combination of positronium, FMISO PET, and MRI data. When not in the lab, I enjoy climbing, board games, D&D, and condensing my research description into two sentences.

Hadley DeBrosse

I joined the GPMP at the University of Chicago in 2019, after graduating in 2018 from the University of Dayton with a BS in Physics. During my time at UD and afterwards, I worked on optimization of a new plasmonic material, Titanium Nitride, with the Air Force Research Laboratory. I now work with Dr. La Rivière on the development of imaging geometries and reconstruction algorithms for metal mapping with a new x-ray fluorescence emission tomography (XFET) system. Beyond my research, I have enjoyed learning about clinical diagnostic medical physics through coursework, practicums, and clinical shadowing. Outside of work, I love to rock climb with other GPMP students, hike, take ballet classes, foster cats, and explore Chicago and its amazing restaurants.

Lindsay Douglas

I joined the GPMP at UChicago in 2018 after graduating from the University of Tulsa with a B.S. in Physics. In my first research rotation at UChicago, I verified the feasibility of using an inkjet printer to create anthropomorphic phantoms for pediatric radiography and fluoroscopy. Now, I am a member of Dr. Giger’s lab, and I research computer-aided diagnosis. So far, I have worked on breast lesion segmentation and automatic scoring of background parenchymal enhancement from DCE-MRI. I enjoy the fact that this program has led me to collaborate with radiologists who help me focus my project on clinical applications. Outside of work, I like to listen to music, bake, and attempt to keep all my plants alive.

Jordan Fuhrman

I joined the UChicago Medical Physics program in 2017 after completing degrees in math and physics at the University of Alabama.  After joining the Giger Lab in early 2018, my research has focused on the development of computer-aided diagnosis tools for diseases in thoracic and head CT scans, including coronary artery calcifications, hypoxic ischemic brain injury, and COVID-19.  Outside of research, I am an avid sports fan (especially football and basketball, and some soccer since the pandemic started), board game night attendee, and resident pet-sitter for all of my friends.

Rayner Hernandez Perez

I joined the Graduate Program in Medical Physics at UChicago in Autumn 2022 after graduating from the University of California, Merced, with a MS in Physics. I am originally from Cuba, where I got my BS in Nuclear Physics from the University of Havana. I am currently working on my research rotations. I enjoy watching soccer games and movies and hanging out with friends when I am not studying or researching. 

Gia Jadick

I earned my B.S. in Physics and Political Science from Duke University in 2020, then began my Ph.D. studies in Medical Physics at UChicago in 2021. I currently work with Dr. La Riviere developing spectral computed tomography (CT) techniques and algorithms. As part of this work, I have developed forward- and back-projection simulation frameworks and quantitatively characterized MV-kV dual-energy combinations. I am currently extending this work to synchrotron microCT. Beyond physics, I also enjoy bouldering, jazz piano, and reading sci-fi or philosophy.

Linnea Kremer

I joined the GPMP at the University of Chicago in the fall of 2019 after completing my master’s in Bioengineering and playing competitive soccer at the University of Nottingham in the U.K. My master’s research was on quantitative, multi-parametric MRI analysis of the effect of dialysis on the major organs at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre (SPMIC). I joined Dr.Sam Armato’s lab to do research on polycystic kidney disease, specifically autosomal dominant kidney disease, using quantitative MRI for diagnosis, prognosis, and disease progression. I have a B.S in physics with minors in math and Christian studies from Roanoke College, and also played soccer all four years. I love all things sports (soccer of course!), listening to live music, traveling, and drinking coffee.

Mira Liu

I started studying Medical Physics at UChicago in 2019 after a gap year doing research in MRI of the brain. I also went to UChicago for a B.A. in physics and philosophy with an undergraduate thesis in astrophysics. I am currently a member of Dr. Carroll’s lab and doing further research on non-invasive quantitative perfusion-diffusion MR of the brain for study of neurological disease such as stroke and Alzheimers. I’ve enjoyed getting to explore all of the different neighborhoods in Chicago, downtown music festivals, and curling up with a book, a cat, and some tea during Chicago winters. 

Jason Meier

I joined Uchicago’s Medical Physics program in 2020 after receiving B.S. degrees in physics and astronomy from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I am currently in the process of completing my research rotations, but my primary interest is in the use of theranostic radiopharmaceuticals in nuclear medicine. Outside of research, I like to spend my free time fishing, camping, gaming, and exploring all the unique cultures and cuisines that Chicago has to offer.

Daniela Olivera Velarde

I joined the Graduate Program in Medical Physics at UChicago in Autumn 2020 after graduating from Berea College with a Major in physics and a minor in math. I am currently working in my research rotations. In my free time, I enjoy exercising, singing, and participating in outreach events to help with the education of teenagers back in my home country (Bolivia).

JP Phillips

I started studying Medical Physics at the UChicago in the Autumn of 2022. I graduated from UChicago with a BA in Physics and a minor in Statistics in the spring of 2022 and I am currently doing research rotations. Outside of academics, I enjoy spending my time swimming, playing/watching basketball, and reading.

Benjamin Preusser

I joined the GPMP at the University of Chicago in 2018 after graduating from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in 2017 where I received degrees in physics and mathematics. I am currently working with Dr. Patrick La Rivière and collaborators on light-field imaging and its application to kilovoltage and megavoltage imaging to improve detector quantum efficiency by imaging thick scintillators. In my free time, I enjoy the outdoors, learning about the latest tech, playing video games and the piano.

Amy Renne

I joined the GPMP in 2021 after earning my B.S. in Physics with a minor in mathematics from Stevens Institute of Technology in 2020.  Under the Graduate Research Cooperative program, I am completing my thesis work as a join initiative between Dr. Chen's lab here at UChicago and Dr. Jerry Nolen at Argonne National Laboratory. My focus is on Auger electron therapy and novel isotope production. Specifically, I am measuring prompt gamma cascades and beam-off ground states or long-lived isomers of the radioactive residues of Auger emitters using the ATLAS accelerator and GammaSphere at Argonne. This data will be used to improve optical model parameters in nuclear reaction modeling. Outside the lab, I enjoy powerlifting, tattooing, playing music, and going to punk/metal shows.

Geneva Schlafly

I joined the UChicago Medical Physics program 2020 after receiving a BS in Mathematics from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I work with Dr. Patrick La Rivière on tomography techniques for polarized light microscopy. Specifically, I am interested in characterizing the 3D birefringence of anisotropic objects using light field microscopy. When I am not conducting research, I enjoy playing sports, solving puzzles, and surfing on the lake.

Mena Shenouda

I graduated from the University of Michigan in 2019, earning a B.S. in biophysics and physics and minoring in religion before coming to the GPMP program in the fall of 2019. I currently work with Dr. Sam Armato, researching the field of radiomics and studying the segmentation of lung images of patients with pleural mesothelioma. Specifically, I’m implementing deep neural networks in the identification and image analysis of the diseased tissue. I’m an avid basketball and football fan, playing and watching both whenever possible and also enjoy watching movies and reading books of any genre.

Joel Toledo-Urena

I joined the GPMP in 2020 after graduating from Linfield College with a BS in Physics and a minor in Math. My undergraduate research was focused on studying contact potentials and conduction of various two-dimensional materials using Kelvin Force Probe Microscopy. In my spare time I like to go hiking and play soccer. I also enjoy camping and spending time at the beach.  

Christopher Valdes

I joined the GPMP in 2022 after graduating with my B.S. in Physics from St. John's University and M.S. in Medical Physics from San Diego State University. My master's research was on a comparison of supercoiled and linear DNA-based detectors for quantifying DNA double strand breaks. I'm currently doing my research rotations. During my free time, I like to hang out with my friends, explore Chicago and all its restaurants, and make TikTok videos!

Chisondi Warioba

I joined the Graduate Program in Medical Physics in the Autumn of 2021 after graduating from Westmont College with a B.S. in Chemistry and Physics and Biology. I am currently doing my research rotations; however, when I am not studying, I enjoy listening to music, playing/watching sports, playing guitar, and oil painting.

Tabitha Welch

I joined the GPMP in 2022, after graduating from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Physics and a minor in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations. I am currently completing my research rotations. When I’m not studying, I enjoy crocheting, playing cello, and watching or reading science fiction.