Canary Center at Stanford Members

Full Members

Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD
Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor in Cancer Research
Chairman, Department of Radiology
Professor (By courtesy), Departments of Bioengineering and Materials Science and Engineering
Director, Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS)
Director, Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection
Phone: (650) 725-2309
E-mail » sgambhir@stanford.edu

Parag Mallick, PhD
Assistant Professor - Department of Radiology
Voice: (650) 724-0923
E-mail » paragm@stanford.edu

Viswam S. Nair, MD, MS
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Pulmonary & Critical Care
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology
Voice: (650) 725-7061
E-mail: v846531n@stanford.edu

Sharon Pitteri, PhD
Assistant Professor - Department of Radiology
Voice: (650) 723-6076
E-mail » spitteri@stanford.edu

Tanya Stoyanova, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology
Voice: (650) 721-3296
E-mail » stanya@stanford.edu

Juergen Willmann, MD
Professor - Department of Radiology
Voice: (650) 725-1812
E-mail » willmann@stanford.edu

Associate Members

James Brooks, MD
Keith and Jan Hurlbut Professor - Department of Urology


Research Interests: Dr. Brooks research focuses on developing approaches to assess tumor development and aggressiveness. Most of these projects involve an interface between clinical and basic research and utilize genomic approaches to identify molecular biomarkers. He is also exploring isolation and molecular characterization of circulating tumor cells as a predictive biomarker. In addition, He has ongoing collaborative work in developing imaging strategies for prostate cancer. He has extensive experience running small and large clinical trials in prostate cancer. He is a founding member and site PI of the Canary PASS trial which has been designed to test candidate biomarkers of prognosis in patients on active surveillance for prostate cancer.

Zhen Cheng, PhD
Assistant Professor - Department of Radiology


Research Interests: The overall objective of Dr Cheng's laboratory is to develop novel molecular imaging probes and techniques for non-invasive detection of cancer and its metastasis at the earliest stage, so that cancer can be cured or transformed into a chronic, manageable disease. The techniques developed in his research will allow a close examination of the molecular, metabolic and physiological characteristics of cancers and their responses to therapy. In order to achieve this goal, the lab is aimed to identify novel cancer biomarkers with significant clinical relevance, develop new chemistry for probes preparation, and validate new strategies for probes high-throughput screening.

Christina Curtis, PhD, MSc
Assistant Professor - Department of Medicine and Genetics


Research Interests: Dr. Curtis' area of interest is the development and application of innovative experimental and analytical approaches to improve the detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In particular, my laboratory leverages high-throughput omics techniques, integrative statistical approaches, computational modeling, and functional assays to elucidate the genotype-phenotype map and mechanisms of tumor progression. We have developed a quantitative framework to infer tumor evolutionary dynamics with application to early tumor growth, metastatic dissemination and therapeutic resistance with a focus on breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers. We are also developing approaches to characterize (epi)genomic/phenotypic diversity at single cell resolution. Other aspects of our research are focused on advancing early detection efforts through the development of robust biomarkers of malignant potential and the identification of circulating biomarkers present in cell-free DNA.

Bruce Lewis Daniel, MD
Professor - Department of Radiology


Research Interests: Dr Daniel is interested in developing and applying new techniques for performing MRI to detect early occult breast cancer. These include higher spatial resolution conventional techniques, as well as new methods for detection of breast cancer without need for intravenous contrast agents. He is interested in developing and applying new techniques for detecting clinically relevant localized prostate cancer. Specifically he is using new MRI techniques to map dominant intraprostatic high-grade lesions. He is developing methods for direct MR guided transperineal needle access to the prostate as a means of performing targeted biopsy and other needle based ablation procedures. His ultimate hope is to treat suitable patients with limited dominant intraprostatic lesions using focal ablation, avoiding radical prostatectomy.

Adam de la Zerda, PhD
Assistant Professor - Structural Biology and, by courtesy, of Electrical Engineering


Research Interests: Prof. de la Zerda’s research interests span the broad field of Molecular Imaging. His lab focuses on developing new optical imaging instrumentation and chemistry tools to study the complex spatiotemporal behavior of biomolecules in living subjects. The lab uses animal models for cancer and ophthalmic diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. His research efforts span both basic science and clinically translatable work.

Maximilian Diehn, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor - Radiation Oncology - Radiation Therapy


Research Interests: Dr. Diehn's research efforts are focused on developing a deeper understanding of the biology of thoracic malignancies in order to improve therapeutic strategies for these diseases. He is a practicing radiation oncologist and treats primarily lung cancer patients. His clinical research is focused on improving therapies for cancer patients and on translating approaches and findings from the laboratory into the clinic. In the laboratory his focus is on epithelial stem cell biology and its implications for cancer biology. He also studies biomarkers for early detection and characterization of cancers, with an emphasis on circulating tumor DNA. He employs tools from genomics, bioinformatics, stem cell biology, and mouse genetics to address these questions.

Dean Walton Felsher, MD, PhD
Professor - Department of Medicine, Oncology and of Pathology


Research Interests: Dr. Felsher's laboratory studies how oncogenes initiate and maintain tumorigenesis. He has uncovered the phenomena of oncogene addiction, the notion that inactivating a single oncogene can result in dramatic tumor regression. He utilizes novel conditional transgenic mouse models as analysis of human patients to understand the mechanism of oncogene addiction. His work has been highly useful towards the identification of new therapeutic targets and the development of new therapeutic strategies. His work suggests that early cancer can be prevented by the suppression of specific oncogenes. His work has identified gene signatures the are useful in predicting which early cancers are most likely to become highly invasive malignant tumors. Finally, his work has developed novel methods of gene expression analysis, molecular imaging and nanoscale proteomics for the early detection, diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of cancer.

James M Ford, MD
Associate Professor - Department of Medicine, Oncology and of Genetics and, by courtesy, of Pediatrics


Research Interests: As a physician-scientist, Dr. Ford has been engaged in basic, translational and clinical research in solid tumors and cancer genetics. His overall research goals are to understand the role of genetic changes in cancer genes in the risk and development of solid tumors. His laboratory focuses on how DNA repair and DNA damage response pathways are critical to tumorigenesis and are potential candidates for targeted therapeutics and prevention. A major focus is the characterization of DNA repair defects in solid tumors, and the synergistic activity of DNA damaging chemotherapy drugs and radiation with PARP inhibitors in basal-like breast cancer and GI cancers. The translation of these ideas to the clinic proceeds through clinical trials in patients with defined genetic risk for cancer. He founded and directs the Stanford Cancer Genetics Clinic, where with a team of cancer genetic counselors, patients receive genetic counseling and testing for hereditary cancer syndromes, and are offered clinical research protocols for prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer in high-risk individuals.

Olivier Gevaert, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Biomedical Informatics Research) and of Biomedical Data Science

Medicine - Biomedical Informatics Research


Research Interests: My lab focuses on biomedical data fusion: the development of machine learning methods for biomedical decision support using multi-scale biomedical data. Previously we pioneered data fusion work using Bayesian and kernel methods studying breast and ovarian cancer. Additionally, we developed computational algorithms for the identification of driver genes using multi-omics data. Furthermore, we are working on multi-scale biomedical data fusion methods, bridging the molecular using omics data, cellular using pathology data and tissue using medical imaging data.

Robert W Haile, DRPH
Professor - Department of Medicine, Oncology
Associate Director of Population Sciences at Stanford Cancer Institute


Research Interests: Dr. Haile's research focuses on the genetic epidemiology of colorectal and breast cancer. As Associate Director for Population Sciences at the Stanford Cancer Institute, He oversees the Cancer Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention & Control Programs. One of his goals is to enhance research on early detection of cancer. This research would be comprehensive in nature and would include the following elements:

  1. identification of early changes in tumor evolution that predict later aggressiveness of the tumor;
  2. development of tests to detect such changes early in the pathogenesis of a tumor;
  3. validation of promising screening tests on human populations using appropriate study designs; and
  4. conduct of cost- and comparative effectiveness assessments.

James Harris, BS, MS, PhD
James & Ellenor Chesebrough Professor of Engineering
Department of Engineering


Research Interests:Dr Harris' expertise is in the epitaxial crystal growth of unique semiconductor materials and nanostructuring to produce photonic devices that operate at wavelengths optimized for specific applications, such as fluorophors and fluorescent proteins to tag specific cells or molecules and provide molecular specificity for the study of disease and therapeutic effectiveness. He has developed a vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) platform that he has integrated into a small package that has been implanted into mice to study the development of cancer. Such an integrated sensor can be packaged with Bluetooth or WiFi communications and easily worn by humans to provide real-time continuous tracking of specific cancer or stem cells that could be particularly effective for tracking and early detection of cancer patients who are in remission. He collaborates with Prof. Sam Gambhir and Dr. Jelena Levi in the Canary Center on these projects. A second major project is the development of a fully integrated mode locked semiconductor laser (1 cm vs. 1m and 5 gm vs. 10 Kg for conventional mode locked lasers) with application to two-photon microscopy in the brain, but could be easily adapted to provide higher optical power for non-invasive direct near-IR imaging or visible two-photon imaging of any organ or blood vessels which can be fluorescently tagged and used in cancer detection.

Andrei Iagaru, MD
Assistant Professor of Radiology - Nuclear Medicine


Research Interests: Dr. Iagaru's current research projects include:

  1. Whole-Body MRI and PET/CT for Early Cancer Detection;
  2. Targeted Radionuclide Therapy;
  3. Clinical Translation of Novel PET Radiopharmaceuticals; and
  4. PET/CT Imaging for Thyroid/Breast/Lung/Prostate Cancer, Melanoma, and Sarcoma.

Several of the novel PET radiopharmaceuticals to be introduced in the clinic are directed at early cancer detection and include 18F FPPRGD2 and 64Cu DOTA Rituximab.

R Brooke Jeffrey, MD
Professor - Department of Radiology


Research Interests: Dr. Jeffrey's current research projects include:

  1. Pancreatic Cancer Imaging
  2. Capsule Ultrasound of the GI Tract

Hanlee Ji, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Oncology


Research Interests: Our group’s research program is focused on elucidating i) the genetics of stomach and colon cancer, ii) developing new DNA sequencing technologies among others that improve genetic analysis and iii) conceiving of new computational approaches for analyzing the “big data” generated from human genome DNA sequencing. Much of my research efforts are directly related to the new paradigm of precision cancer medicine, where one uses molecular genetic information to better inform decisions about medical treatment.

One of the major topics of my research program involves elucidating the genetic mechanisms and biology underlying the spread of stomach and colon cancer to other organs in the body. In a recent study, my research group identified specific genes that are responsible for the metastatic spread of stomach and colon cancer. These genes have implications for the early detection of stomach and colon cancer as well. Our studies have identified that genetic alterations in these candidate cancer genes are may predict a cancer’s ability to spread more aggressively. We are applying these discoveries to improve the early detection and recognition of more aggressive precursors of cancer, that once recognized could be used to identify patients who may be at risk for metastatic disease and thus require more intense screening. We are also developing new DNA technologies to improve the early detection of colon cancer via analysis of the blood.

Pierre T Khuri-Yakub, PhD
Professor - Department of Electrical Engineeriing


Research Interests: Current research interests include medical ultrasound imaging (anatomic, functional and molecular) and therapy (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound), ultrasound neuro-stimulation, chemical/biological sensors, and micromachined ultrasonic transducers. Anatomic imaging and molecular imaging research have direct bearing on early cancer detection, as is the chemical/biological sensor. Research on HIFU and neuro-modulation close the loop on treating cancer with tissue destruction or by manipulating neural signals to organs. All these research projects rely on the development of novel ultrasound technologies including capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers (CMUTs) along with their integrated front-end electronics and systems.

Allison W. Kurian, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor - Department of Medicine (Oncology) and of Health Research and Policy


Research Interests: Dr. Kurian’s research interests focus on clinically-oriented research based on genetic risk assessment, risk-adapted screening and prevention to improve the outcomes of women's cancers. Her research employs methods from the population sciences, in close collaboration with the Stanford Division of Epidemiology, Department of Radiology, the Center for Biomedical Informatics Research, the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute. She has led epidemiologic studies of risk factors for breast and ovarian cancer, clinical trials of breast cancer prevention, and decision analyses of strategies to optimize breast and ovarian cancer outcomes. She led the Oncoshare project, a multi-institutional breast cancer outcomes research database that integrates information from electronic medical records and the population-based California Cancer Registry. Other recent work includes the development of a clinical decision support tool to help women with BRCA1/2 mutations reduce their cancer risks through early detection and prevention interventions.

 

Jan Liphardt, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering


Research Interests: The early stages of cancer invasion and metastasis involve the interaction of epithelial cells with the extracellular matrix. We suspect that these interactions generate specific microanatomical changes, such as collagen tracts, that can be detected with clinical imaging modalities. In our research, we use basic science techniques including genome editing, 3D breast organoids, and optical imaging to study the dynamics of early cell/matrix interactions. We work with radiologists and epidemiologists to translate findings to the clinic. Our long-term goal is to specify the earliest events in invasion and metastasis. This information will help to guide the development of early detection and risk stratification tools and point to risk-reducing therapeutics.

 

Jafi Lipson, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology


Research Interests: Dr. Lipson is an investigator and faculty member in the Stanford University School of Medicine Department of Radiology, Breast Imaging Division. Her clinical work includes screening and diagnostic mammography, diagnostic breast ultrasound, screening and diagnostic breast MRI, and minimally invasive breast biopsy and wire localization guided by x-ray, ultrasound, and MRI. Her research interests include mammographic density and breast cancer risk assessment; early breast cancer detection and extent of disease evaluation using contrast enhanced mammography and MRI; and novel blood and imaging biomarkers of breast cancer burden and neoadjuvant treatment response.

Ann Leung, MD
Professor, Department of Radiology


Research Interests:

  1. Correlation of CT imaging features to genomic data in patients with lung cancer.
  2. Correlation of CT imaging features of lung adenocarcinoma to histology and tumor aggressiveness.
  3. Optimizing technique of low-dose lung cancer screening CT studies to minimize radiation dose.

Sanjay Malhotra, PhD, FRSC
Associate Professor (Research), Radiation Oncology- Radiation and Cancer Biology
Associate Professor (Research), Radiology- Nuclear Medicine


Research Interests: The Malhotra Laboratory in the Department of Radiation Oncology- Division of Cancer Biology at Stanford University is focused on the design and discovery of synthetic, and natural product inspired by small molecules which can be used as probes for developing an understanding of biological phenomena, which include protein-protein interactions and modulation of signal transduction pathways. The Malhotra laboratory employs the use of synthetic medicinal chemistry, molecular modeling, and chemical biology for translational research in drug discovery, development, imaging, and radiation. We are a multi-disciplinary group with expertise in biology, chemistry, and medicine working towards understanding radiation and cancer biology and improving treatment of human disease.

Ingrid Oakley-Girvan, PhD, MPH, BS
Research Scientist II, CPIC
Consulting Assistant Professor, Health Research & Policy


Research Interests: Dr. Oakley-Girvan is interested in merging exquisitely captured multi-disciplinary data and novel epidemiologic study design to improve how we measure gene-environment interactions that lead to cancer and cancer mortality, particularly for breast, prostate and thyroid cancers.  Some of my current work includes evaluating potential biomarkers of environmental and lifestyle exposures (telomeres, cytokines, epigenetic changes, and other markers of health and aging) and their relationship to cancer incidence and survival. My team has used biosensors and a collaborative multi-disciplinary approach to help capture this data and is engaged in leveraging naturally occurring human experiments that provide information on gene-environment interactions during critical exposure periods such as childhood.  We are committed to reducing disparities in disease incidence and outcomes and as a result, have demonstrated experience in community based participatory research and are highly successful in enrolling diverse patient and matching control populations.

(Paul) Ramasamy Paulmurugan, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology


Research Interests: Dr. Paulmurugan's research interests are to develop in vivo imaging strategies for studying cellular signal transduction networks. A signal transduction network is a regulated biochemical process by which cells convert extracellular stimuli to execute functional changes within the cells. This network involves many proteins, nucleic acids, small molecule ligands, and other physical agents present within the cells and/or in the extracellular matrix. The intact signal transduction network is important for maintaining cells at their normal functional state.

Sylvia Plevritis, PhD
Professor, Department of Radiology


Research Interests: Dr. Plevritis is the co-Section Chief of Integrative Biomedical Imaging Informatics (IBIIS) and Director of the NCI Stanford Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB). Dr. Plevritis' research bridges multiple levels of "big data" in cancer, including genomic, proteomic, medical imaging and clinical outcomes data. Her research aims to model the natural history of cancer by identifying molecular drivers of cancer progression from early to late stages, in order to formulate novel strategies for early detection and treatment. She also develops models of clinical cancer progression from cancer registries and clinical trials in order to evaluate the effectiveness of new cancer screening strategies.

Nathalie Scholler, MD, PhD
Director, Cancer Immunology - Center for Cancer and Metabolism, SRI International Biosciences Division


Research Interests: In her role as Director, Cancer Immunology at SRI International, Dr. Scholler identifies novel strategies and methods for immunodiagnostic and immunotherapy of cancer. This function is the natural continuation of a long time interest in immunology and cancer. She studied medicine in France and presented a thesis in Immunology after 5 year training in the laboratory of Pierre Golstein (CIML, France) who discovered two powerful immunosuppressive molecules, CTLA-4 and IL17. After a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Peter Linsley (BMS Seattle, WA) who identified CTLA-4 ligands, she joined the group of Ingegerd and Karl-Eric Hellström at the Pacific Northwest Research Institute, Seattle, WA who discovered that mesothelin (MSLN) is a soluble marker for ovarian cancer. To detect mesothelin in cancer patient sera, they first developed an ELISA assay now commercialized by Fujirebio, Inc. as MesomarkTM. Later, to enable epidemiological studies directed by Dr. Nicole Urban at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC, Seattle, WA), they engineered site-specific biotinylated recombinant antibodies secreted by yeast (biobodies). In 2007, Dr. Scholler moved to the University of Pennsylvania as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology and studied the role of innate immunity in the tumor environment and in ovarian cancer progression. Using recombinant antibodies, they also developed new affinity reagents for various clinically relevant applications such as targeted-diagnostic and -therapy.

Olav Solgaard, PhD
Professor - Department of Electrical Engineering


Research Interests: Optical sensors, optical microscopy, and atomic force microscopy for in-vivo and ex-vivo studies of cancer and stem cell biology.

Geoffrey Sonn, MD
Assistant Professor - Department of Urology


Research Interests: Dr. Sonn’s research team focuses on the development and validation of novel imaging modalities (MRI, ultrasound, molecular imaging) and medical devices that will improve the care of men with prostate cancer by reducing treatment-related side effects. Multidisciplinary collaboration with urologists, radiologists, scientists and engineers at Stanford is critical to achieving this goal. Dr. Sonn directs the MRI-Ultrasound fusion targeted prostate biopsy program at the Stanford Cancer Center. Image-guidance techniques currently used for targeted biopsy will be optimized and employed for image-guided focal ablation of prostate cancer. Focal cancer ablation will then be tested in clinical trials.

Shan Wang, PhD
Professor - Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Professor (By courtesy) - Department of Radiology


Research Interests: Over the past 10 years the Wang lab made distinctive contributions to magneto-nanosensors and has been considered among the select few pioneers in the use of magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) and giant magnetoresistive (GMR) sensors for bio-detection. The Wang lab published a series of important papers and patents on MNP and GMR sensors and their biological applications (e.g., PNAS, 105, 20637-40, 2008; US Patent No. 7,419,639, issued Sept. 2, 2008; Nature Medicine, 15, 1327-32, 2009; Nature Nanotechnology, 2011; Nature Communication, 2013). The Wang lab reported attomolar to femtomolar sensitivities for protein biomarkers, and the technology platform is being applied to in-vitro diagnostics of cancer, radiation exposure, autoimmunity and infectious diseases. The magneto-nanosensor is an enabling technology for rapid in-vitro cancer diagnostics, and a cornerstone of Stanford-based Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence established by National Cancer Institute. Over the last two years the Wang lab started developing peptide-based magneto-nanosensors for detecting autoantibodies in collaboration with the Utz lab and Intel Corporation, demonstrating that the nanosensors can measure single amino acid mutation and peptide-autoantibody kinetics in a highly multiplexed manner.

Robert West, MD, PhD
Associate Professor - Department of Pathology


Research Interests: Dr. West is interested in the genomics of early neoplasia, with a focus on breast neoplasia. Dr. West's laboratory develops and applies genomic and in situ techniques to archival clinical samples to generate a better understanding of the events that occur in the progression to invasive carcinoma. The goal of the laboratory is to create assays that can be used to address clinically significant questions involved in the prevention of cancer.

Joy Wu, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine - Endocrinology


Research Interests: Dr. Joy Wu is a board-certified endocrinologist with over 12 years' experience who specializes in treating women and men with osteoporosis and other bone and mineral diseases. She has a special interest in optimizing skeletal health for those at risk of bone loss from glucocorticoid treatment, cancer therapies, or organ transplant. The Joy Wu Lab is focused on the role of bone-forming osteoblasts in the bone marrow hematopoietic and malignant niche. They have demonstrated that parathyroid hormone (PTH) decreases breast cancer metastases to bone, and are now examining the early molecular events that underlie this protective effect of PTH. We have been manipulating PTH receptor signaling genetically and pharmacologically in mice with breast cancer, and use bioluminescence imaging and flow cytometry to follow the initial stages of breast cancer spread to bone. 

Advising Members


William Kenneth Pratt, PhD
President - Pixel Soft, Inc. 


Research Interests: Dr. Pratt has expertise in digital image processing and image and video coding as well as image sensing and display. He believes that this expertise should prove useful in reviewing Canary Center project grant proposals, which involve image sensing, processing and display. His most recent publication is his textbook "Introduction to Digital Image Processing" to be published by CRC Press in Fall 2013.

RIchard Koo, PhD


Research Interests: Dr. Koo is interested in applying state of the art computing techniques to advance the state of art in cancer detection: particularly in the application of data mining and other big data tools. He is also interested in leveraging the cloud to help bio-medical researchers and clinicians to collaborate quicker and deeper, to break down organizational walls and data dis-organization.

Ananth Srinivasan, PhD
Consulting Professor - Department of Radiology
Voice: (650) 725-7062
E-mail » asrini01@stanford.edu