Class of 2022
Wenbo Gu, PhD
"I grew up in China and received my B.E. in Engineering Physics at Tsinghua University. After graduation I worked as a research assistant on Medical Imaging at Tsinghua University for one year, investigating the motion correction effect in PET/MR imaging. Then I moved to Los Angeles, CA and pursed my PhD in Biology and Physics in Medicine (Biomedical Physics) at UCLA. My PhD research focused on treatment planning and inverse optimization. In my thesis, I developed automated beam orientation optimization algorithms for Intensity-Modulated Proton Therapy to improve planning efficiency, dosimetry and robustness. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, running and hiking."
Michael Salerno, MBA, PhD
"I was born and raised in West Babylon, NY and received my undergraduate degree in physics at Stony Brook University. During my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity to pursue an MBA with a concentration in healthcare management alongside my physics courses. I continued my studies at Stony Brook University to pursue a PhD in biomedical engineering, where my research focused on the development of novel neuroimaging techniques and applications. During my graduate studies, I was awarded the 2017-2018 STEM Chateaubriand Fellowship, where I spent 9 months in Paris, France working on a project involving the integration of positron emission tomography and functional ultrasound imaging for simultaneous neuroimaging in conscious rats. In my free time, I enjoy spending time on the water and building and flying RC quadcopters.”
Suk Whan "Paul" Yoon, PhD
"I was born and raised in Daejeon, South Korea until age of 10 when I moved to Atlanta, Georgia. I attended Emory University, where I received a BA in Chemistry and BS in Physics, then Duke University Graduate Program in Medical Physics, where I studied for 6 years for my doctorate in Medical Physics. My dissertation was on a novel method of activating immunogenic photo-drug, psoralen, using Cherenkov radiation physics and / or energy modulating micro-particles to convert ionizing radiation to a source of internal light. My current academic interests include medical uses of virtual and augmented reality, CBCT-based adaptive radiotherapy, 3D dosimetry, small animal irradiation, immunotherapy, and 3D-printing, and my clinical interests include adaptive radiotherapy, SBRT/SRS and proton therapy. In my free time, I play stringed instruments, cello being my absolute favorite one and one I can call myself “semi-professional” at - but I also play violin, guitar, and piano. I also compose and record music whenever possible."
Zheng Zhang, PhD
"I was born and raised in Chongqing, a province-level municipality of China mostly known for the mountainous terrain and spicy food. I received a BS in Materials Science from Zhejiang University, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from University of Colorado Boulder. I studied nanoscale polymers in graduate school, and later at Brookhaven National Laboratory, via synchrotron X-ray scattering experiments. In 2018, I took the opportunity to work on a translational clinical improvement project at Mayo Clinic Rochester. There, I developed an in-house software tool for real-time internal organ motion verification during patient setup and proton beam-on. Away from work, I explore Philly’s awesome food scene, CrossFit (on-and-off), and contribute to the civil oversight efforts for backlogged employment-based immigrants."
Class of 2023
Yushi Chang, PhD
I grew up in a coastal city in northeast China. I received a BS in optical information science at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. After graduation, I continued my MS studies at Duke Kunshan University to pursue my interest in Medical Physics and experience a hybrid of American and Chinese education philosophies. My master’s thesis research focused on radiomics and machine learning. I then pursued a PhD in Medical Physics at Duke University, where my research focused on developing a realistic digital anthropomorphic phantom using deep learning techniques. In my spare time, I enjoy jogging, outdoor activities, and watching sports games. Cooking, exploring restaurants, traveling, and chatting with friends can always bring me joy!
Brent Covele, PhD
After having grown up among the corn and soy fields of central Indiana, I have lived in several parts of the US. After obtaining my BSc in Physics at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (2007), I proceeded to the University of Texas at Austin to pursue magnetic confinement fusion research and my PhD (2014), focusing on the notorious tokamak heat exhaust challenge. This led to a staff position at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego, where I served as group leader for Divertor Development and Integration. Acting on a growing desire to be in public service, I exited the fusion community and turned to therapeutic medical physics. I was fortunate to work with Kevin Moore at UC San Diego in knowledge-based planning for external beam radiotherapy. In the span of two years, I became a proud co-developer of the ORBIT-RT platform, an entirely free, web-based, real-time platform for providing knowledge-based DVH predictions for various organs at risk of several disease sites. Ready now for clinical training, I have once again traversed the continent for residency, and I couldn’t be more excited! I bring with me a partner of 8 years and a 60-lb. Shepherd mix named Taz.
Allison Haertter, MS
After growing up in Reading, Pennsylvania, I received a BS degree in Applied Physics from West Virginia Wesleyan College. After doing a AAPM funded summer internship at the University of Pennsylvania on DECT, I decided to pursue an MS degree in Medical Physics at the University of Pennsylvania with research focuses on proton FLASH radiotherapy. When I’m not working, you can usually find me on the Schuylkill River Trail running or biking, exploring the great Philadelphia restaurant scene, or playing with my cat.
Anthony Kassaee, MS
I was born and raised in Downingtown Pennsylvania and attended The Pennsylvania State University for my undergraduate studies receiving a BS in Chemical Engineering (2019). I transitioned to Medical Physics through a series of undergraduate internships at the University of Pennsylvania's Radiation Oncology Department where I was fortunate enough to work with great professors on fascinating clinical research which captured my interest in the field. Following those experiences, I attended graduate school at The University of Pennsylvania and received a Master’s degree in Medical Physics (2021). In my master’s degree, I helped develop and implement Dual-Energy-Computed-Tomography for proton dose calculation into our clinic, as well as help implement Stereotactic-Body-Radiation-Therapy onto the Varian Halcyon. My academic interests stem from my drive for clinical improvement through using new technologies to advance the field further along with being an educator and mentor to those who follow me. In my spare time, I enjoy spending it outside or cheering on Philadelphia sports with friends, family, along with my girlfriend and our two cats.
Priyash Singh, MS
I grew up in northern India in a town called Lucknow. I moved to Mumbai to obtain a dual degree (bachelors & masters) in Engineering Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. I also spent a year in Canada at the University of Toronto as an exchange student. There I got an opportunity to work on a project involving laser physics for detecting cancers which introduced me to the field of medical physics. Very recently, I’ve graduated from the masters in Medical Physics program at the University of Pennsylvania where my thesis involved formulating novel reconstruction algorithms that facilitate real-time 4D tomosynthesis for breast biopsy procedures. I also worked on a research project investigating dose calculating algorithms for Lung SBRT using proton radiation. In my free time, I take comfort in reading books, enjoy sketching and try my best to cook food.
Class of 2024
Julia Pakela, PhD
I was born in northern Indiana and moved to Ann Arbor Michigan when I was 11. I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, earning a bachelor’s degree in Physics with minors in Biochemistry and Language, Literature, and Culture of Ancient Rome. I continued my education at UM earning a PhD in Applied Physics, where I investigated the use of stochastic optimization and deep learning algorithms incorporating elements of quantum theory for radiotherapy treatment planning and prediction of patient anatomical changes for adaptive planning. My research interests broadly include the use of computing (including optimization, machine learning, and deep machine learning) to advance radiotherapy treatment as well as the ethical challenges of incorporating artificial intelligence into the radiotherapy workflow. In my free time I enjoy cooking and learning about the history and origins of different cuisines, attending live jazz and classical concerts with my husband, and binging true crime documentaries.