Honors & Awards


  • Training in Biomedical Imaging & Instrumentation (TBI2) Fellow, Stanford Bioengineering Department (2016-2017)
  • UC Regents Scholar, The Regents of the University of California (2010-2014)
  • Whitaker Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellow, Whitaker International Program (2014)
  • ThinkSwiss Research Scholarship, Embassy of Switzerland (2014)

Professional Affiliations and Activities


  • Member, Tau Beta Pi (2015 - Present)

Education & Certifications


  • Master of Science, Stanford University, BIOE-MS (2017)
  • Bachelor of Science, UC Davis, Biomedical Engineering (2015)

Service, Volunteer and Community Work


  • Stanford Science Penpals, Stanford University

    Mentor high school students via letter communication. Describe my current work and how I got here, and encourage the students to enter STEM fields.

    Location

    California

  • Mentor for Stanford Medical Youth Science Program, Stanford University

    Stanford Medical Youth Science Program is a five-week residential enrichment program focused on science and medicine that is open to low-income, underrepresented high school sophomores and juniors who live in Northern and Central California.

    During the summers of 2016, 2017, and 2018, I have served as a mentor for the participants. Activities included meeting up with them weekly for conversations and inspiration about entering the medical field. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience.

    Location

    Stanford, California

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


Biomedical Imaging and Instrumentation, Early Cancer Detection

Work Experience


  • Pre-Graduate Research Intern, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (June 1, 2015 - August 31, 2015)

    Developed methods to improve tissue imaging on a light sheet microscope.

    Location

    Cambridge, Massachusetts

All Publications


  • Engineered immune cells as highly sensitive cancer diagnostics NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY Aalipour, A., Chuang, H., Murty, S., D'Souza, A. L., Park, S., Gulati, G. S., Patel, C. B., Beinat, C., Simonetta, F., Martinic, I., Gowrishankar, G., Robinson, E. R., Aalipour, E., Zhian, Z., Gambhir, S. S. 2019; 37 (5): 531-+
  • The characterization of 18F-hGTS13 for molecular imaging of xC- transporter activity with positron emission tomography. Journal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine Beinat, C., Gowrishankar, G., Shen, B., Alam, I. S., Robinson, E., Haywood, T., Patel, C. B., Azevedo, E. C., Castillo, J., Ilovich, O., Koglin, N., Schmitt-Willich, H., Berndt, M., Mueller, A., Zerna, M., Srinivasan, A., Gambhir, S. S. 2019

    Abstract

    Purpose: The aim of this study was development of an improved positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer for measuring xC- activity with increased tumor uptake and reduced uptake in inflammatory cells compared to (S)-4-(3-18F-Fluoropropyl)-L-glutamic acid (18F-FSPG). Experimental design: A racemic glutamate derivative, 18F-hGTS13 was evaluated in cell culture and animal tumor models. 18F-hGTS13 was separated into C5-epimers and the corresponding 18F-hGTS13-isomer1 and 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 evaluated in H460 tumor bearing rats. Preliminary studies investigate the cellular uptake of 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 in multiple immune cell populations and states. Results:18F-hGTS13 demonstrated excellent H460 tumor visualization with high tumor-to-background ratios, confirmed by ex vivo biodistribution studies. Tumor associated radioactivity of 18F-hGTS13 (7.5±0.9%ID/g, n = 3) was significantly higher than with 18F-FSPG (4.6±0.7%ID/g, n = 3, P = 0.01). 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 exhibited excellent H460 tumor visualization (6.3±1.1%ID/g, n-3), and significantly reduced uptake in multiple immune cell populations relative to 18F-FSPG. 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 exhibited increased liver uptake relative to 18F-FSPG (4.6±0.8%ID/g vs. 0.7±0.01%ID/g) limiting its application in hepatocellular carcinoma. Conclusion:18F-hGTS13-isomer2 is a new PET radiotracer for molecular imaging of xC- activity which may provide information regarding tumor oxidation states. 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 has potential for clinical translation for imaging cancers of the thorax due to the low background signal in healthy tissue.

    View details for DOI 10.2967/jnumed.119.225870

    View details for PubMedID 31171595

  • Engineered immune cells as highly sensitive cancer diagnostics. Nature biotechnology Aalipour, A., Chuang, H. Y., Murty, S., D'Souza, A. L., Park, S. M., Gulati, G. S., Patel, C. B., Beinat, C., Simonetta, F., Martinić, I., Gowrishankar, G., Robinson, E. R., Aalipour, E., Zhian, Z., Gambhir, S. S. 2019

    Abstract

    Endogenous biomarkers remain at the forefront of early disease detection efforts, but many lack the sensitivities and specificities necessary to influence disease management. Here, we describe a cell-based in vivo sensor for highly sensitive early cancer detection. We engineer macrophages to produce a synthetic reporter on adopting an M2 tumor-associated metabolic profile by coupling luciferase expression to activation of the arginase-1 promoter. After adoptive transfer in colorectal and breast mouse tumor models, the engineered macrophages migrated to the tumors and activated arginase-1 so that they could be detected by bioluminescence imaging and luciferase measured in the blood. The macrophage sensor detected tumors as small as 25-50 mm3 by blood luciferase measurements, even in the presence of concomitant inflammation, and was more sensitive than clinically used protein and nucleic acid cancer biomarkers. Macrophage sensors also effectively tracked the immunological response in muscle and lung models of inflammation, suggesting the potential utility of this approach in disease states other than cancer.

    View details for PubMedID 30886438

  • Tumor Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicle-Coated Nanocarriers: An Efficient Theranostic Platform for the Cancer-Specific Delivery of Anti-miR-21 and Imaging Agents. ACS nano Jc Bose, R., Uday Kumar, S., Zeng, Y., Afjei, R., Robinson, E., Lau, K., Bermudez, A., Habte, F., Pitteri, S. J., Sinclair, R., Willmann, J. K., Massoud, T. F., Gambhir, S. S., Paulmurugan, R. 2018

    Abstract

    MicroRNAs are critical regulators of cancer initiation, progression, and dissemination. Extensive evidence suggests that the inhibition of over-expressed oncogenic miRNA function can be a robust strategy for anticancer therapy. However, in vivo targeted delivery of miRNA therapeutics to various types of cancers remains a major challenge. Inspired by their natural synthesis and cargo delivery capabilities, researchers have exploited tumor cell-derived extracellular vesicles (TEVs) for the cancer-targeted delivery of therapeutics and theranostics. Here, we investigate a TEV-based nanoplatform for multimodal miRNA delivery and phototherapy treatments as well as the magnetic resonance imaging of cancer. We demonstrated loading of anti-miR-21 that blocks the function of endogenous oncogenic miR-21 over-expressed in cancer cells into and subsequent delivery by TEVs derived from 4T1 cells. We also produced Cy5-anti-miR-21-loaded TEVs from two other cancer cell lines (HepG2 and SKBR3) and confirmed their robust homologous and heterologous transfection efficiency and intracellular Cy5-anti-miR-21 delivery. Additionally, TEV-mediated anti-miR-21 delivery attenuated doxorubicin (DOX) resistance in breast cancer cells with a 3-fold higher cell kill efficiency than in cells treated with DOX alone. We then investigated TEVs as a biomimetic source for the functionalization of gold-iron oxide nanoparticles (GIONs) and demonstrated nanotheranostic properties of TEV-GIONs in vitro. TEV-GIONs demonstrated excellent T2 contrast in in vitro magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and resulted in efficient photothermal effect in 4T1 cells. We also evaluated the biodistribution and theranostic property of anti-miR-21 loaded TEV-GIONs in vivo by labeling with indocyanine green near-infrared dye. We further validated the tumor specific accumulation of TEV-GIONs using MR imaging. Our findings demonstrate that the distribution pattern of the TEV-anti-miR-21-GIONs correlated well with the tumor-targeting capability as well as the activity and efficacy obtained in response to doxorubicin combination treatments. TEVs and TEV-GIONs are promising nanotheranostics for future applications in cancer molecular imaging and therapy.

    View details for PubMedID 30346694