Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, is the first pediatric medical center to be named a Focused Ultrasound Foundation Center of Excellence. The site becomes our ninth Center of Excellence worldwide.

This summer, the Foundation accepted seven students and recent graduates to work remotely on a range of projects. With both technical and non-technical endeavors, interns worked on machine learning, Open Science policy, and treatment and technology research. Others worked with Foundation team members in the communications department and within the Foundation’s FUS Partners program.

The Foundation's summer technical internships are generously funded by the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation. The Claude Moore Summer Internship Program of the Charles Steger Focused Ultrasound Internship Program is designed to foster interest in focused ultrasound technology among the next generation of researchers.

Despite not working in the office this summer, Foundation interns were still able to gain a thorough understanding of the technology and the Foundation. To supplement their experience, the Foundation’s Director of Extramural Research, Matt Eames, PhD, coordinated a Zoom lecture series focusing on the different facets of focused ultrasound. At the close of the summer, the technical interns were invited to present their projects and findings as part of a virtual showcase for Foundation staff and invited guests.

“This year’s internship program was successfully adapted to provide educational content for and produce meaningful results from each intern as we worked within state and federal COVID-19 guidelines,” said Dr. Eames. “Recurring ‘lab meetings’ were held virtually, with ad-hoc Zoom meetings held as needed in lieu of being able to walk down the hall to ask questions. In addition to ample pre-recorded webinar and course materials, our in-house science staff and collaborating researchers provided eight live zoom lectures on focused ultrasound topics relevant to this summer’s intern projects. The live presentations were a great opportunity for interns to ask questions and interact with staff and leading researchers around the world.”

“Being a Foundation intern this summer was an excellent combination of contribution and education,” said Charlie Manning, a recent graduate of the College of William and Mary. “Being brand new to the field, I spent a significant portion of my time learning. Importantly for me, this education was paired with ample opportunity to contribute and produce work as well.”

We want to thank one of our 2020 interns, Annabel Taylor, for compiling overviews of her fellow interns’ experiences at the Foundation this summer.

Click on each intern below to read a summary of their project and learn about their experience:  

2020 Intern John Carlini squareJon Carlini
University of Virginia Darden School of Business
FUS Partners

2020 Intern Yisha He squareYisha He
University of Virginia
Testing the Treatment Effect of Focused Ultrasound on Enhancing Host Antitumor Immune Response

2020 Intern Charlie Manning squareCharlie Manning
College of William and Mary
Focused Ultrasound and Open Science

2020 Intern Jack Snell squareJohn “Jack” Snell
Piedmont Virginia Community College
Blood-Brain Barrier Opening Virtual Reality Simulation Project

2020 Intern Juliette Strubel squareJuliette Strubel
University of Exeter, UK
Blood-Brain Barrier Opening for Drug Delivery

2020 Intern Annabel Taylor squareAnnabel Taylor
University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce
Communications and Social Media Growth

2020 Intern Erin Wettstone squareErin Wettstone
University of Virginia
Low-cost Hydrophone System and Treatment System for Pancreatic Cancer and Preclinical Trials

2020 Intern John Carlini square lgBackground
University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, Class of 2021

FUS Partners | Darden Internship

Project Overview
I worked closely with the FUS Partners team on projects that drive focused ultrasound technology commercialization and accelerate its mainstream adoption as a standard of care for various disease indications. The three main projects I contributed to were: the United Healthcare Group matrix, the Industry Revenue Models presentation for the 7th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound commercialization day and the updated FUS Partners Pitchbook.

Project Outcomes
For the United Healthcare Group matrix, I focused on mapping their ambulatory surgery centers. In both the Revenue Models presentation and the updated FUS Partners Pitchbook, I provided strategic insights leaning on my prior medical device sales experience.

Why were you initially interested in working with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation?
In 2006, I started working as an orthopedic device sales representative for a market-leading manufacturer that developed technologies that drove the transition from open shoulder repairs to more minimally invasive arthroscopic repairs. I enjoyed watching this technology change the way that orthopedic surgeons customers treated their patients over time. As I learned more about focused ultrasound technology, I became interested in working with the Foundation because I believe the technology will revolutionize how many physicians treat their patients moving forward.

Share some thoughts on your experience as an intern at the Foundation.
It has been a pleasure working with and learning from Patrick Edelmann, James Franco, and the whole FUS Partners team. I also thoroughly enjoyed and learned a great deal from the technical training coordinated by Matt Eames.

I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to work with the Foundation. I have learned about the technology, the evolution of the industry, and the technology’s potential for the future. It has been an honor to work for an organization with the noble focus of improving “the lives of millions of people worldwide by accelerating the development of focused ultrasound, an early-stage noninvasive therapeutic technology with the potential to transform the treatment of many medical disorders.”

What was the most important learning point of your internship experience?
Between the vast number of focused ultrasound indications in clinical trials and the relatively small number of indications approved for reimbursement thus far, the industry’s potential is huge. The growth of the industry will accelerate as more indications become approved for reimbursement.

Has your internship affected your career plans? If so, how?
Yes. I am definitely interested in building on my experience this summer and hope to find a role that will help accelerate the commercialization and adoption of focused ultrasound.

What is one tip that you would give 2021 summer interns?
For both technical and non-technical interns, listen closely to the weekly technical training and ask as many questions of John Snell and Matt Eames as you can. Their experience and knowledge are deep, and the opportunity to learn from them is truly unique.
2020 Intern Yisha He squareBackground
University of Virginia, Class of 2020

Testing the Treatment Effect of Focused Ultrasound (Cavitation) on Enhancing Host Antitumor Immune Response

Project Overview
This project applies classification and clustering models in machine learning to find cell types that demonstrate a significant difference among treatments. With these models, we can test if a combined treatment of focused ultrasound and immune checkpoint inhibitors can better treat cancer than a single treatment.

The primary goal of this project was the application of multiple statistical models to analyze the Foundation's experimental data. The secondary goal was to automate the data cleaning and analytic process and make it accessible for use by the whole focused ultrasound community.

Project Outcomes
The statistical models suggest that a few cell types are affected by the different treatments applied, and the combined treatment with focused ultrasound (cavitation) and immune checkpoint inhibitors may affect the intratumoral immune cells population. I also created an R package that complies with all the functions to automate the data analytic process.

Why were you initially interested in working with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation?
I am passionate about medical research, and this internship offered an ideal opportunity for me to learn about focused ultrasound technology and improve my statistical modeling skills.

Share some thoughts on your experience as an intern at the Foundation.
Although I worked virtually throughout the entire internship, I was fully engaged with the Foundation and my supervisors through weekly meetings, webinars, and routine discussions. I would say this was one of my best work experiences.

Overall, the internship experience was thoroughly satisfying for me. The Foundation staff was very responsive whenever I encountered a problem. I appreciate everyone's effort to make this internship experience the best that it could be. I have yet to come up with anything that could have been improved. I just wish that I had had the chance to meet these lovely people in person.

How will your accomplishments impact the field of focused ultrasound?
My summer internship was directed by Prof. Frederic Padilla at the Foundation and Prof. Tianxi Li in the Department of Statistics at the University of Virginia. My summer project results will be included in a paper that is expected to be published, which I hope will promote the use of focused ultrasound for treating cancer.

What is one tip that you would give 2021 summer interns?
The Foundation is a great place to work, and don't hesitate to ask the staff whenever you have a question.

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