2021 Summer Intern Report: Jackie Brenner


Penn State University/Harvard University, Class of 2021

Review paper on Theranostics in the Vasculature: Bioeffects of Ultrasound and Microbubbles to Induce Vascular Shut Down
Cancer Immunotherapy Landscape Analysis

Project Overview
Under the tutelage of Dr. Fred Padilla, I had the privilege of contributing as a co-author on and creating the original medical illustrations for a review paper entitled, “Theranostics in the vasculature: bioeffects of ultrasound and microbubbles to induce vascular shutdown.” I am also leading a landscape analysis for focused ultrasound and immuno-oncology in preparation for the upcoming workshop.

After finally receiving clearance to join my team in the preclinical laboratory at the University of Virginia after COVID restrictions were lifted, I assisted in researching whether the combination of focused ultrasound and radiation compared to radiation alone, could improve survival in a subcutaneous preclinical glioblastoma model and evaluated whether mild hyperthermia or microvascular disruption is the most effective focused ultrasound mechanism of action.

Project Outcomes
The review paper is being submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal this month. The landscape analysis for the immuno-oncology workshop is ongoing, and the focused ultrasound radio sensitization project is ongoing with no results available to date.

Why were you initially interested in working with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation?
Having performed research with Dr. Natasha Sheybani in 2019, I was eager to return to the Foundation and continue to learn about the various mechanisms of action for FUS in the treatment of brain tumors.

Describe your experience as an intern.
Although the first few months of my internship was remote due to the pandemic, I performed extensive literature reviews to understand the ability of focused ultrasound to induce vascular shutdown and enjoyed engaging in discussions with Dr. Padilla to understand some complex mechanisms of action. I thoroughly enjoyed these conversations, which allowed me to put my knowledge of basic science and physics into practical context. Performing the landscape analysis for the immune-oncology workshop has taught me about an entirely new mechanisms of action of focused ultrasound, and I am excited to analyze the data.

Joining my team in the preclinical lab with Dr. Padilla, Dr. Xu, and Dr. Sheehan was perhaps the highlight of my internship. I was immediately inspired by their passion, intelligence, kindness, and humility. I enjoyed learning about how to perform the focused ultrasound treatments and radiation treatment on the lab animals and the importance of maintaining detailed records of processes and procedures.

How will your accomplishments impact the field of focused ultrasound?
My only hope is that my efforts this summer will help at least one patient suffer less and live longer!

Has your internship affected your career plans? If so, how?
Yes, I would like to attend a medical school where I can continue to perform preclinical focused ultrasound research and well as shadow clinicians using focused ultrasound for commercial applications and clinical trials.

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2019 Summer Intern Report: Jackie Brenner August 2019