We caught up with four of the Young Investigator Award Recipients from 2014. Find out what they are up to now, what they thought of the experience, and their advice for 2016 applicants.
Q: What research did you present at the 2014 Symposium?
WL: I gave oral/poster presentations under the title of “FUS-mediated functional neuromodulation for neurophysiologic assessment in a large animal model.” An abstract of the study can be found in the Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound, and the research was recently published as two separate journal articles. The work was supported by a generous grant from the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in 2013.
KS: Immunomodulation of Prostate Cancer Cells After Low Energy Focused Ultrasound
SA: MR Guidance for Histotripsy Therapy
CD: I presented a new method for quantifying blood flow-related energy losses during MR-guided focused ultrasound thermal therapies. Knowing how much energy blood removes from the focal region can help with treatment planning and eventually may be used to evaluate biothermal models. This research was published in NMR in Biomedicine in 2015.
Q: It’s been more than a year since the Symposium. What are you doing now?
WL: I am working as a research associate at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Currently, I am formulating plans for the next steps of FUS neuromodulation research using small/large animals.
KS: I’m doing similar research, elucidating the exact effects of low intensity focused ultrasound on various tumor types with and without radiotherapy.
SA: I’m working on another, but related, project – MR feedback of lesions made by histotripsy.
CD: Since the Symposium, I have continued my Radiology postdoc at the University of Utah. My research project investigates why the T2-weighted signal intensity of uterine fibroids predicts treatment outcomes by characterizing the fibroids’ MR, thermal, acoustic, and histological properties.
Q: Describe your experience at the 2014 Symposium.
KS: Overall it was a great experience – I met many researchers from around the world and was able to put a lot of faces to the names. The 2014 symposium was my first major research conference during my PhD tenure, as well as my first presentation. It was a nerve-wracking experience, but the atmosphere was well suited for a “first-timer.”
SA: I really enjoyed the experience. I like smaller conferences, and I enjoyed the chance to meet with others.
CD: The 2014 FUS Symposium was wonderful. Beyond sharing and receiving feedback on my research, I was able to meet and hear from the top researchers and clinicians in my field of uterine fibroid MRgFUS, as well as exciting research areas like enhanced immunology and neuromodulation.
Q: How did being a Young Investigator award recipient impact your experience?
WL: I was able to participate in the symposium due to the financial support from the Foundation for the Young Investigator award. People at the conference expressed a lot of interest in my research, and it was exciting for me to delve into conversations with fellow researchers. As a recipient, I was able to incorporate myself into another new network of passionate scientists. Without the award, I would have missed out on a learning experience, and I am grateful to have been given the honor.
KS: As a Young Investigator, I received a lot of advice from PIs and other senior investigators who attended the conference that I might not have received otherwise. Their advice helped guide my design for future experiments.
CD: The award helped fund my trip to the conference and gave me an easy icebreaker for interacting with other young investigators. The award also served as a CV booster, reinforcing the importance and rigor of my research as I sought funding and academic research positions.
Q: Would you recommend others to apply for the Young Investigator award?
WL: Definitely. I want other young investigators to partake in this positive experience.
Q: Do you have any tips for researchers interested in applying for a Young Investigator award for the 2016 meeting?
WL: Work hard to advance research in the field, and be able to present good study contents/outcomes for the symposium participation. Also be prepared with a research profile and recommendation letter(s).
KS: Enjoy the process! It’s a great experience!
SA: Apply. It’s a lot of fun.