Class of 2021
Akash, an Illinois native, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2017 with a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. His research experiences include (1) studying polymeric encapsulation and controlled release of active ingredients to engineer smart materials and (2) designing a disease-associated cachexia project to understand how muscle stem cells contribute to muscle homeostasis, misregulation in muscular dystrophies, sarcoma or during sarcopenia. While at the University of Illinois, Akash also had opportunities to assist in the development of social entrepreneurship-based projects and find sustainable solutions to real-world problems. He worked with a group of scholars to develop a low-cost filtration system (development, testing, implementation) to provide an accessible and safe supply of clean water in the vicinity of small villages across the world. Akash is excited to continue developing his interests in entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary problem-solving to find issues, come up with a plan, and then take action.
Ben is from the suburbs of Chicago and attended the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign majoring in Molecular & Biology and Psychology. During his undergraduate education, he pursued research in computer modeling of metabolism as well as a project in psychopathology. After graduating, he worked on a research project at the University of Chicago examining the genetics of thyroid disorders. He hopes to continue to research and find opportunities for innovation in academic medicine and in the inpatient setting to make hospitals more cost efficient.
Erik Romano graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Loyola University Chicago and has worked as a software engineer for over 15 years in the tech industry. Most of Erik’s professional career was spent at Microsoft where he worked on Windows as well as other consumer and enterprise software. Erik has also worked on speech recognition applications at Motorola and marketing analytics software at Nielsen. Erik began his transition into medicine and received a Master of Science degree in Medical Physiology from Loyola. As a member of the IMED program within the College of Medicine at UIC, Erik combines his professional experience in technology with the study of medicine. His goals are to practice medicine with a deep focus on developing large-scale medical innovations, which would provide patient care that is safe, efficient, cost effective, and of the highest quality.
Jack grew up in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. He attended Yale University and graduated in 2016 with a degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. During his time in New Haven, he became a certified EMT and worked for several different EMS agencies. While working at a private EMS company, he participated in a project to test a new ambulance model. After graduation and before starting at UICCOM, Jack joined a neurosurgery lab at UIC that has an emphasis on treatment innovations. He worked on projects involving targeted chemotherapy treatments in spinal cancer and spinal cord injury recovery. He is excited to engage with this cohort of IMED students and take part in deep thinking and problem solving. When not at school, Jack enjoys to travel, sit by the Lake, and cook.
John earned both his B.S. and M.S in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University. His interest for innovation was first sparked by an internship at a speciality chemicals company in the Joliet, IL. Before coming to medical school, John worked in drug product development at GlaxoSmithKline’s global vaccines R&D center in Rockville, MD, while spending his weekends backpacking in the Mid-Atlantic. In the IMED program he hopes to leverage his knowledge of transport phenomenon, materials science, and process design to produce innovations that could be clinically relevant. Outside of medicine John is an avid runner and hiker. He also enjoys reading and volunteering in local ecological restoration projects.
Manpreet grew up in Cupertino, California and is a first year medical student at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in Integrative Biology. While in school Manpreet worked on research in biomechanics and physiology. He used computer simulation, animal tracking techniques, and physical modeling to observe how different species have evolved different ways to tackle the problem of locomotion. The goal of the lab was to develop more precise search and rescue robots and artificial limbs. Manpreet looks forward to combining his interest in medicine and innovation through the IMED program. In his downtime, Manpreet enjoys playing a bunch of different sports, dancing, and hanging out with friends.
Michael graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Computer Science. Interested in the human element of innovation as much as the technological side, he seeks to build connections between people in medicine and in tech, and he hopes to foster a culture of lateral thinking among physicians, all the better to serve patients. Before medical school, he sampled Google Glass, gained experience in emergency departments and ambulances, installed drywall and flooring for the family’s side venture, and worked in an informatics center experimenting with the SMART-on-FHIR electronic health record-based interoperable app platform, among other projects. Outside of medicine and tech, Michael uses photography as a convenient excuse to connect with friends while exploring new places and activities. He welcomes opportunities to collaborate on digital-health initiatives. (Photo: Maya Fraser)
Rishi grew up in the suburbs of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and has always had a passion for technology in medicine. He built upon this interest at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he got his B.S. in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Bioengineering. After graduating, he stayed at UIUC and received his Master’s Degree in Biomedical Instrumentation. His research experiences include working with OSF Healthcare in Peoria to develop a fully automated blood transfusion system to treat neonatal jaundice as well as designing MRI pulse sequences that measured proton resonance frequency shifts to map local radiofrequency hot spots in vivo. As part of the IMED program, he hopes apply the engineering skills he has acquired to help develop medical devices that will reduce the burden on physicians as well as improve patient outcomes. In his free time, Rishi enjoys running, playing basketball and soccer, and watching the Los Angeles Lakers!
Rown grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where his early interest in physics led him to undergraduate majors in nuclear engineering and math at the University of Wisconsin. His experience with innovation in medicine began as a medical physicist in radiation oncology and diagnostic imaging. After receiving an M.S. in medical physics, Rown worked clinically delivering proton radiotherapy and radiosurgery in Indiana and Illinois. Rown’s work in industry included educating other medical professionals around the globe as well as research and development in radiosurgery treatment planning software. He looks forward to applying physics principles at the intersection of medicine and technology to develop new techniques and tools that improve patient care.
Ryan graduated from the University of Washington in 2013 with a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry. He then moved to Chicago and worked as an ER technician on the south side where he developed an understanding of some of the unique challenges in the field of emergency medicine. He has experience patenting projects of his in the past and looks forward to developing a network of innovators to help take future ideas to market. His hobbies include rock climbing, martial arts, competitive gaming, and cooking.
A Chicago native, Vihas is a medical student at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He earned a Master’s Degree in Pharmacology from Tulane University and previously graduated from Case Western Reserve University with Bachelor’s degrees in Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, and the Natural Sciences. His research experience includes work in the pathogenesis of Amyloid Beta in Alzheimer’s Disease, the inheritance patterns of testicular germ cell tumors, the identification of novel nitric oxide synthase mechanisms, natural product research against M. Tuberculosis, and clinical research using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. As a part of IMED, he hopes to implement systematic interdisciplinary collaboration between physicians and researchers to reduce inefficiency and accelerate the incorporation of pioneering technologies in patient care. In his spare time, Vihas enjoys tennis, hiking, and coffee.
Young Jun Lee
Young Jun graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, with a focus on semiconductors. He worked at Northwestern Sleep Lab as a research coordinator to examine the effect of dronabinol on sleep apnea. He received his Master’s at Georgetown University’s Special Master Program. Young looks forward to working with the IMED team to create hardware solutions. On his free time, he likes to run, bike, and play the acoustic guitar.