Malek Allababidi graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. Throughout his undergraduate career, he conducted research in cancer nanotechnology, where he synthesized iron oxide core silica nanoparticles for radiofrequency-triggered delivery of therapeutics in the treatment of cancer. He also led a team that designed a prototype medical device that would facilitate the insertion procedure for the Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) tube. After college, Malek engaged in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine research at UIC, where he investigated the use of siRNA gradients in the spatial control of bone tissue regeneration. These experiences have reinforced his desire for a career centered on innovation. As an IMED student, Malek hopes to grow into a physician innovator who can address clinical needs through novel technological solutions, and consequently advance the healthcare field. In his free time, Malek enjoys playing chess, basketball, and biking Chicago’s Lakefront Trail.
Dionna Bidny was raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, and attended UIC for her BS in biomedical engineering with a cell and tissue engineering concentration. During her time studying engineering, Dionna cultivated an interest in user-centered innovation, through projects including a multi-sensory fetal doppler accessible to Deaf parents, an improved bladder irrigation system, and a development of a therapeutic approach for musicians with Parkinson’s. Her interest in the interdisciplinary and her hobby of classical piano together motivated her to pursue a MMus in Musicology at the University of Glasgow during her gap year. For her Masters dissertation, Dionna investigated the cultural perception of disabled musicians in music performance, explored the gaps in accessible instrument design, and collaborated with an ensemble of disabled musicians to design a sonic visualization system to positively impact the live experience for both artist and audience. As a future performing arts medicine physician, Dionna looks forward to additional collaborative projects through IMED and beyond that explore the possibilities at the interdisciplinary, particularly with a focus on disability access and universal design. In addition to playing piano, Dionna enjoys reading books, rock climbing, pursuing various craft hobbies, and being the proud parent to numerous plants.
Klaudio Haxhillari grew up in Albany, NY. He attended Cornell University and earned a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences in 2019. At Cornell, he conducted undergraduate honors research on the gut microbiome. Prior to entering medical school, Klaudio worked as a scribe at a family medicine practice and then at a Heme/Onc office. He also volunteered as an EMT throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. During his early clinical experiences, Klaudio became interested in the ways in which innovation has changed medicine – from the evolution of prehospital equipment in EMS to new cancer therapies in Oncology. As a member of IMED and as a future physician innovator, Klaudio hopes to build upon the skills necessary to find novel solutions to evolving problems in medicine.
Sam Jiang was born in Beijing, China and grew up in Boston, MA. He received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Haverford College in Pennsylvania, where he created a real-time sign language-to-text translation device using computer vision and support vector machines for his thesis. After college, Sam worked as a full-stack software engineer at Fiserv, developing web applications and component libraries in ReactJS. Prior to starting medical school, he conducted research on non-invasive diagnostic techniques for isocitrate dehydrogenase-mutant gliomas, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and hypoxic brain injury at the Center for Clinical Spectroscopy (CCS) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He held a wide range of responsibilities at CCS, where he developed data analysis pipelines in Python, conducted multivariate analyses in R, operated MRI scanners to acquire diagnostic and neuroprognostic imaging, and instructed the hospital’s MRI technicians on spectroscopy protocols. He also worked as an Emergency Medical Technician and was a Stop the Bleed instructor. Sam is excited to learn how he can combine his technical knowledge and love of medicine through the IMED program. In his free time, Sam loves to powerlift, learn new recipes to cook, and explore Chicago’s restaurant scene.
Davey grew up in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. He attended the University of Waterloo and studied Biomedical sciences, where he completed his undergraduate thesis in synthetic biology. In addition, he spent his summers conducting translational research in homeobox gene expression at the University of Alberta. After college, he worked at Seiji’s Bridge, a startup company focused on improving the special education curriculum in public schools using multi-sensory toy devices. He is excited to continue his learning through the IMED program where he plans to foster his innovation skills to solve clinical problems. During his free time, he loves spending quality time with his Husky and mountaineering the Pacific Northwest.
Vivian was born and raised in Southern California. She graduated in 2019 from Stanford University as a first-generation college graduate with a B.S. in Human Biology and a concentration in Human Development, Global Health, and Design. As an undergraduate, Vivian explored her passions at the intersection of art and science which ultimately converged in an interest in healthcare design. Through the philosophy of human-centered design that she learned at Stanford, Vivian sought ways to marry the rigor of research and experimentation with the art of storytelling and empathy through healthcare design projects. Following graduation, she became the inaugural Medical Intelligence and Innovation Institute (MI3) Fellow at CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange County, CA. Vivian’s curiosity about medicine and interdisciplinary design continued to grow as she explored projects ranging from artificial intelligence and data science to digital health and medical devices. All the while, she gained incredible mentors, experiences, and insight into innovation (especially pediatric innovation) within CHOC and hospitals around the world. Through IMED and her medical education, Vivian hopes to apply herself in a space where the art and science of medicine, design, and innovation intersect to meet the needs and enrich the lives of people and patients. A few of her other interests include volleyball, photography, reading & writing, and traveling!
Mehul Patnam is a first-year medical student from Champaign, IL. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2021 with degrees in Biological Sciences and Psychology. During his undergraduate years, Mehul was heavily involved in Alzheimer’s disease research as a part of UIC’s Anatomy and Cell Biology department, along with several student organizations on campus. As a part of the IMED program at UIC, he hopes to identify areas for innovation in all areas of medical care, whether it be in the clinic or the operating room. In his free time, Mehul enjoys spending time with friends, catching up on sleep, and eating grapes.
Sitara grew up in Andover, MA and attended Tufts University. She graduated in 2020 with a B.S.in Biology and a minor in Computer Science. During her undergraduate years, she conducted research on alcoholic liver disease at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, as well as cardiovascular research at Tufts Medical Center. She took part in Tufts hackathons and attended computer science conferences, which fostered an interest in informatics and medical applications of artificial intelligence. After college, Sitara went on to work as a Marketing Analystat UBERDOC, a health technology startup company. In this position, she met physician innovators and mentors who inspired her to think about healthcare through a new lens. Sitara hopes to use her IMED education to identify clinical needs and work with interdisciplinary teams to develop solutions. In her free time, Sitara enjoys cooking, running, drawing, and spending time with her dog, Juneau.
Nolan was born and raised in the Western suburbs, a proud Batavia High School graduate almost two decades ago! During high school he was already training as a firefighter and EMT having always been interested in emergency care. Nolan went on to become a career firefighter/paramedic; he found that to be an innovator’s dream job. He describes responding to 911 calls as being called to solve unique problems in the moment. He says firefighters are the most innovative group of people out there, if you need a better method or a new tool to do something, ask a firefighter. Nolan went on to become a flight paramedic as he was being drawn more into medicine and science. He believes the key to solving problems is to intimately understand the system you’re working with. This philosophy applies to medicine and the human body. That notion motivated him to study molecular biology and bioinformatics at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside. Nolan applied his education towards managing more complex physiology as an organ donation specialist. This role consisted of caring for donors in the ICU, coordinating procurement, and working with families undergoing great loss. He felt medicine was still calling him to keep learning. Nolan chose UICOM hoping that formal exposure to innovation medicine can hone his informal innovate spirit into a prepared physician innovator. Outside of studying he enjoys spending time with his partner and two children.
Neil Sundaram is a first-year medical student from Morton Grove, IL. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 2020 with a degree in Integrative Biology and a concentration in engineering. During his gap year, Neil worked for an analytics consulting firm prior to attending medical school. He hopes to integrate the data science skills from his prior experience into his medical career. In his free time, Neil enjoys bouldering and snowboarding depending on the season!
Elizabeth was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. She attended The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering. During her time as an undergraduate student, she explored her interest in innovation through research in genetic noise and various projects. She hopes to use her passion for innovation to provide better care for future patients and improve health care for people with chronic illnesses. During her free time, she enjoys art (painting, card making, calligraphy), reading, and spending time in nature.
Jeremy Yuan grew up in Atlanta, GA and attended undergraduate college at the University of Chicago. There, he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and computer science with a specialization in human computer interaction. At UChicago, he conducted primarily mass spectrometry and data science research to help automate the research and development procedures. As a future physician and innovator, Jeremy hopes to connect people and medicine through technology with a focus on transparency, ease-of-use, and simplicity in his work. Jeremy’s non-academic interests include cars and baseball, and he enjoys playing tennis and billiards in his free time.