Mathematical Oncology Members

Left to right: Syed Rahmanuddin, Davide Maestrini, Prativa Sahoo, Sergio Branciamore, Russell Rockne - Director,  Margarita Veselinov - Business Director, Daniel Abler, Vikram Adhikarla, Vanessa Jonsson, Ryan Sun


Vikram Adhikarla
Vikram Adhikarla is a Staff Scientist in the Division of Mathematical Oncology at City of Hope. He has a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with specialized focus in Medical Physics. His interests lie in the domain of computational modeling and analysis of both pre-clinical and clinical imaging data. He has experience in modeling tumor-vasculature system based on hypoxia and proliferation positron emission tomography (PET) imaging data and has worked on modeling the response of tumor-vasculature system to anti-angiogenic therapy.

He has further trained in the kinetic analysis of PET imaging data in the Department of Radiology at Emory University in Atlanta. His focus in particular has been on the evaluation of novel radiotracers used for imaging neurological disorders.

As a scientist at City of Hope, he uses his skills to analyze the migration of stem cells in immunohistological and three dimensional cleared images of the mice brain. This data analysis feeds into his work on the prediction of stem cell migration paths for the translational purpose of optimizing the clinical delivery of stem cell therapeutics. Concurrently, he is also involved in analysis of clinical molecular imaging data for evaluation of novel radiotracers poised to deliver clinical impact.

Postdoctoral researchers


Daniel Abler

Daniel Abler is a PhD physicist with research experience in applied physics, software- and computational bio-engineering. He has been actively involved in multidisciplinary research for 10 years, collaborating with engineers, computer scientists, biologists and clinicians.

At the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Daniel studied technical feasibility of a new accelerator-based research infrastructure for ion-beam radiobiology. He also investigated model-driven data collection approaches to address semantic interoperability challenges in the context of ion-beam radiotherapy.

Over the past 4 years, Daniel has been working on image-based computational models for various body-sites and medical conditions. His current research focuses on the effect of biomechanical forces on formation and development of brain tumors and possible implications for treatment; he develops mathematical models to investigate this question.

Daniel is interested in model-based computational approaches for integrating clinical and pre-clinical information into decision processes. He hopes that these efforts will ultimately improve the treatment of individual patients and facilitate the quantitative assessment of therapeutic approaches. Daniel has strong experience in the implementation of image-based finite-element models, related image and data processing, and analysis. His current research appointment as Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow is shared between City of Hope and the University of Bern, Switzerland.

Davide Maestrini

Davide joined the Mathematical Oncology Division in March 2017. He obtained a Master Degree in Theoretical Physics in 2011 at Univerista` degli Studi di Torino (Italy) with a final project on the study of Bose-Einstein Condensates (BECs). He then moved to the University of East Anglia (UK) where in 2016 he obtained a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics focusing on the study of quantized vortices in BECs in confined geometries by using a statistical mechanical approach.

Davide's research covers non-linear physics, non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, dynamical systems and mathematical modeling of cancer dynamics. In particular, he is currently working on the developing of a mathematical model of Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Prativa Sahoo

Prativa Sahoo has 10 years of experience (including a Ph.D.) in the field of magnetic resonance imaging post processing. She has been actively involved in the detailed study of MRI, perfusion imaging (DCE), diffusion imaging (DWI, DTI), mathematical modelling and algorithm development and implementation. She has extensive experience in Java and Matlab. In her four year industry experience, she has worked closely with clinicians and radiologists to understand the clinical needs and problems, and has have designed and developed DCE-MRI post processing tool and validated for 500 brain tumor patients. Currently it is being used in multiple centers in India and abroad (Italy, Korea, Thailand and Nepal).

She has developed a new three compartmental kinetic model for DCE-MRI post processing and the work has been selected for coverpage publication in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (JMRI). Over the years she has published 7 journal papers published and 26 ISMRM conforence proceedings. She is interested in developing new algorithims and MR methodologies to answer various clinical questions and also to explore new areas like rs-fMRI and CEST imaging.




Michael Cork, Summer Trainee

Michael Cork is a recent graduate of Pomona College, where he received his B.A. in Mathematics with a minor in Biology and Spanish. During his time at Pomona, Michael explored how mathematical models can further our understanding of how cancer oversteps and rewires certain checkpoints in the immune system. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, he has also conducted clinical research at Hennepin County Medical Center, as well as participated in various summer research programs aimed at modeling different biological and physical systems. When he is not investigating the interplay of math and biology, Michael enjoys reading, hiking, discovering new craft breweries and supporting Manchester United.

Jennifer Gutierrez

Jennifer Gutierrez is a returning Roberts Summer Academy student currently working with Dr. Russell Rockne in the Department of Mathematical Oncology. She participated in the summer academy last year with Dr. Tijana Talisman in the Department of Molecular Medicine where she studied the quantification of super-resolution data. She graduated from Mount Saint Mary's University (Los Angeles) in May 2016 where she obtained her baccalaureate degree in Mathematics. In her last year as an undergraduate, she was recognized with an Excellence in Mathematics Award as well as the Courage Award.

She is interested in incorporating the language of mathematics in real-world applications and hence plans to pursue higher education in Biostatistics, Computational Biology, or Applied Mathematics.

While some of her hobbies include, but are not limited to, running, water-coloring, biking, and learning new languages, her ultimate goal is to give-back to her alma mater by teaching and providing mentorship to young women pursuing STEM degrees.

David Khachatrian

David Khachatrian is a rising senior at UCLA, studying bioengineering. In addition to his studies, David spends his time tutoring and leading review sessions for core undergraduate STEM courses as Academic Outreach officer for the UCLA chapter of Tau Beta Pi. When he gets the chance to relax, you will likely find him bouldering or playing his accordion.

David previously conducted research in Dr. Karen Aboody's lab profiling a novel neural stem cell line, and is looking to gain a more quantitative understanding on biological phenomena during his time in the Department of Mathematical Oncology to supplement his academic studies and for a more broad appreciation of biological processes. In the future, David hopes to use this background to develop a functional method of using computer-aided protein engineering to treat a variety of diseases.

Dhanya Mahesh

Dhanya Mahesh is a twelfth grader at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, CA. She is particularly interested in the field of Neuroscience and has ranked in the top 25 nationally at the Brain Bee, a neuroscience competition. She is a proud member of the Girls Who Code organization and has designed a novel headphone alert system which is currently patent pending. She has pursued research projects involving Alzheimer's disease as well as water pollution which have placed at both the Synopsys Science Fair and the Bay Area Research Exposition. Currently she is interested in computational diagnostics.

Mohith Manohara

Manohara is a rising senior at Glendora High School. His favorite subjects are mathematics and science. He has been an active member of the GHS Academic Decathlon Club, and currently serves as its president. In his spare time he likes to play tennis, video games, read books, and play piano. During his internship at City of Hope he plans to learn how mathematics is applied in real-life situations. He hopes to continue his passion for math by pursuing a career in engineering.

Jan Pineda

Jan Pineda is going into her senior year at UC Santa Barbara as a chemistry major. She is a participant in City of Hope's Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy working under Dr. Lusine Tumyan in collaboration with Dr. Rockne to study the influence of pharmacokinetics in breast cancer research. After undergrad, she is interested in obtaining her masters in medicinal chemistry or pursuing a career in water chemistry. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her friends, family and her dog, Lucy.

Ryan Sun

Ryan Sun is a rising senior at Temple City High School with a tremendous interest in Mathematics and Biology. He is also an active member of his school's Science Olympiad and Science Bowl teams. Aside from being a student, he is also a golfer and car enthusiast. An intern at City of Hope, Ryan Sun is a member of the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy working under Dr. Russell Rockne in the Mathematical Oncology division. From City of Hope, he wishes to explore career opportunities in the fields of mathematics and biology as well as apply his  mathematical and scientific skills in a real world environment.