Graduate student Mohan Li gains C★STAR Fellowship
NPRE graduate student Mohan Li has gained a C★STAR Graduate Fellowship to study imaging of cancer tissues in the human head and neck.
The Cancer Scholars for Translational and Applied Research Graduate Fellowships, awarded from a partnership of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Carle Foundation Hospital, are designed for graduate students pursuing a career in cancer-based translational research.
Fellows work with a Carle Cancer Center physician and an Illinois faculty member on a clinically relevant project that addresses cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, or treatment. Fellows and faculty participate in grand rounds, site-alternating monthly work update meetings, and joint seminars held every other week. The fellowship offers support for three years.
NPRE Assistant Prof. Shiva Abbaszadeh, whose research focuses on biological imaging instrumentation, advises Li.
The areas on which Li will concentrate, including the human throat, mouth, nose, tongue, sinuses, larynx, and salivary glands, are very complex, and small in structure. Specifically targeting treatment to exact positions where cancer exists in these areas is necessary for many reasons, including the extreme effect on a patient’s quality of life should surgery be required.
These areas of cancer have not been as rigorously addressed as cancer in other parts of the body, Abbaszadeh maintains. Li will be designing a system to precisely image the areas.
A higher spatial resolution image of the affected area with a better contrast will allow radiation oncologists to accurately design planned target volume dose, detect smaller sized lymph nodes, and measure the boundaries of tumors. These advantages will provide health care givers more treatment options including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted theraphy, with an improved consideration of how the treatment affects the patient’s quality of life.
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