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Cody R

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Illinois Institute of Technology


Biomedical Engineering


I am a first-generation college graduate and doctoral candidate who is passionate about engineering new medical devices and technologies. I have experience designing and implementing novel optical imaging devices for surgical oncology in a clinical setting, as well as mathematical modeling of drug delivery systems and kinetics. Furthermore, I have authored multiple publications and presented at several conferences, both domestic and international. Upon completion of my PhD (hopefully in May 2024) I will complete 1 year of a post-doctoral fellowship followed by matriculation into an MD program to pursue a career as a physician-scientist. Outside of my academic and research pursuits, I enjoy running, biking, and swimming - really anything that will let me stay outdoors! I frequently go on cross-country roadtrips, and am on a mission to see all 50 states (35 down!). I also spend free time knitting scarves and hats, especially as the weather gets cold where I'm from in Chicagoland.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Low-cost, hand-held surgical guidance system

I have experience developing optical imaging devices to map cancerous lesions to better allow a surgeon to resect out malignant tissue, and avoid leaving any behind in the patient. I believe these kinds of systems can be created with relatively low-cost and easy to access materials - a simple smart phone may suffice! For this project we would use low-cost optical filters and a readily available smartphone camera to put together a handheld fluorescence imaging device. Then, we would employ software to rapidly acquire images and segment the locations of interest, letting a physician know there are suspicious lesions to be investigated - potentially for use in outpatient procedures in a dermatologist's office to remove skin cancers. The primary outcome of this project would be a working prototype that could be patented and further employed in a clinical setting to help increase the odds of cutting out all of a tumor quickly. Students would learn how to design, fabricate, and prototype a novel imaging device for deployment in a clinical setting.

Cancer drug screening through kinetic modeling and simulations

I have experience developing computational models that allow for the simulation of a drug's interactions with human physiology over time. An exciting area of research is the development of models to better predict a drug's ability to treat certain cancers. In this project, the student would work to develop a simulation of cancer therapy, where different parameters of the drug can be input (i.e. drug molecular size, drug target, etc), and the simulation would output the drug's expected efficacy at treatment under certain conditions (i.e. a blood cancer, solid tumor, metastatic disease, etc). This could be directly compared with published clinical trial results to evaluate the model's predictive ability. The outcome of this project would be a model that can predict a drug's efficacy at treatment given different disease states, which could be used to increase the current drug success rates when developing new therapies.

Coding skills

python, MATLAB

Languages I know

Spanish, intermediate

Teaching experience

I worked as a teaching assistant during undergrad for general chemistry I & II, organic chemistry I & II, and advanced organic chemistry. During graduate school I have worked as a teaching assistant for Thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, mathematical models for engineers, and biomedical engineering instrumentation laboratory. I have also mentored several senior design students, NSF REU research students, as well as many Individual Professional Research Opportunities (IPRO) students. Lastly I have mentored several other undergraduate students and graduate students as research assistants in my laboratory where I am doing my PhD.



Roosevelt Academy University College
BS Bachelor of Science (2019)
Illinois Institute of Technology
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Biomedical Engineering

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