Skip to main content.

Training and Collaboration


A vital role of top-line research programs is the training of researchers. The HBIC offers an excellent environment for education. HBIC faculty are involved in several educational efforts. Students at all levels, both in the clinical and basic sciences, are encouraged to enhance their educational experience by working with state-of-the-art equipment as well as with an outstanding Faculty in such diverse neuroimaging fields as MR spectroscopy, functional MRI (fMRI), diffusion tractography, and MEG. These opportunities will be further enhanced by the opportunity to design and carry out experiments in animal models using the 9.4T animal system.

Graduate students and postdoctoral students who studied or trained at HBIC have gone on to other prestigious institutions, such as Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and the University of California in San Diego, to continue their research and share the vision of what they learned at KU Medical Center.

Researchers at the Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center collaborate with and train junior faculty across KU's campuses and other universities, helping them start their research programs. Researchers who use technology at the Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center are involved in cross-institutional enterprises, in which a group of single investigators collaborates to build new programs that support even more research in the area.

Previous students: where are they now?

Baraa Al-Hafez, M.D.
Dr. Al-Hafez received his Medical Doctorate degree from Tichreen University, Syria, in 2001. He has eighteen months of experience in internal medicine in Riyadh. In 2002, he moved to the United States for better opportunities in the medical field. As a Research Associate at HBIC, he worked to increase his knowledge in magnetic resonance imaging and neuroscience and also to benefit others by working as a researcher. Dr. Al-Hafez left HBIC in May 2006 to begin his medical residency.

Robin Aupperle, Ph.D.
Dr. Aupperle trained at the Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center as a Graduate Research Assistant in Dr. Cary Savage's lab during her doctoral studies at the University of Kansas. Dr. Aupperle recently completed a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mental Illness Research and Education Clinical Center (MIRECC) at the VA San Diego Healthcare System and the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and has recently taken a faculty appointment at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Dr. Aupperle continues to collaborate closely with HBIC and KUMC researchers and currently has 2 studies involving HBIC. Her research focus includes the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to understand neurobiological substrates of PTSD and anxiety disorders. In particular, her interests focus on the use of approach-avoidance conflict concepts to better understand behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders.

Mary Caruso, MA, BCBA
Mary was a graduate research assistant with the Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center. She was conducting her doctoral dissertation on food-related obsessions and compulsions in individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome using Magnetoencephalography. Her interests include neurobiological aspects and psychopharmacology of developmental disabilities and mental disorders.

Sorin Craciunas, Ph.D.
Following a Medical Degree at the Ovidiu University, Romania, Dr. Craciunas did a residency in Neurosurgery at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Carol Davila in Bucharest. He completed his training as neurosurgeon by attending a clinical fellowship in Skull Base Surgery at the Neurosurgery Division at Foch Hospital, Paris. He also decided to pursuit a postdoctoral research in neuroscience in order to achieve a high level of intellectual knowledge and master detailed conceptualization of translational research. His research at HBIC was focus on the integrating imaging and clinical approaches to study the patho-physiology of central nervous system injury. Dr. Craciunas left HBIC in December 2008 to begin a clinical fellowship in Spinal Surgery at the Division of Neurosurgery at Toronto Western Hospital. Dr. Craciunas is currently full member at the Center of Excellence in Neurosurgery at the Bagdasar-Arseni Hospital in Bucharest. His main clinical interests are in spinal neurosurgery and his research focus is in cellular/molecular mechanisms underlying spinal cord and brain pathologies.

Laura Holsen, Ph.D.
Dr. Holsen is currently an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and on the faculty at the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology in the Department of Medicine at BWH. Dr. Holsen's research focuses on sex differences in the neural circuitry of obesity and the co-morbidity of obesity with psychiatric disorders. She is investigating the roles of appetite-regulating hormones, genes, and the brain in understanding these comorbid conditions. Dr. Holsen recently completed a collaborative neuroimaging and neuroendocrine study which employed a systematic neuroanatomical approach to investigate the neural circuitry of abnormal food motivation in women with anorexia nervosa. As a current NIH-Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) BIRCWH (K12-award) Scholar, her research aims to identify the underlying neural and neuroendocrine biomarkers of disordered eating and food motivation in women with comorbid major depression and obesity. Dr. Holsen continues to collaborate with Researchers at HBIC and has jointly published manuscripts with HBIC researchers.

Danyale McCurdy, Ph.D.
Dr. McCurdy trained at the Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center as a Graduate Research Assistant in Dr. Cary Savage's lab during her doctoral studies at the University of Kansas. Dr. McCurdy is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at UCSD Eating Disorder Treatment and Research Center. Dr. Danyale McCurdy joined the UCSD Eating Disorders Treatment and Research Program in July 2010 after completing her clinical internship at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience. Dr. McCurdy received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kansas. She is interested in examining emotion dysregulation in eating disorders and applying this construct to treatment development. Dr. McCurdy is especially interested in the neurobiology of eating disorders and the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study neural processes related to both feeding behavior and emotional control. -- Research interests: neurobiology of eating disorders; brain imaging in eating disorders, specifically fMRI; emotion dysregulation. -- Clinical interests: eating disorders; obesity; comorbid Axis II pathology; emotion dysregulation.

Greg Onyszchuk, Ph.D.
Upon graduating, Dr. Onyszchuk joined the KUMC Department of Neurosurgery to establish a research lab to investigate safety issues associated with MRI-induced heating of neurostimulation devices. Later, Dr. Onyszchuk took a commercial role at Beckloff Associates. They assist pharma and biopharma companies to develop and obtain marketing authorization for new drugs and medical devices, in particular for CNS and oncology indications. In his current role, Dr. Onyszchuk provides regulatory and commercialization consulting and he oversees a team that produces electronic dossiers for submission to health authorities worldwide.

Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center

HBIC Front Desk