La’Toya James


Faculty Mentor: Alan Jasanoff

Direct Supervisor: Lili Cai

Home University: University of Hawai’i, Manoa

Major: Biology



I am from Kapolei, Hawai’i (Island of Oahu) and am a biology major at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. My research interest include the neurosciences and microbiology. My hobbies include biking, knitting, and badminton. My goal is to become a neurosurgeon and revolutionize non-invasive treatments of nervous system diseases and disorders.


Focused Ultrasonic Disruption of the Blood-Brain Barrier

Ultrasonic blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption using microbubbles is being used to administer contrast agents to rodent brains within the Jasanoff laboratory. Under normal conditions, the BBB does not allow the passage of large nor hydrophilic molecules into the brain, creating a challenge in the delivery method currently accomplished by invasive means. . It is my goal to provide optimal parameters for our ultrasound system in which we can efficiently open the BBB and noninvasively deliver novel Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) contrast agents. Through testing of various parameter configurations, I will attempt to find an effective way to deliver these contrast agents. Because these contrast agents enable functional molecular imaging not accessible with typical Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) MRI signals, my research will provide a valuable methodological contribution.