Clinical and Research Fellows

Nara Higano, PhD


Research Fellow

Nara received her PhD in Physics from Washington University in St. Louis in 2017 and is now a research fellow in the CPIR. Her current research investigates novel developments and translation applications of 1H ultrashort echo-time (UTE) MRI and hyperpolarized gas MRI in order to characterize cardio-respiratory structure and function in neonates born extremely preterm and/or with congenital respiratory abnormalities. This work aims to relate early life MRI biomarkers to later clinical outcomes in these young pediatric populations.

Laura Walkup, PhD


Research Associate

Dr. Walkup received her Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 2013 from Southern Illinois University where her dissertation work focused on the physics and production of hyperpolarized xenon-129 gas for magnetic-resonance applications.  She is currently a NIH K99-supported Research Associate in the Center for Pulmonary Imaging Research.  Her research focuses on all aspects of hyperpolarized-gas MRI research, including the design and construction of a xenon polarizer for pediatric pulmonary imaging.