Avilash Cramer, a second-year MEMP student in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program, has been named the Broshy Fellowship recipient for the 2017/2018 award year. Avilash works with Dr. Rajiv Gupta, Director of the Advanced X-ray Imaging Sciences (AXIS) Center at MGH, whose lab is working to develop safer and more accessible radiography tools, with a focus on electrical and mechanical design of these systems.

In Dr. Gupta’s lab, Avilash’s research is focused on the development of the next generation of computed tomography (CT) hardware. Avilash explains, “CT is the clinical standard for diagnosing many emergent medical conditions, such as stroke and traumatic brain injuries. Unfortunately, the size, weight, and expense of CT systems make them inaccessible for patients outside of large trauma centers, or in the developing world.”

Prior to coming to MIT, Avilash worked at the Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai, India, on a Fulbright scholarship, which helped shape his understanding of the need for medical devices on a global scale.

Dr. Gupta’s nomination of Avilash for this award also noted that his strong multidisciplinary background in electrical engineering and physics as well as medical skills and knowledge he’s gained from his medical coursework and work as an emergency medical technician, has enabled Avilash to take a holistic approach towards his work and produce viable results.

Currently, Avilash is working in the lab to design a novel, modular x-ray system that he says will allow for CT scanners to be “significantly lighter weight and cheaper.” Avilash explains that this new system “would expand access to this valuable diagnostic tool to austere environments such as rural and low-income communities, battlefield care, and extended space missions.”

“The support of the Broshy fellowship will allow us to scale up our prototype in the coming months, and to explore other applications for our research, such as mammography,” Avilash comments.

“I actually received a CT scan myself just three weeks ago, when I was in the hospital with appendicitis! My care was great (and I’ve pretty much recovered from the surgery), but the experience helped remind me why I come to work each day.”

On his receipt of this award Avilash says, “I am thrilled and honored to have been awarded the Eran Broshy fellowship. This opportunity really means a lot for our lab, and gives me more independence and confidence in myself as a young scientist.”

The Broshy Fellowship, named for Eran Broshy, MIT alumnus and member of the MIT Corporation and the IMES Visiting Committee, was established to support the research and education of an exceptional graduate student whose work focuses on a novel, interdisciplinary project that has a good likelihood of being translated into an innovative commercial product and/or service that positively impacts health care outcomes and cost.

This year’s fellowship provides a one-year $50,000 award to support tuition, stipend, and research costs. Requests for nominations for the 2018/2019 award year will be announced in early spring 2018.