Michelle Graham, a graduate student in Professor Muyinatu Bell‘s lab was recently awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP). The NSF GRFP is awarded to graduate students who are pursuing research-based master and doctoral degrees in the United States. Fellows are awarded a three-year stipend and opportunities to conduct research internationally and also pursue professional development.


Michelle’s research focuses on her work in professor Bell’s Pulse Lab.

The goal of my research is to use photoacoustic imaging for intra-operative surgical guidance, specifically neurosurgery procedures. Photoacoustic imaging can visualize critical structures that are unable to be seen by an endoscope, such as nerves and blood vessels, as well as their proximity to surgical tools. In addition, pre-operative images, such as computed tomography (CT) images, may become less relied upon as the patient anatomy is disrupted and shifted during surgery. The low form factor of photoacoustic imaging hardware gives this technique high potential to be incorporated into current surgical procedures to improve patient outcomes. During my time at Johns Hopkins University, I will investigate and develop photoacoustic imaging systems for select neurosurgeries in collaboration with neurosurgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital.