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Principal Investigator

Paul Dayton, Ph.D


Paul Dayton received his B.S. in Physics from Villanova University in 1995, his M.E. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1998, and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in 2001, also from the University of Virginia.  He pursued post-doctoral research and was later research faculty at the University of California at Davis.  Much of Dr. Dayton’s training was under the mentorship of Dr. Katherine Ferrara, where his initial studies involved high speed optical and acoustical analysis of individual contrast agent microbubbles.  In 2007, Dr. Dayton moved to the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC Chapel Hill and NC State University, Raleigh, where he is now Associate Professor and Associate Department Chair.   Dr. Dayton is currently Associate Director for Education for the Biomedical Imaging Research Center, and his research interests involve ultrasound contrast imaging, ultrasound-mediated therapies, and medical devices.  Dr. Dayton is a member of the technical program committee for IEEE UFFC, and a member of the editorial boards for the journals IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control as well as Molecular Imaging, and Bubble Science, Engineering, and Technology.

Laboratory Staff

James Tsuruta, Ph.D

Research Assistant Professor

Dr. Tsuruta is a faculty member in the department of pediatrics and cell and developmental biology.  His work involves the interactions of ultrasound with biological tissues.  Dr. Tsuruta also contributes his knowledge of biochemistry to histology and molecular targeting applications.



Virginie Papadopoulou, Ph.D

Research Assistant Professor – Divers Alert Network Scholar

Dr. Papadopoulou is a physicist by background and received her PhD in Bioengineering in 2016 from Imperial College London. She became a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC Chapel Hill in 2017, where her research aims to bridge the different areas dealing with bubbles and ultrasound. Her current interests lie in: a) refining the imaging and analysis of ultrasonically detected decompression emboli in the context of decompression sickness; b) using oxygen microbubbles to modulate tumor hypoxia and improve radiotherapy; and c) enhancing topical drug-delivery using phase-change contrast agents, most recently in the context of chronic wound biofilm infections. Her work has resulted in over 35 journal papers, 95 conference presentations and 17 invited presentations to date. She has been awarded the 2017 Divers Alert Network/Bill Hamilton Memorial Grant by the Women Divers Hall of Fame, the 2020 Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Young Scientist Award, as well as the title of Divers Alert Network Scholar since 2018, for her on-going work creating a dynamic ultrasonic assessment of decompression bubbles. Dr. Papadopoulou has experience managing research grants, including multi-year collaborations with multiple clinical and basic research collaborators, as well as industrial partners. She currently manages three multi-year grants, as well as other smaller grants. She serves as the Principal Investigator (PI) of a 3-year US Department of Defense grant by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and 5-year research foundation grant from the Divers Alert Network (DAN), currently mentoring one postdoctoral student, two graduate students and multiple undergraduate students. She is also co-Investigator and lead scientist with PI Prof. Dayton of a 5-year US National Institute of Health (NIH) R01 grant assessing oxygen microbubbles for radiotherapy sensitization, and UNC PI for a new industrial-academic collaboration funded by the ONR. Dr. Papadopoulou also serves as PI for an ONR STEM grant and closely collaborates with DAN on outreach efforts for diving physiology research. Most recently, she has been awarded the annual 2022 UNC Women’s Leadership Council Faculty Mentoring Award for Undergraduate Mentoring, and the Fall 2022 UNC BME Faculty Teaching and Mentoring Achievement.

Brian Velasco, BA

Senior Research Technician/Laboratory Manager






Post-Doctoral Fellows

Arian Azarang, Ph.D

Arian Azarang received the BS degree and the first rank award from Shiraz University, Iran, in 2015, and the MS degree in Electrical Engineering from Tarbiat Modares University, Iran, in 2017. He received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2021. He was recognized as the Honorable Mention of the David Daniel Thesis Award for the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received the Research Excellence Award from the joint Biomedical Engineering Department in 2022. His research interests include real-time signal and image processing, applied deep learning in biomedical fields, and speech recognition and enhancement. He has thus far authored or co-authored 21 scholarly publications in these areas. He has become an Associate Editor of the Springer journal Signal, Image and Video Processing since 2021.

Phillip Durham, Ph.D

Dr. Durham has worked in the fields of drug delivery, nanotoxicology and ultrasound imaging research for over a decade. His research in the Dayton Lab includes novel applications in both imaging and therapeutic ultrasound, using microbubbles and nanodoplets for disrupting bacterial biofilms, modulating radiotherapeutic efficacy, and delivery across the blood-brain barrier.




Graduate Students

Jake McCall

Jake is a fourth year electrical and computer engineering PhD candidate at NC State. He got involved in the Dayton lab through a series of unexpected circumstances that ultimately led him to the exciting work that he does now. Jake’s research is in developing software for acquiring 3-D ultrasound scans of microvasculature at high resolution using a process called ultrasound localization microscopy (ULM). Jake is in the process of completing three studies currently, all of which have to do with using this non-invasive imaging method to characterize the malignancy of tumors in both rodents and people.

Kathlyne Bautista

Kathlyne graduated with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in 2020. In Fall 2020, she joined the Dayton Lab as a PhD student. Her current projects include (1) advancing dual-frequency superharmonic ultrasound imaging (acoustic angiography) towards clinical translation (through simulations, hardware improvements, and machine learning) and (2) optimizing the therapeutic efficacy of nanodroplet-enhanced sonothrombolysis for the treatment of venous thrombosis.


Josh Currens

Josh completed a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biotechnology from North Carolina State University in 2021. In Fall 2021, he joined the Dayton Lab and the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. Josh’s research focuses on ultrasound technology implementation in decompression studies, working towards the development of an early biomarker for decompression sickness. In 2022, Josh received the Zale Parry scholarship for his work in underwater research.



Hatim Belgharbi

Hatim received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the Polytechnique Montreal in 2019. He received his Master’s degree in 2021 at the same university while under the supervision of Dr. Jean Provost. His master’s thesis focused on an anatomically-realistic simulation framework for ultrasound localization microscopy (ULM). He is now pursuing a Ph.D. in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and NC State University. Hatim joined the Dayton and Pinton Labs in Fall 2021, where he is currently working on implementing clinically translatable ULM imaging.

Katherine Mary Eltz




Kelly Vantreeck

Kelly is a second year graduate student at UNC pursuing her PhD in pharmaceutical sciences. She graduated with B.S. in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University in 2019. Following graduation, she worked in reproductive health research and contraceptive development. Kelly joined the Dayton Lab in Spring 2023. Her research focuses on therapeutic applications of ultrasound, including using ultrasound and contrast to enhance cancer immunotherapy efficacy and antibiotic delivery to biofilm infections.


Jacob Mattern








Tyler Gildemeister

Tyler graduated with a B.S in biomedical engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering University in 2023. Tyler joined the Dayton lab as a PhD student in Fall of 2023. Tyler’s research focus is on ultrasound imaging, specifically ultrasound localization microscopy.

Andrew Weitz

Roshni Gandhi

Roshni graduated with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2023. She joined the Dayton lab in Fall 2023 as a part of the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University to pursue a PhD. Her research interests include targeted therapeutics, ultrasound contrast agents, and therapeutic ultrasound.


Jadyn Cook


Undergraduate Students

Kamellia Karimpour






 Andrew Hoang




Bryce Menichella







Emily Stein





Christian Nightingale

Christian is an undergraduate in the UNC-Chapel Hill/NCSU joint department of biomedical engineering focusing on regenerative and pharmaceutical engineering