Lab Members

Yuka Otaki, MD, PhD
Project Scientist

Yuka Otaki, MD, PhD, is a project scientist in the D. Berman Laboratory at Cedars-Sinai. She worked as a clinical cardiologist at Tokyo Medical University Hospital prior to joining the cardiac imaging research team in December 2015. Beyond her training in general cardiology, she is certified in cardiovascular computed tomography and contributes to various projects including cardiac CT, MRI, PET and SPECT. In addition to research, she reads a variety of cardiac imaging cases for patients and dedicates her time to mentoring students and fellows.

Donghee Han, MD
Project Scientist

Donghee Han, MD, graduated with a medical degree from Yeungnam University College of Medicine, South Korea. He had a fellowship at the Dalio Institute of Cardiovascular Imaging from 2015–17 before joining Yonsei University as an assistant clinical research professor in the Division of Cardiology at the Yonsei Cardiovascular Center. Han's main research interest is cardiovascular imaging, especially in cardiac CT and nuclear imaging.

Alan Kwan, MD
Cardiology/Cardiac Imaging Fellow

Alan is a cardiology and cardiac imaging fellow who is interested in clinical and translational multimodality cardiac imaging research. He attended medical school at the University of Washington School of Medicine and pursued a dedicated research year through the National Institutes of Health medical research scholars program, performing quantitative coronary CT angiography analysis in the lab of David Bluemke, MD. He subsequently pursued internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins, continuing to work on CT imaging research with Bluemke and Joao Lima, MD, as well as pursuing MRI research with Henry Halperin, MD. His general cardiology and advanced cardiac imaging fellowship is at Cedars-Sinai, where he has been happy to be mentored by Daniel Berman, MD; Debiao Li, PhD; and Damini Dey, PhD.

Keiichiro Kuronuma, MD
Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Keiichiro Kuronuma, MD, earned his medical degree from the Nihon University Graduate School of Medicine in 2019. Before joining the Berman Lab in April 2020, Kuronuma engaged in clinical practice as a general cardiologist and coronary interventionist in Japan. He also performed clinical research using cardiac CT, SPECT and infrared spectroscopy. Kuronuma has a special interest in multimodality cardiac imaging and clinical research work.

Billy Chen, MD, PhD
Cardiac Imaging Fellow

Billy Chen, MD, PhD, earned his medical degree at Boston University School of Medicine. During his medical school training, Chen dedicated a year to cardiac CT/MR research at the National Institutes of Health with Andrew Arai, MD. Chen later returned to Boston to complete his internal medicine residency at Boston Medical Center and subsequently completed his general cardiology fellowship at the University of Washington. Chen is currently a cardiac imaging fellow interested in translational advanced imaging research.

Romalisa "Lisa" Miranda Peats, MPH, CCRP
Research Program Administrator

Romalisa "Lisa" Miranda Peats completed her bachelor of science in biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame and a master of public health in epidemiology from UCLA. She joined Cedars-Sinai as a research project assistant and was promoted to team lead and eventually program administrator, responsible for administrative oversight of the D. Berman Lab. During her tenure, Miranda Peats has managed over 100 research projects, including industry-funded clinical trials, federal and nonfederal grant work and philanthropy-funded research with budgets totaling over $30 million.

Rebekah Park, MPH, CPT I, CCRP
Clinical Research Specialist I/Team Lead

Rebekah Park earned her psychology degree from the University of California, San Diego, and her master of public health in global health from Liberty University. Prior to joining Cedars-Sinai, Park was the lead coordinator of various industry-funded clinical trials, contributing to research leading to the FDA approval of Otiprio® for treatment of pediatric patients with bilateral otitis media with effusion undergoing tympanostomy tube placement. Apart from research, she is invested in global concerns, participating in mission trips to Mexico and Kenya, and, since 2014, has organized and led projects in Jakarta, Indonesia, focusing on children’s programs and health promotion in the village of Harjamukti.

Rhona Littman, CCRP
Regulatory Coordinator

Focusing on a career in the healthcare industry, Rhona Littman has spent 40-plus years working both clinically and administratively as a licensed dental radiographer, a liaison between independent physician groups, on the Board of Directors and Utilization Management Committee for a medical management company and as a research coordinator at UCLA. She joined the D. Berman Laboratory in 2003 as the nuclear core lab coordinator and, as the team grew, filled the need for a regulatory coordinator. Littman prepares and monitors IRB study documents, including new protocols, amendments and continuations as necessary to maintain compliance with regulatory requirements and institutional policies. She hopes to continue her work in healthcare and says that each project presents new challenges and, at study closeout, it’s always a good feeling to know she has played a part in helping to achieve goals that may benefit others in the future.

Heidi Gransar, MS, CCRP
Biostatistician

Heidi Gransar earned both her bachelor of science and master of science degrees at UCLA. She joined the D. Berman Laboratory in July 2000 to contribute to cardiac imaging research in her capacity as the team’s biostatistician. In addition to providing statistical support for the researchers, she also helps with data management of the various cardiac research registries and consulting for research grants focusing on the study design, statistical analysis plans and power and sample size calculations. In her spare time, Gransar enjoys doing statistical outreach for high school and college students for the Southern California chapter of the American Statistical Association.

Frances Wang, MS
Biostatistician

Frances started as a clinical research associate before promoting to a biostatistician in the Cardiac Imaging Research Team. She graduated with a master's degree in biostatistics and epidemiology from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 2018 and is currently pursuing her PhD at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has contributed to various clinical research projects and is interested in studying imaging biomarkers for prediction of cardiac risk. Beyond research, she enjoys rock climbing and exploring Los Angeles.

Nancy Chen, MPH
Clinical Research Data Specialist

Nancy Chen earned her Bachelor of Science in public health at the University of Washington in 2017 and her Master of Public Health in epidemiology at UCLA in 2019. Prior to joining the D. Berman Laboratory, Chen worked as a project assistant for the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on the short-term health effects of air pollution, and completed a fellowship for the WORLD Policy Analysis Center as a Conrad N. Hilton Summer Scholar. She is interested in data collection, management and analysis, and is committed to improving health and mitigating health inequities across communities.

Sebastien Cadet, MS
Software Engineer

Sebastien Cadet earned his engineering degree in computer science at the University of Rennes 1 in France. Prior to joining the cardiac imaging research team in December 2015, he worked in an innovative startup company on image guidance systems for minimally invasive cardiovascular surgery. Cadet also contributed to an international research project to increase productivity and effectiveness in healthcare. He develops software for plaque analysis and is so excited to be living the American dream.

Mark C. Hyun, CNMT, NCT, RT (N, R, CT), FASNC
Research Technologist

Mark Hyun is a nuclear medicine/nuclear cardiology research specialist and cardiac CT technologist at Cedars-Sinai since 2010. He received his education and clinical training from LAC+USC Medical Center Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Technology, where he received outstanding student awards during his programs. Upon his graduation, Hyun was employed at Tower Nuclear/Cardiac and Vascular Lab as a staff technologist and a research technologist at Cedars-Sinai. He was quickly promoted to a lead technologist, responsible for supervising technical activities including quality control of imaging equipment and computers at Tower Nuclear/Cardiac and Vascular Lab. Concurrently, he devoted spare hours to the Cedars-Sinai nuclear cardiology research team, working on numerous research projects, where he gained knowledge and skills in nuclear cardiology procedures and techniques. Hyun was actively involved in the first human use of sestamibi (Cardiolite®) for myocardial perfusion in an imaging trial in affiliation with DuPont Pharmaceutical Co. prior to Food and Drug Administration approval.

Aryabod Razipour, MD
Postdoctoral Researcher

Aryabod Razipour, MD, received his bachelor of science in biochemistry from UCLA and his medical degree from Universidad Central del Este in the Dominican Republic. Since December 2009, he has worked with Matthew J. Budoff, MD, at LA BioMed/Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. In November 2017, Razipour joined the Dey Laboratory to research cardiac computed tomography angiography entities, including adipose tissue measurements including intrathoracic, pericardial, epicardial, visceral liver and spleen fat. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and shopping.

Ananya Singh, MSc
Programmer/Analyst

Ananya Singh earned her master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California. She specializes in image processing and deep learning in medical imaging. She is currently working on integrating deep convolutional neural networks to further automate cardiovascular imaging. Ananya hopes that her work with AI contributes to expedited and accurate patient diagnosis. She dreams in the near future to live in a society where AI is standardized in healthcare and works along with the physicians to maximize quantity of patient care. Meanwhile, in her free time, she enjoys exploring Los Angeles and visiting the city's amazing museums and beaches.

Aditya Killekar, MSEE
Programmer/Analyst

Aditya Killekar earned his engineering degree at the University of Southern California (USC), where he specialized in computer vision and machine learning. Before joining Cedars-Sinai, Killekar worked as a research programmer at the Information Sciences Institute at USC. He implemented deep learning-based methods for detecting deepfake face manipulations for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency media forensics project at the Information Sciences Institute Center for Vision, Image, Speech and Text Analytics. At Cedars-Sinai, Killekar currently works on developing a deep learning-based real-time detection and segmentation of COVID-19 lesions on noncontrast chest CT, providing an early alert of COVID-19 to the physician and technologist performing the scan. Apart from research, he is passionate about teaching, and has also served as a volunteer at the second annual 59th Assembly District USC STEM Camp designed to educate and inspire underrepresented students from various parts of Los Angeles.

Richard Rios, PhD
Postdoctoral Scientist

Richard Rios, PhD, received his doctorate in engineering-energy systems from the National University of Colombia, Medellin, and in signal processing and telecommunications from the University of Rennes I in France. His PhD studies focused on statistical modelling of geometric variations of the bladder in prostate cancer radiotherapy using dimensionality reduction and statistical learning techniques. His research aim is to develop machine and deep learning algorithms for cardiac imaging.

Sarah Wetzel, BS
Clinical Research Associate I

Sarah graduated in 2019 from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences with a concentration in physiology and anatomy. Wetzel was a national merit scholar whose lab work focused on genomics and creating a comprehensive gene library of archaeal strains. Her interests are in clinical research and project management while working in a diverse and advanced academic setting.

Michael Kina Wei, BS
Clinical Research Associate I

Michael Kina Wei received his bachelor's degree in microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics from UCLA in 2019. His previous research in the Morrison Laboratory at UCLA focused on investigating the cytotoxic effectiveness of various fusion proteins on different human cancer cell lines. He also conducted research centered on the characterization of novel bacteriophage for potential use in biocontrol. Outside of research, Michael enjoys playing tennis and learning languages, is on a competitive dance team and volunteers at a local children’s tutoring center. He is currently working towards a career as a physician.

Guadalupe Flores Tomasino
Clinical Research Associate I

Guadalupe Flores Tomasino is an international graduate who received her medical education at the University of El Salvador School of Medicine. She has volunteered in different research studies and is interested in clinical research and its applications to improve healthcare across underserved communities to decrease health inequalities. Tomasino has also volunteered on medical mission trips to Africa to empower remote communities through healthcare promotion in Ndola, Zambia. At Cedars-Sinai, she implements Autoplaque software, which semi-automatically quantifies plaque from coronary CT angiography images. Outside of research, Tomasino enjoys practicing yoga, mindful meditation and traveling. She is currently working toward a career as a physician.

Contact the D. Berman Lab

8700 Beverly Blvd.
S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center, Room 1258
Los Angeles, CA 90048