The Blog


Student Spotlight – Samantha Mikaiel

Our Student Spotlight allows the opportunity for you to get to know our students a little better in their own words.  More information about Student Life at UCLA and in the surrounding Los Angeles area can be found at our Student Life website.  Check back regularly to read about the differing backgrounds and perspectives that make up our GPB Bruin community.


Home Area

Physics and Biology in Medicine


Fellowship Support

Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship


Where is your hometown?

I’m originally from Sarasota, Florida


Where did you attend for undergraduate?

I did my undergrad at the University of Miami studying Biomedical Engineering, concentrating in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Physics


What led you to pursue research training in graduate school?

I was first introduced to the field of medical physics through a medical imaging class I took at UMiami. I was instantly hooked, and decided to apply and spend the summer prior to senior year in the Summer Undergraduate Program for Educating Radiation Scientists (SUPERS) at UPenn. During that summer, I fell in love with the research atmosphere and decided to apply to Ph.D. programs in the field.


Who is your mentor?  Which lab do you currently work in?

I currently work in the Magnetic Resonance Research Labs (MRRL) under Dr. Holden Wu.


What are your research interests?

I am really interested in real-time imaging acquisition and reconstruction, especially in the application of Interventional MRI


What are your future goals?

I still don’t have a concrete plan on my post UCLA goals. I want to continue research, possibly in an industry or a laboratory setting. I am keeping my options open.


Why did you choose UCLA?

While interviewing for graduate programs, I knew UCLA was the perfect fit. There were many lab options that I knew I would find the right fit. Also, the current students and faculty in my program were welcoming and helpful that I knew I would have support throughout my Ph.D. On top of that, the weather made it an obvious choice.


What are your interests and hobbies other than research?

During my free time I am part of a local choir in Santa Monica. I also enjoy cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.


What do you like best about UCLA?

Working with my helpful and amazing colleagues, with easy access to top of the line equipment.  Also living in and being able to explore Los Angeles is a plus!