Johanna Uthoff

Johanna Uthoff, Ph.D. student, Biomedical Engineering

Uses A.I. to assess cancer


What is your degree program and expected graduation date? Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, May 2019

Please describe your research: My research uses artificial intelligence to discover tumor characteristics captured in medical imaging with the potential to help guide clinical treatment planning and help alleviate workflow intensity for radiologists.

In simple terms, why does this research matter? Medical imaging is the best method to make a non-invasive tumor assessment, but there are limitations in the way radiologists can use the information captured in these scans based on their experience level and the level of detail perceptible to the human eye. Using artificial intelligence, we can get a difference perspective – a second opinion- on the tumor without the need for much human oversight, thereby increasing the information available for physicians to make treatment decisions without additional cost or human interaction.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I began my research career early in my junior year as an undergraduate research assistant.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? The ‘soft’ skills I learned by being involved research – critical thinking, developing plans to investigate research questions, budgeting time and resources, collaborating and communicating with other disciplines – made me look at my coursework in a different, more efficient manner. By doing research, I have had the opportunity to travel to present my work at international conferences, form personal connections with experts-in-the-fields, and develop a support network that I would not have had otherwise.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduation I plan on securing a post-doctorate research position at a university doing work in image processing and machine learning for better detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease.

Faculty mentor/advisor: Dr. Jessica C. Sieren

Hometown: Shueyville, Iowa



Banner location: Downtown—Clinton Street, between Washington Street and Iowa Avenue