Medical VR and AR – Speakers, Moderators and Panelists

Moty Avisar

Moty Avisar is the CEO and Co-founder of Surgical Theater. Building on his previous career as a former Israeli Air Force officer and flight simulator expert, Moty assembled a team of bright-minded engineers to revolutionize the operating room and surgery experience. By introducing interactive, 360-degree virtual reality visualization to surgeons and their patients, based on a patient’s traditional imaging, including CT and MRI scans, Surgical Theater is able to enhance a surgeon’s situational awareness. The Virtual Reality (VR) visualization platform allows surgeons and patients to step into a patient’s complex diagnosis and walk inside the 360-degree VR reconstruction of the anatomy. The VR visualization platform has been utilized in more than 5,000 surgical cases to date, including more than a few surgeries that, according to surgeon testimonials, were considered not operable without the VR visualization platform. Prior to launching Surgical Theater, Moty was a member of the Israeli Ministry of Defense and led the F-16 Flight Simulator program. He also was the head of the System Engineering Department for the Israeli Air Force. 

David Axelrod, MD

David Axelrod is a pediatric cardiologist and pediatric critical care physician at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. He specializes in the care of children with critical cardiac disease from acquired and congenital heart disease. He is involved in educating trainees and conducting research to improve the care of children with heart disease. Together with his colleagues, he runs the Stanford Pediatric Cardiology Fellows’ Boot Camp, a 2-day hands-on simulation and interactive training experience for incoming pediatric cardiology trainees from across the US and Canada.  David is also the the Lead Medical Advisor at Lighthaus, an interactive storytelling company that pioneers first-class scientific virtual environments in healthcare, science, and education. 

Justin Barad, MD

Justin Barad is the CEO and Co-Founder of Osso VR.  Dr. Barad is a practicing pediatric orthopaedic surgeon with a Bioengineering degree from UC Berkeley, and an MD from UCLA where he graduated first in his class.  He completed his residency at UCLA and his fellowship in pediatric orthopaedics at Harvard and Boston Children’s Hospital.   Since 2006 he has been an editor and contributor to medGadget, a popular medical technology news site.

Achin Bhowmik, PhD

Achin Bhowmik is the chief technology officer and executive vice president of engineering at Starkey, the largest hearing technology company in the US, a privately held medical devices business with more than 5000 employees and operations in more than 100 countries worldwide. Prior to joining Starkey, Dr. Bhowmik was vice president and general manager of the Perceptual Computing Group at Intel Corporation. He is also an adjunct professor and guest lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, Liquid Crystal Institute of the Kent State University, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, and the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar. Dr. Bhowmik was elected a Fellow of the Society for Information Display (SID). He serves on the board of advisors for the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership at UC Berkeley, the executive board for SID, and the board of directors for OpenCV. He received the Industrial Distinguished Leader Award from the Asia-Pacific Signal and Information Processing Association. He has over 200 publications, including two books and 34 issued patents.

Tom Caruso, MD

Tom Caruso is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatric Anesthesia at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. He is the co-director of the CHARIOT(Childhood Anxiety and pain Reduction through Innovation and Technology) Program, which aims to reduce pediatric patients’ anxiety and pain by utilizing immersive technologies, including AR and VR. He has helped lead the CHARIOT Program’s implementation throughout multiple areas and departments within the hospital, and is now spreading the program regionally and nationally. Tom has published and presented at multiple conferences on the effectiveness of the CHARIOT program. Tom is also the Director of Perioperative Improvement and an advisor to the Department of Graduate Medical Education at Stanford’s School of Medicine. He holds a BS in biochemistry from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in medical education from Johns Hopkins University and a medical degree from Stanford University.

Ed Chang, PhD

Edward Chang currently serves as the President of Research and Healthcare (DeepQ) at HTC. He is also co-leading the DeepQ project (with Prof. CK Peng at Harvard), working with a team of physicians, scientists, and engineers to design and develop mobile wireless diagnostic instruments. Prior to his HTC post, Ed was a director of Google Research for 6.5 years, leading research and development in several areas including scalable machine learning, indoor localization, social networking and search integration, and Web search (spam fighting). Prior to Google, Ed was a full professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He joined UCSB in 1999 after receiving his PhD from Stanford University. He is a recipient of the NSF Career Award and Google Innovation Award. He is also an IEEE Fellow for his contributions to scalable machine learning.


Bruce Daniel, MD

Bruce Daniel is a Professor of Diagnostic Radiology and, by courtesy, of Bioengineering.  He joined Stanford in 1995 after training at the University of Michigan and Harvard Medical School.  His clinical focus is magnetic resonance imaging, where he actively performs and interprets examinations of the breast, and body including liver, abdomen, pelvis and prostate.   He has a particular interest in MRI-guided interventions as well, especially MRI-guided biopsies and localizations in the breast.  His research has focused on developing new MRI technologies for diagnosis and procedure guidance for breast cancer and prostate cancer, including advanced imaging methods, as well as close collaborations with mechanical engineers in the Biomimetic and Dextrous Manipulation laboratory developing novel mechanical apparatus for guidance, manipulation, and sensing during remote interventions.  Dr. Daniel is also leading efforts to develop mixed-reality to guide surgery in the breast and other organs.  He is a member of the Council of Distinguished Investigators of the Academy for Radiology Research, and a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Andinet Enquobahrie, PhD

Andinet Enquobahrie is the Director of Medical Computing at Kitware Inc. where he is responsible for technical contribution and management of image guided intervention, medical robotics and surgical simulation projects. His recent research efforts are focused on multi-modal image processing algorithms (ultrasound, CT and MRI) for image-guided intervention, use of PET-CT imaging to improve the clinical effectiveness of lesion biopsy, laparoscopic surgical procedures, and augmented reality systems for image-guided and robotic systems. He is one of the main developers of the Image Guided Surgery Application (IGSTK) toolkit, a cross platform, open-source C++ software library that provides basic components needed to prototype image-guided surgery applications. He has been a principal investigator and co-investigator of several research grants and he has lead several commercial projects. Dr. Enquobahrie received his PhD degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University. He has an MBA from Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University. Dr. Enquobahrie has authored or co-authored more than 40 publications in image analysis, visualization and image-guided intervention area. 

Sabine Girod, MD, DDS, PhD

Sabine Girod is the Chief of Stanford Oral Medicine & Maxillofacial Surgery (SOMMS). She received her DDS from the University of Bonn, Germany, her MD from the University of Hannover Germany, and her PhD from the University of Cologne, Germany. She trained in Oral and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery in Germany and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Harvard Medical School) in Boston. Dr. Girod’s special clinical and research interests are Oral Medicine and Maxillofacial Surgery, especially reconstruction of complex craniofacial injuries and maxillofacial deformities, including orthognathic surgery, bone replacement, distraction osteogenesis, osseointegrated implants and molecular mechanism of diseases of the oral mucosa. She has received multiple honors and awards for her clinical and research work and teaches nationally and internationally.

Walter Greenleaf, PhD

Walter Greenleaf is a research scientist, entrepreneur, and medical product developer. He is known internationally as an early pioneer in the medical application of virtual environment technology and is viewed as one of the founders of the field. For the last 25 years he has developed innovative clinical systems for use in physical and cognitive medicine, with a specific focus in the use of virtual reality technology. Walter has served as CEO and founder for InWorld Solutions, a company specializing in the therapeutic use of virtual worlds for behavioral health care, and Virtually Better, a company that develops virtual environments for the treatment of phobias, anxiety disorders, and PTSD. Walter is Chief Science Officer for Pear Therapeutics, a company that is combining digital health technology with pharmaceutical therapy, He is a founding Board Member of the International Society for Virtual Rehabilitation. 

Brian Hargreaves, MD

Brian Hargreaves is Associate Professor of Radiology, with courtesy appointments in Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering. He is Associate Chair of Research in Radiology, member of BioX, and former Stanford BioDesign Faculty Fellow. Dr. Hargreaves serves on NIH study sections and numerous committees of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine including Chair of the Web Editorial Board, and is a Fellow of the ISMRM. Dr. Hargreaves’ research lab, the Body MRI group is part of the Radiological Sciences Lab (RSL), and develops and applies novel techniques for breast, abdominal and musculoskeletal imaging. His group made significant contributions to the standard-of-care for MRI near joint replacements and spinal fixation devices. Additionally, they have developed advanced breast and knee imaging methods that are used routinely at Stanford Clinic. Dr. Hargreaves also teaches graduate course on programming MRI scanners as well as signal modeling for advanced MRI techniques.

Anthony Jarc, PhD

Anthony Jarc joined the Medical Research team at Intuitive Surgical in Summer 2011. He received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University in 2011. He applies his expertise in human motor control to investigate surgeon behavior when using the da Vinci surgical system. His current research focuses on quantifying surgeon behavior and developing new technologies to facilitate surgeon training and surgeon-robot interaction..

Allison Okamura, PhD

Allison Okamura is a Professor in the mechanical engineering department at Stanford University, with a courtesy appointment in computer science. She was previously Professor and Vice Chair of mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Okamura received the BS degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1994, and the MS and PhD degrees from Stanford University in 1996 and 2000, respectively, all in mechanical engineering. She has been an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Haptics, editor-in-chief of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation Conference Editorial Board, an editor of the International Journal of Robotics Research, and co-chair of the IEEE Haptics Symposium. Her awards include the 2016 Duca Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, 2009 IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics Early Career Award, 2005 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Academic Career Award, and 2004 NSF CAREER Award. She is an IEEE Fellow. 

Josh Richmond, MS

Josh Richmond brings 17 years of product development experience to Synaptive Medical where he leads a team of over 100 engineers and has overseen the development and launch of 11 major products. Before joining Synaptive, Josh was director of engineering for Hologic’s MR division; there, he charted the product roadmap for MR coils used for breast and prostate cancer imaging, which were acquired through Hologic’s acquisition of Sentinelle Medical Inc. Prior to Sentinelle’s acquisition, Josh brought nine breast coils to market for Siemens and Toshiba magnets in his role as systems engineer and technical product manager. Outside the medical device space, Josh spent six years at McDonald Dettwiler and Associates as a software and systems engineer on the ROSA and Orbital Express autonomous satellite servicing programs. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Systems Design Engineering from University of Waterloo and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science, specializing in reality-based modeling and computational intelligence, from the University of British Columbia. 

Sam Rodriguez, MD

Sam Rodriguez is a Pediatric Anesthesiologist at Stanford Children’s Hospital in the Clinician Educator Line. His clinical research involves creating and studying the effects of new technologies on pediatric stress and pain. He is the founder and co-director of the Stanford CHARIOT Program which creates and studies innovative approaches to treating children. The CHARIOT Program has positively impacted thousands of children and has grown to include emerging technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, and interactive video games. Dr. Rodriguez is also highly involved in medical humanities education at Stanford Medical School and teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels on how studying art can make better physicians.

Gary Steinberg, MD, PhD

Gary Steinberg is the Chair of Neurosurgery, Director of the Stanford Moyamoya Center, and the founder and Co-Director of the Stanford Stroke Center. As a cerebrovascular and skull base neurosurgeon, he specializes in treating brain aneurysms, moyamoya disease, brain and spinal AVMs and other vascular malformations, carotid artery disease, meningiomas, skull base tumors, stroke, and hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. Dr. Steinberg has practiced neurosurgery at Stanford for more than 29 years. He has pioneered microsurgical techniques to repair intracranial vascular malformations and certain aneurysms that were previously considered untreatable. He has also refined revascularization techniques for patients with cerebrovascular arterial occlusions, as well as moyamoya disease. He is leading novel clinical trials of stem cell therapy for stroke and spinal cord injury.

Amanda Wheeler, MD

Amanda J. Wheeler is a board certified surgeon who specializes in the surgical management of breast cancer. She completed her general surgical residency at Stanford University.  Her clinical research interest includes; breast conservation surgery using augmented reality. Dr. Wheeler serves on the Education Committee for the American Society of Breast Surgeons.  Her published research includes; the impact of screening mammography on the morbidity and mortality of breast cancer, utilization of breast MRI, the link between obesity and breast cancer and risk factors among the African American population for breast cancer. She has also written multiple chapters in leading textbooks and collaborated with other nationally recognized experts at MD Anderson, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Harvard University. At Stanford University, she collaborates with the department of anesthesia and radiology to improve patient outcomes in breast surgery. She is currently working on decreasing post-operative pain and immobility following breast surgery and using augmented reality intra operatively for tumor localization. Dr. Wheeler is the surgical medical director for the Clinical Advice Service Line at Stanford Health Care.