Company

Our Story

The team was formed at a brainstorming session hosted by the iHub at Brigham and Women’s Hospital designed to help clinicians and researchers bring their ideas into reality. Additional collaborators include experienced radiologists, oncologists, neurologists and neurosurgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Our Mission

Our mission is to revolutionize neuroimaging through groundbreaking technology. We are committed to providing cutting-edge software solutions that enhance the accuracy, accessibility, and clinical utility of MRS data, ultimately empowering clinicians and researchers to make informed decisions for better patient care.

Our Vision

Our goal is to put the power of MRS into the hands of clinicians and researchers worldwide, making the virtual biopsy a reality. By combining our expertise in MRS with innovative visualizations, we strive to transform complex neuroimaging data into clear, actionable insights. BrainSpec is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of MRS research and driving advancements in the field of neuroscience, all with the overarching goal of improving the lives of individuals affected by neurological conditions.

Locations

Research Sites

Team

Alexander P. Lin, PhD

Co-Founder & Scientific Lead

Alexander P. Lin, PhD is the director of the Center for Clinical Spectroscopy in the department of radiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Lin is a graduate of the California Institute of Technology, where he completed his Masters degree in Bioengineering and his doctoral degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. Dr. Lin commenced at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2009 where his research has focused on translating magnetic resonance spectroscopy technology into clinical practice in areas such as traumatic brain injury, cancer, metabolic disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, psychiatric disorders, and many others. In 2016, with the support of the BWH iHub, he co-founded BrainSpec, Inc. a software platform that enables efficient, accurate, and non-invasive diagnosis of brain disorders by measuring brain chemistry. The company was the Google Cloud Machine Learning Startup Competition Winner, Tufts New Venture competition winner and Harvard finalist as well as a part of MassBio, TechStars, and Philips Healthworks.

Alex Zimmerman, MS, MBA

CEO & CO-FOUNDER

Alexandra Zimmerman is the CEO of BrainSpec, a precision neuroimaging startup company founded out of Brigham & Women’s Hospital. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University, her Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University, and an MBA from Harvard University. In the Harvard Business School MBA program, she received the R.F. Jasse Distinguished Award in Entrepreneurship and Leadership. Under Alex’s leadership, BrainSpec Inc. has achieved significant milestones, including the development of the first of its kind a central database for brain metabolite levels, which is currently under evaluation with the FDA. This breakthrough database holds great potential for advancing the understanding and diagnosis of neurological disorders. Furthermore, BrainSpec’s technology earned FDA Breakthrough Device Designation for its detection of 2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG) in gliomas. Alex’s experience as a Blavatnik Fellow in Life Science Entrepreneurship at Harvard University played a vital role in the company’s success, bridging the gap between scientific research and practical applications in the field of neuroscience.

Antonia Susnjar, PhD

MRS & OUTREACH

Antonia Susnjar, PhD is the postdoctoral research fellow at the in the department of radiology at the Harvard Medical School & Massachusetts General Hospital in the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. Dr. Susnjar is a graduate of the Purdue University, where she completed her Doctorate degree in Biomedical engineering where her research has focused on using novel MRI methodologies such as Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (single voxel, spectroscopic imaging, edited MRS), Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) and functional MRI (fMRI) on clinical applications in post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, treatment response of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and many others.

Dave Salon

Strategy & Partnerships

Dave’s experience spans across several years of leading strategy, partnership, and commercial development teams at renowned organizations including Sony Entertainment and Rakuten.  As a founding member of multiple venture capital-funded startups at the crossroads of technology, media, and wellness, Dave has played a pivotal role in shaping innovative ventures. He received an MBA with high distinction from Fordham University.

Carolyn Guthrie, MS, RAC

QUALITY & REGULATORY

Carolyn Guthrie (MS Human Cell Biology, MS Regulatory, RAC(devices)) has extensive experience in implementation and management of all aspects of medical device quality management, as well regulatory submissions in the United States and European Union. Her experience spans various technologies from orthopedic, dental and neurological implants, to wound dressings, and standalone software. Submissions include successful breakthrough designations, 30+ 510(k)s, INDs, all types of Q-subs, and CE marking under both MDD and now MDR.

Dan McCormack

DATA & OPS
Throughout his career, Dan has immersed himself in the world of science and engineering, driving transformative change through technology and fostering collaboration. As an engineering leader, he has worked across Healthcare, Bioinformatics, and industrial domains, specializing in data-driven products with a strong focus on machine learning.

Dan has been fortunate to join teams that tackled critical technical products, pioneering innovative solutions in cancer and neurodegenerative disease screening, personalized medicine, vaccines, and the recent COVID-19 pandemic. He is very proud of the teams and products he’s helped to build, which are used by government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and medical professionals.

His mission in technology, like that of so many others, is to make a meaningful impact and contribute to a brighter future for all. In pursuit of this vision, Dan is excited to help bring the transformative technology of spectroscopy to users all over the world.

Samir Reddigari

LEAD SOFTWARE DEVELOPER

Samir graduated from Indiana University in 2015 with degrees in neuroscience and biochemistry. During several years in neurolinguistics research at New York University, he discovered his love of programming, and joined BrainSpec as a developer in 2018. In his free time, Samir enjoys elaborate cooking projects, baseball, and aimless walks.

Eva-Maria Ratai, PhD

Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Eva-Maria Ratai is the Director of Clinical Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) since 2003. After completing her Doctoral Thesis in Physical Chemistry at the University of Münster in Germany in 2000 and her first post-doctoral position in the Department of Chemistry at UC Davis, she accepted a postdoctoral fellowship with the Department of Radiology at MGH in 2002. After completing her fellowship, she joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School (HMS) in 2004 and is currently an Associate Professor of Radiology at HMS.

As the Director of Clinical Spectroscopy, her clinical activities at MGH include the development, implementation, and optimization of new MRI and MR spectroscopy pulse sequences and protocols, as well as data processing tools to improve patient diagnosis, guide therapy, and enhance clinical throughput.

In addition to her clinical duties, Dr. Ratai has been conducting clinical research related to neoplasms, as well as neurodegenerative diseases, neuro-infectious diseases, and neuro-developmental disorders including neuropathic pain, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and spinocerebellar ataxia and recently COVID and diabetes. Lastly, Dr Ratai is currently PI, Side -PI or Co-PI on several NIH or NSF funded grants and served as standing member and Chair and on an NIH study section.

Gülin Öz, PhD

Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Gülin Öz is Professor at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, University of Minnesota and specializes in magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and imaging (MRI). Following BS degrees in Physics and Chemistry from Bosphorus University in Istanbul and a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota, she continued with postdoctoral training at the CMRR where she later joined the faculty.

She uses high field, multi-nuclear MRS to explore neurochemical and metabolic alterations in diseases that affect the brain and spearheaded utilization of neurochemical profiles to assess cerebral changes in patients with neurological diseases and their response to treatment. She focuses on applications of advanced MRS methods in neurodegenerative diseases including spinocerebellar ataxias, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s diseases and ALS. She further studies the effects of diabetes and the hypoglycemic consequences of intensive insulin therapy on brain glucose and glycogen metabolism in humans. She leads efforts to facilitate the harmonization of advanced MRI and MRS methodology in the multi-site clinical trial setting.  She serves as PI of a Consortium to assess COVID-19 sequelae in the brain (COVID-BRAIN) and MPI of a Clinical Trial Readiness study (READISCA) that aims to validate MRI and MRS biomarkers in the earliest stages of neurodegeneration in spinocerebellar ataxias.

Stefan Blüml, PhD

Scientific Advisory Board

Academic Appointment and Current Position (2001 – 2023)
Professor of Research Radiology and Biomedical Engineering, Keck School of Medicine and Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles
Director, New Imaging Technology Lab., Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles

Education
Ph.D., Physics, University of Heidelberg, Germany (1990-1994)

Post-Graduate Training
Huntington Medical Research Institutes, Pasadena (1995-1997)

Research Interests
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), metabolism, pediatric brain diseases, brain tumors, encephalopathies, brain maturation, inborn errors of metabolism.

Thao Tran, MSc

Scientific Advisory Board
Thao Tran is a MR Technologist with 20 years’ experience in cardiac MRI and MR spectroscopy in a hybrid clinical and research setting. Ms. Tran studied biology at UCLA and received her Master of Science in Applied Sciences of Magnetic Resonance from Anglia Ruskin University in 2017. While at Huntington Medical Research Institutes, under the guidance and supervision of Dr. Brian Ross and Dr. Alexander Lin, Thao was involved in research studies implementing MRS in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, HIV, traumatic brain injury and hepatic encephalopathy, resulting in over 20 publications. Thao is also a MRS instructor who has coordinated over 15 MRS Courses in collaboration with GE MR Scientists and has trained more than 100 spectroscopists worldwide.

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