Published: 03/07/2023

The Stanford King Center on Global Development’s Academic Year Part-Time Research Assistant Program connects King Center faculty affiliates and affiliated researchers with undergraduate students committed to providing approximately 10 hours per week (no more) of research support during fall, winter, and spring quarters. 

Students have the opportunity to engage in world-class research and have real-world impact. Undergraduate student research assistants receive a stipend of $1,500 for the Spring quarter. 

Students must be enrolled full-time to participate. Students are not allowed to also receive academic credit for this research.

Research Project Description:

There is a strong global need for affordable X-ray technologies. Estimates show that the majority of the global population lack meaningful access to medical X-ray imaging. As an example, chest radiography has very high sensitivity (>90%) for detecting active tuberculosis and is thus endorsed by the WHO as an excellent screening tool. However, high equipment cost ($50k-90k for a portable system) is a major barrier in democratizing the access to radiography. Furthermore, there are major issues with maintenance of clinical X-ray equipment which often require expensive service contracts. A large fraction of X-ray equipment in developing countries originate from donations from high-income countries. As these donations typically do not include installation and service contracts, they often end up never functioning as intended.

Motivated by the above, we are actively thinking about strategies to develop low-cost X-ray technologies based on open-source principles to enable sustainable manufacturing and maintenance by local communities. These technologies include X-ray sources and detectors as well as radiation survey meters and personal dosimeters. We are currently starting a long-term collaboration with clinicians and engineers in Nairobi, Kenya where we aim to evaluate prototypes developed in at Stanford.

As the project is still in an early stage the RA will be involved in brainstorming and have the opportunity to contribute with ideas on how to approach problems in different subprojects. The specific responsibilities will be tailored to the skillset and/or interest of the student, but can include electronics prototyping, 3D modeling, coding mobile apps, writing algorithms for image processing on low-cost platforms (e.g., smartphones or Raspberry Pis) etc.

Research Mentor: Dr. Kian Shaker, Postdoctoral Fellow, Radiology Department

Eligibility and Requirements: 

  • Stanford undergraduate students in good academic standing are eligible to apply.
  • Co-term students must have undergraduate student status. 
  • Students must be enrolled full-time to hold this position.
  • All majors are welcome 

Students qualifications:

Passion for global health, low-cost engineering, medical imaging, and open-source philosophy. No other specific requirements, but experience/interest in electronics, prototyping, and coding would be beneficial.

Time Commitment:   

The time commitment is defined as no more than 10 hours per week (equivalent to a 3-unit course) during fall quarter with possible continuation in winter and spring quarters.  

These hours may be an average and be flexible across the 10-week quarter to accommodate your academic obligations such as finals week.

To Apply: 

Along with the application, applicants are asked to submit a cover letter, resume or CV, and an unofficial Stanford transcript.

Incoming frosh do not need to submit transcripts for fall quarter applications.

Amount: $1500

Contact: Mara Violanti