Why I Joined Q Bio: Sen Ma, Image Reconstruction Engineer

Sen Ma, Image Reconstruction Engineer

An interdisciplinary field of mathematics, physics, and medicine, MRI just seems to be perfectly made for me. On one hand, MRI attracts me because there are subfields where I could do research in maths, but on the other hand, I always wanted to make a difference in healthcare and I consider MRI the top level imaging modality in the current healthcare system. I have seen first-hand how MRI is capable of assisting doctors to make accurate diagnosis. I have also seen how the accessibility of MRI is limited to a majority of people in the US, and I wanted to change that. 

I have always had a strong inclination toward math and physics. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in the department of electrical engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. I set out to earn my PhD degree in the department of bioengineering at UCLA, where I specialized in MRI physics, pulse sequence development, and image reconstruction techniques for neuroimaging and abdominal imaging. After my studies, I fed my interest in MRI as a postdoctoral scientist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where my research area of interest was multiparametric quantitative MRI, diffusion MRI, and advanced image reconstruction techniques (compressed sensing, multidimensional imaging, low-rank matrix/tensor imaging, etc.). 

Working in academia, I always wanted to jump out of my comfort zone – instead of publishing fancy papers that may take 20 years to be made into practical products, I really wanted to take what I learned during my PhD career and make a contribution to healthcare. 

This led me to where I am today: I first joined Q Bio in March 2021 as an image reconstruction engineer. I am excited to grow in this role as  I know that my work will extend far beyond image reconstruction, and expand into other life-saving, cost-effective medical scanning tools. My role at Q Bio is to develop image reconstruction techniques for various medical scanning applications that will be deployed to the Q scanner. These reconstruction techniques take advantage of the state-of-art mathematical models, such as compressed sensing, low-rank models, etc., allowing for highly under-sampled acquisition and substantially reduced scan time for whole-body scans. 

Even before I began at Q Bio, I talked with Thomas Witzel and Jeff Kaditz many times, who thoroughly described Q Bio’s mission to me. Everyone knows that regular health screening is important, especially in the fight against diseases that don’t have any symptoms at the early stage, and health screenings that take into account your body measurements and health records can identify differences in your body year to year. What we are doing here at Q Bio is breaking the barrier around this type of care – reducing the cost of scanning so that this is available to everyone.

I love working at Q Bio because I’m surrounded by so many talented people who are passionate about making a difference in healthcare, and truly support each other in our common goal. Q Bio is doing something unparalleled, and it was the innovative vision and mission that drew me into the company. We are building scanners that are based on the laws of physics to directly produce measurements of the human body, giving the opportunity of whole-body screening and health tracking to everyone at a low cost. At Q Bio, we are optimizing doctor’s time and prioritizing healthcare resources to people who need them most urgently, something that has never been achieved in this way.