Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content
Home : About Us

Medical Engineering Forum

About Us

Dr. Leon AlkalaiThe JPL Medical Engineering Forum is a virtual organization at JPL that brings together scientists, technologists and engineers who have a passion for applying their knowledge developed for space applications to the benefit of humanity on Earth specifically to solving challenging problems in healthcare and medicine. The MEF is led by Dr. Leon Alkalai at JPL who reports to Ms. Leslie Livesay, Director of the Engineering and Science Directorate (ESD) at JPL, and to Dr. Jakob Van Zyl, the JPL Associate Director for Project Formulation and Strategy.

Vision Statement

The Vision for the JPL MEF is to harness the unique technology being developed at JPL for the exploration of space and to apply those technologies to solving challenging problems in healthcare and medicine. Space exploration and medical applications have much in common. Both benefit from the use of highly miniaturized and highly autonomous robotic systems; systems that have to survive in harsh environments and perform reliably over an extended period of time. Moreover, exquisite detectors that are used to detect galaxies and supernovae can be applied to imaging brain tumors; mass spectrometers used for detecting traces of molecules on the International Space Station (ISS) can also be used to pick up small traces of bio markers in fluids or gases (eNose); and much more.

Advisory Board

The JPL Medical Engineering Forum is working together with the Medical Engineering Department at Caltech to establish a common Science and Engineering Advisory Board to help guide and advise JPL and Caltech in developing strategic directions for the future and how best to apply its resources to solving challenge problems in medical engineering.

Dr. Shouleh Nikzad Dr. Shouleh Nikzad led the JPL Blue Sky Study on Medical Engineering that resulted in the formation of the Medical Engineering Forum. She co-leads the MEF and she liasons with Caltech Medical Engineering. Shouleh also chairs the Distinguished Lecturer Series on Medical Engineering at JPL. Shouleh is a Senior Research Scientist and she holds visiting appointments at Caltech’s Physics Math, and Astronomy Division, Medical Engineering Department, and at Cedar Sinai Medical Center’s Neurosurgery Department. Dr. Nikzad’s research interests span a wide range including materials, detectors, and applications in planetary sciences, astrophysics, space weather, and medicine.

Commercial Program Office

The Commercial Program Office oversees for all Industry sponsored research and development projects at JPL, as well as technology transfer to Industry. The office seeks partnerships with Industry that enhance the value and contribution of the technology developed at the Laboratory, as well as increase the quality of life on this planet.

Dr. Indrani Graczyk Dr. Indrani Graczyk manages the JPL Commercial Program Office. Partnerships with the Medical Sector are of particular interest to the Commercial Program Office, as there is a demonstrated overlap between the technology needs of space and medicine. The Commercial Program Office is lead by Indrani Graczyk.

Moogega Cooper Moogega Cooper is the communications specialist. Moogega supports both the InSight and Mars 2020 missions in Planetary Protection as well as develops technologies for future sterilization usage.

xxxxxxxxxxxx Jakob Van Zyl is the Laboratory Associate Director.

xxxxxxxxxxxx Leslie Livesay is the Director for Engineering and Science.

Caltech Technology Transfer Office

Caltech Technology Transfer Office