Alex Alvarez

Recent Graduate
College of Medicine – Tucson
Year Entered Program: 
Grad Year: 
Degrees Received: 

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering, May 2015

Thesis Advisor: 
Russell Witte
Thesis Research: 

Our lab aims to apply ultrasound physics in novel ways to develop new diagnostic modalities in imaging the body. Currently, my work is focused on improving one of these modalities - acoustoelectric cardiac imaging - in order to noninvasively map the 4D (3D space over time) electrical activity of the heart. Using this modality, we hope to be able to improve characterization and targeted treatment of arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation.

About Me: 

My name is Alex, and I am currently an MD/PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Arizona. I have a strong interest in developing medical imaging technologies for underserved populations and for low resource settings. Though I'm originally from Albuquerque, I've been in the Old Pueblo for the past 8 years pursuing my dreams. In my spare time, I like to ride bicycles around the gorgeous Tucson desert, listen and dance to all sorts of reggaeton and hip hop, and make films with my partner (or travel the world to go visit her as she currently lives in India).

Honors & Awards: 

Fellowships/Grants Funded

  • A. Alvarez. Cardiovascular Biomedical Engineering Training Grant Trainee. NIH 5T32HL007955-18. June 2018-Present.

  • A. Alvarez. Graduate and Professional Student Council Travel Grant. Awarded $680 for travel to the American Society for Echocardiography Scientific Sessions 2019. May 2019.

  • A. Alvarez, C. Lamneck. “Salud de la Frontera  - Improving Healthcare Delivery in the Border Zone.” Arizona Area Health Education Center Small Program Grant. Awarded $4,980 for organizing and execution of a border health conference in Southern Arizona. May 2019.

  • A. Alvarez. Graduate College Fellowship. University of Arizona Graduate College. Awarded $52,750 for August 2017-July 2018.

  • R. Amini, A. M. Alvarez, S. Adhikari, W. Rappaport. “Student Innovation Fund: Ultrasound Technology Integration.” University of Arizona Information Technology Student Advisory Board. Awarded $30,000 for purchase of ultrasound machine for community clinic. May 2016.

Other Honors/Awards

  • Champion for Engineering Education. University of Arizona Chapter - American Society for Engineering Education. May 2019.

  • Medical Student Leadership Award for Diversity and Inclusion. University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson. March 2019.

  • Jean Hanson Award for Diversity in Science. Alternative Muscle Club Meeting - University of California, San Diego. October 2018.

  • Best Proceedings Paper Award. American Society for Engineering Education Student Division National Conference. June 2018. 

  • International Society for Mechanical Circulatory Support Hackathon Winner - Acoustoelectric Echocardiographic Imaging for Improved Prediction of Sudden Cardiac Death in Advanced Heart Failure. October 2017.

  • Medical Student Leadership Award for Community Service. University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson. March 2017.

  • Arizona Medical Association/Pima County Medical Society/Maricopa County Medical Society/MICA Foundation Essay Scholarship Competition Winner - Combating Government Incursion upon the Patient-Physician Relationship. January 2017.

Selected Publications: 


  • C. Preston, A. Alvarez, A. Barragan, J. Beker, W. Kasoff, R. Witte. "High Resolution Transcranial Acoustoelectric Imaging of Current Densities from a Directional Deep Brain Stimulator." In Review

  • L. F. Palafox, C. W. Hamilton, S. P. Scheidt, A. M. Alvarez. “Automated Detection of Geological Landforms on Mars using Convolutional Neural Networks.” Comp. & Geosci. Vol. 101. April 2017.

Conference Posters/Abstracts:

  • A. Alvarez, C. Preston, T. Trujillo, C. Wilhite, A. Burton, A. Barragan, C. Ingram, R. S. Witte. (November 2019). Mapping Cardiac Electromechanical Coupling using Acoustoelectric Echocardiography. Poster presented at AMA EXPO Research Poster Finalist Competition. San Diego, CA.

  • A. Alvarez, C. Wihite, C. Preston, T. Trujillo, A. McArthur, D. Mustacich, R.S. Witte. (October 2019). 4D Cardiac Activation Wave Mapping in In Vivo Swine Model using Acoustoelectric Imaging. Poster presented at IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium. Glasgow, Scotland. 

  • C. Wilhite, A. Alvarez, A. Burton, C. Preston, D. Mustacich, A. Fuglevand, K. Gothard, S. Cowen, R.S. Witte. (October 2019). In vivo swine model for developing and validating acoustoelectric brain imaging: Towards noninvasive, real-time 4D electrical brain mapping. Poster presented at Neuroscience. Chicago, IL.

  • A. Alvarez, C. Wilhite, C. Preston, A. Barragan, R.S. Witte. (June 2019). Validation of Acoustoelectric Cardiac Imaging in Swine Model: Toward Real-Time, High Resolution Electroanatomic Mapping in Humans. Poster presented at American Society of Echocardiography Scientific Sessions. Portland, OR.

  • A. Alvarez, J. Ferng, C. Preston, P. Ingram, R.S. Witte. (October 2018). Effects of Ultrasound Frequency and Beam Pattern on Acoustoelectric Cardiac Imaging. Poster presented at Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers International Ultrasonics Symposium. Kobe, Japan.

  • A. Alvarez, J. Ferng, I. Chinyere, C. Wilhite, A. Burton, A. Barragan, R.S. Witte. (October 2018). Acoustoelectric Imaging for High Resolution Mapping of the Cardiac Activation Wave in Swine. Seminar presented at the Alternative Muscle Club Meeting. San Diego, CA.

  • B. Vezino, A. Alvarez, B. Hempel, V. Subbian. (June 2018). Re-envisioning the Role of the Engineering Education Chapter at a Research-I Institution. Lessons from a Cross-disciplinary Model. Seminar presented at the American Society for Engineering Education National Conference. Salt Lake City, UT.

  • A. Alvarez, P. C. Johnson, S. Zawada, L. Shaw, M. Franco, V. Subbian. (May 2018). Beyond Ramps and Signs: Rethinking Support Structures for Engineering Students with Disabilities. Seminar presented at the American Society for Engineering Education CoNECD Conference. Crystal City, VA.

  • A. Alvarez, G. Guzman, J. Perry, C. Sogge. (March 2018). UAHS LGBTQ+ Interest Group. Panel presentation at the University of Arizona Inclusive Excellence Symposium. Tucson, AZ.

  • A. Alvarez, V. Subbian. (February 2018). The Role of Diverse Identities in Engineering. Workshop sessions presented at University of Arizona American Society of Engineering Education Student Chapter’s  Engineering in an Intersectional World, Tucson, AZ.

  • A. Alvarez, C. Ingram, R. S. Witte. (December 2017). Resolution and sensitivity of Acoustoelectric Cardiac Imaging using ultrasound phased arrays. Seminar presented at the American Physician Scientist Association West Regional Meeting, Irvine, CA.

  • A. Alvarez, K. Ramos. (February 2017). Research & Scholarship - Introduction and Advice on Getting Into Health Science Research. Invited speaker presentation at Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians - West Regional Conference, Tucson, AZ.

MD-PhD Committee Student Rep: 
MD-PhD Committee Student Rep