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University of California San Francisco

Our Team

Mekhail Anwar, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology

Aspiring chef, winter traveler, melding computer chips and biology to fight cancer

Meet Dr. Anwar
Solving the problems that our patients face every day, with new creative solutions is energizing.

Mekhail Anwar

Mekhail Anwar, MD PhD, is a physician-scientist with over 15 years of experience in bioengineering and integrated circuit design experience, with an active clinical practice in Radiation Oncology. He received his BA in Physics from UC Berkeley, where he graduated as the University Medalist, and went on to receive his Ph.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge MA) in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences followed by an MD from the University of California, San Francisco, completing residency in Radiation Oncology at UCSF. He joined the faculty at the UCSF in 2014, where he focuses on the use of precision radiotherapy for challenging to treat malignancies, such as pancreas cancer. He is a Core member of the UC Berkeley and UCSF Bioengineering group, and recipient of the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program Physician Research Award, the AACR Career Development Award and the NIH Trailblazer Award.



Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, MA PhD Electrical Engineer and Computer Science
University of California, San Francisco MD School of Medicine
Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego, CA Resident Internal Medicine
University of California, San Francisco Resident Radiation Oncology


Professional Experience

Professional Experience

2014-present UCSF Assistant Professor in Residence Radiation Oncology

Awards & Honors

2020 NIH DP2 New Innovator Award (National Institutes of Health)
2019 AACR-Novocure Career Development Award (American Association of Cancer Research)
2019 NIH Trailblazer Award (National Institutes of Health)
2018 New Directions in Prostate Cancer Research Award (UC San Francisco Cancer Center)



Recent Significant Publications



Lee, K., Scholey, J., Norman, E. B., Daftari, I. K., Mishra, K. K., Faddegon, B. A., … Anwar, M. (2020). A Millimeter-scale Single Charged Particle Dosimeter for Cancer Radiotherapy. ArXiv Preprint ArXiv:2005.05071.

The inability to precisely predict dose distribution of both proton radiotherapy and radionuclides limits use of these technologies. Here we introduce a first-in-class
millimeter scale dosimeter in computer chip (integrated circuit) technology that both counts and measures the energy of single charged particles.  The small form-factor and integration with ICs opens the door to implantable dosimetry
unlocking these therapies for hard to treat cancers.

Susko, M., Wang, C.-C., Lazar, A., Kim, S., Laffan, A., Feng, M., … Anwar, M.
(2020). Factors impacting differential outcomes in the definitive radiation treatment of anal cancer between HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients.
The Oncologist.

Anal cancer is a relatively rare and understudied disease, and within this, the outcomes of HIV positive patients – who are at exceedingly high risk due – remain unknown.
Here we present results of the largest single institution series of anal cancer and HIV patients to provide insight into treatment outcomes, finding that immune status as measured by CD4 post-treatment, as well as delays in treatment
initiation, significantly worsen outcomes – providing an avenue to improve care for our patients. 

Najafiaghdam, H., Papageorgiou, E., Torquato, N. A., Tian, B., Cohen, B. E., & Anwar, M.
(2019). A 25 micron-thin microscope for imaging upconverting nanoparticles with NIR-I and NIR-II illumination.
Theranostics, 9(26), 8239–8252. doi:10.7150/thno.37672

Intraoperative imaging of microscopic disease is essential to complete surgical removal of all tumor cells and optimal cancer outcomes, however high sensitivity in a small,
versatile form-factor remains elusive as standard microscopes are bulky.  Here we implement a novel time-gated imaging strategy with nanoparticles and computer chip technology to dispense with all optics and create a microscopic
imaging platform just 25 microns thin.  This opens the door to integrating imagers on virtually any surface, turning surgical tools themselves into imagers.

Papageorgiou, E. P., Boser, B., & Anwar, M. (2019). Chip-Scale
Angle-Selective Imager for In Vivo Microscopic Cancer Detection.
IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems.

This work advances the field of intraoperative imaging by shrinking a fluorescence microscope down a 3 x 5 x 0.5 mm computer chip, opening the door to highly sensitive
intraoperative imaging in an ultra-small form factor. This platform represents the culmination of several innovations – microfabricated optics removing the need for bulky lenses, new optical filter technology removing the need for
complex filters and lenses, integrated micro illumination and custom imager design. This opens the door to real-time intraoperative imaging of microscopic disease to guide precision surgery and postoperative radiation.

Ameri, A., Zhang, L., Gharia, A., Niknejad, A. M., & Anwar, M.
(2019). A 114GHz Biosensor with Integrated Dielectrophoresis for Single Cell Characterization. In
2019 Symposium on VLSI Circuits (pp. C314–C315).
IEEE. doi:10.23919/VLSIC.2019.8778194

All electric sensing and manipulation of tumor cells is possible with electric fields.  We use ultrahigh frequency electric fields to penetrate deep into single cells to
probe their characteristics without the use of any labels.  This opens the door to a broad area of sensing without injecting labels – which add significant discovery and development time and cost, and not current available for many
cancers.  Furthermore, the ability to modulate the division of cells using electric fields, opens the door to a fully integrated solution for cancer detection and treatment built on computer chip technology.



Redefining Possible