2013 Distinguished Investigators
The Academy for Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Research is proud to announce that a talented group of researchers received its Distinguished Investigator Award in 2013. The award recipients are listed below.
Dr. Alsop is best known for his work on translating arterial spin labeling perfusion MRI methods to clinical applications in patients. His first key contribution was to appreciate the challenge that long transit times of labeled blood represented for human ASL imaging. He introduced the concept of the post-labeling delay and the theoretical framework for quantification of perfusion with such a delay in a seminal paper. Dr. Alsop then proved methods for continuous labeling that enabled the initial applications of multi-slice continuous ASL in clinical research and later widespread application in clinical practice using standard clinical hardware.
Dr. Barkovich’s contributions cover most of pediatric neuroradiology, as well as epileptology, neonatology, and genetics. His early work on MRI of normal brain development enabled recognition of patterns of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic injury. These patterns appear to determine which neonates will respond to therapeutic hypothermia; the basal ganglia pattern is responsive but the watershed pattern is not. Newer studies include brain injury in prematurely born neonates and neonates with severe congenital heart disease. Dr. Barkovich’s other interest, in malformations, has resulted in improved understanding of brain malformations. Dr. Barkovich’s classification of malformations of 1) cortical development, 2) midbrain and hindbrain, and 3) corpus callosum agenesis4are the standards in neurology and genetics.
Dr. Basilion is a visionary in the field of molecular imaging (MI). At Harvard Medical School, Dr. Basilion produced a seminal Nature Medicine paper (cited 637 times), demonstrating MRI could be used to measure receptor expression in tumors. He was the first to envision MI of “molecular signatures” and has published the first example for eventual translation of this vision to clinics, Mol Pharm 2010. Dr. Basilion has also developed novel technology to provide near real-time imaging guidance for tumor margin identification during resection of brain tumors (PLoS One, 2012), defining a shorter path to clinic for optical imaging agents.
Dr. Brewer applies advanced imaging tools to study memory function and dysfunction. His seminal work in identifying the neural bases of memory encoding using functional imaging has now been cited over 850 times and his entire body of work has been cited more than 3300 times. In addition to his work in basic human memory, Dr. Brewer is passionate about applying quantitative imaging approaches to the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. His research has formed the critical bases behind the improved efficiency of clinical trials afforded by direct quantitative assessment of rates of neurodegeneration.
Dr. Brown has made several seminal contributions to the field. His most significant contribution is his invention of chemical shift imaging, a technique that has had enormous impact on the field and introduced the world of radiology to clinical MRS. His second most significant work is his paper in Science with Bob Shulman on cellular applications of 31P and 13C NMR, which introduced the field to what can be done with in vivo NMR applied to cells. Dr. Brown has also published a robust approach to real time motion correction in brain MRI.
Dr. Buxton is widely recognized for his work on the physiological basis of functional MRI and the blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) effect, based on the development and application of MRI methods for measuring blood flow and oxygen metabolism and development of mathematical models of the underlying physiology. Key early papers are a general model for quantitative arterial spin labeling (ASL) imaging, a proposed explanation for the apparent uncoupling of blood flow and oxygen metabolism during brain activation, and a model for the dynamics of these physiological variables. Dr. Buxton has also published a leading textbook on fMRI.
Dr. Collins’ focus is improvements to the efficacy, accessibility, and safety of high field MRI. Over the past 20 years, he has been devoted to developing tools and methods for determining effects of interactions between electromagnetic fields and tissues during Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).This has included computational investigations of effects of RF(B1) field/tissue interactions on safety and image quality, and demonstration of methods to perform safe, effective MRI at very high frequencies using parallel transmission. He has also developed methods for calculating temperature increase in tissue considering effects of RF heating in MRI and human physiology. Most recently, he has developed a comprehensive MR system simulation tool which generates realistic MR signal, noise, and heating distributions through time for arbitrary pulse sequences, including consideration of multiple transmit and receive coils. Dr. Collins’ contributions in computational electromagnetics for MRI are well recognized and many of his publications are standard references for groups performing field simulations throughout the world.
Case Western’s Laboratory for Image Guided Therapeutics was established in 2003. Dr. Exner’s research there has been supported since 2003 by extramural sources including R2 l and RO 1 awards from the NIBIB and NCI. These efforts have put her on the forefront of ultrasound-guided technology development in biomedical sciences; the lab was first to develop a thermosensitizer delivery approach to enhance tumor radiofrequency ablation, apply noninvasive ultrasound imaging to study local chemotherapy implants and are now applying these methods to biomaterial analysis. Dr. Exner’s group was also first to develop echogenic nanobubble ultrasound contrast agents employed in molecular imaging.
Dr. Fayad’s interdisciplinary discipline-bridging research, from engineering to biology and from pre-clinical to clinical, has targeted the detection and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Seminal contributions in biomedical imaging and nanomedicine have enabled the use of noninvasive multimodal imaging for atherosclerosis assessment, with ground-breaking characterizations of in vivo plaque in transgenic mice and humans. His work was first to demonstrate that aortic and carotid disease can be clearly visualized, quantified and characterized by MR, and that statins can influence progression. His laboratory has contributed significantly to vascular PET, and has recently characterized the first non-invasive (MRI/FDG-PET) multicenter clinical trial evaluating atherosclerosis using a new treatment. In molecular imaging, they were first to describe the use of targeted iodine-based nanoparticles for atherosclerosis 3. They were first to describe the multimodal (MR/CT/optical/etc.) lipid nanoparticles for imaging and delivery. Dr. Fayad’s work on the nature and progression of atherosclerosis continues to stimulate basic and translational science research.