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  • R&E Foundation Seed The Future
  • R&E Grant Leads to Promising Alzheimer’s Disease Research

    Rahul Desikan, MDRahul S. Desikan, MD, PhD, the 2016 Ralph Schlaeger Charitable Foundation Research Fellow Grant recipient, led an international team of scientists who developed a new genetic test for Alzheimer’s risk that can potentially be used to predict the age at which a person will develop the disease. The research was recently published in PLOS Medicine.

    “This work would not have been possible without the RSNA Research & Education (R&E) Foundation imaging grant,” said Dr. Desikan, an assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco, Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging. “Thanks in part to the R&E Foundation, I sincerely believe that we will be able to do some good for patients with our new genetic score. A special thanks to the R&E Study Section members who saw the value of this project and the donors who were kind enough to establish this grant.”

    Dr. Desikan’s passion for neuroradiologic research has led to additional studies published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology, Acta Neuropathologica, and the Annals of Neuroradiology.

     First-awarded in 2009, the Derek Harwood-Nash Education Scholar Grant was made possible by an individual donor endowment from Paul E. Berger, MD. The grant focuses on opportunities for international educators and investigators."  


    Grant Recipients Develop RSNA’s First Comparative Effectiveness Research Online Courses for CME Credit

    Brian W. Bresnahan, PhD and Jeffrey G. Jarvik, MD, MPHWith his 2012 Philips Healthcare/RSNA Education Scholar Grant, Brian W. Bresnahan, PhD, developed RSNA’s first Comparative Effectiveness Research online courses, collaborating with other content experts. Dr. Bresnahan developed the courses with his mentor, Jeffrey G. Jarvik, MD, MPH, a 1994 RSNA Research Seed Grant recipient.

    The courses are: * Basic Overview of Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) in the United States * Basic Overview of Health Services Research * Health Economic Evaluation: General Methods and Applications for Radiology * Efficiency, Communication and Preparedness in Emergency Radiology * Health Policy, Reimbursement and Adding Value in Health Systems: An Overview of Issues in Radiology * Comparative Effectiveness Research in Radiology – Collective Module Summary

    These online courses are free to RSNA members and non-members. Each module provides AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM, except for “Comparative Effectiveness Research in Radiology – Collective Module Summary.” They can be found in the eLearn section of the RSNA Education website at RSNA.org/Education.


    Research Targets Sickle Cell Disease Crisis in Nigeria

    Kofoworola O. Soyebi, MBChBWith her 2016 Derek Harwood-Nash Education Scholar Grant, Kofoworola O. Soyebi, MBChB, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba in Lagos, Nigeria, is addressing a major health crisis in Nigeria, home to the largest number of children with sickle cell disease (SCD). One devastating complication of SCD, stroke, is largely preventable by early risk detection with transcranial doppler (TCD) screening and timely intervention. Unfortunately, only one TCD facility is available for the entire country. Through her research, Dr. Soyebi seeks to increase the number of available TCD centers, trainers and sonographers through capacity building and equipment provision in order to facilitate the integration of TCD screening into routine management of children with SCD.

     First-awarded in 2009, the Derek Harwood-Nash Education Scholar Grant was made possible by an individual donor endowment from Paul E. Berger, MD. The grant focuses on opportunities for international educators and investigators.


    Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) to Predict Neurologic Outcome in the Comatose Patient

    Allen Ardestani, MD, PhD, Despite ongoing advances in neurocritical care, there is no readily available clinical tool for objective measurement of brain activity in comatose patients. Using a 2016 RSNA Research Resident Grant, Allen Ardestani, MD, PhD, of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, will investigate the use of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) – a functional-imaging modality that quantifies cerebral oxygenation based on its optical rather than magnetic properties – to quantify neural network connectivity in unconscious patients. Quantitative assessment of neural activity and its correlation with subsequent neurologic outcome may provide a diagnostic and prognostic methodology for the objective assessment of neural injury following an injury to the brain.

    “This novel approach combines the advantages of a safe, inexpensive and portable functional-imaging modality with an easily administrable resting-state paradigm to assess neural integrity in unresponsive patients,” Dr. Ardestani said. "By substantiating a methodology with prognostic potential in such patients, these findings could significantly impact decision-making in intensive care.


    Improving Diagnosis, Staging and Treatment of Eye Disease

    Jamal J. Derakhshan, MD, PhD, Eye diseases such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy are significant causes of morbidity in the United States, and are typically examined by visible light techniques with high anatomical detail. Siemens Healthineers/RSNA Research Fellow Grant recipient Jamal J. Derakhshan, MD, PhD, shown here with co-investigator and past R&E grant recipient Laurie A. Loevner, MD, will investigate and develop the ability add new physiological information using diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI)-thermometry to make non-invasive temperature measurements in the eyes. 

    The specific aims of this grant are critical technical development to extending DWI-thermometry to the globe using both existing DWI techniques and newer techniques free of geometrical distortions, which may allow for 3D mapping of ocular temperature along the retina," said Dr. Derakhshan. “Together, these hold great potential for improving diagnosis and treatment of prevalent high-morbidity diseases and would possibly open a new avenue of research into ocular disease as well as providing a new noninvasive diagnostic and treatment monitoring tool.


    Moving Toward an Improved Decision-making Model for Treating Full Thickness Rotator Cuff

    Derek Davis, MD Using his 2016 Hitachi Medical Systems/RSNA Research Seed Grant, Derik L. Davis, MD, assistant professor, Department of Diagnostic Radiology & Nuclear Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, will evaluate the association of intramuscular fatty infiltration (IFI), functional outcomes and re-tear rate following surgical repair of rotator cuff tears (RCTs). 

    "Exploring the relationship among post-operative shoulder function, re-tear rate and IFI may help foster improved algorithms for clinical decision making in older adults who present with RCTs," Dr. Davis Said. "Successful completion of this research may provide clinical radiologists, orthopaedic surgeons and rehabilitation specialists with a new paradigm to improve treatment of rotator cuff tears over the current standard of care.


    Research Resident Grant Recipient Awarded $2 Million From NIH

    Terence Gade, MD, PhD

    Terence Gade, MD, PhD, received the 2012 Cook Medical Cesare Gianturco/RSNA Research Resident Grant to evaluate the use of dynamic hyperpolarized carbon-13 nuclear MR spectroscopy for the non-invasive assessment of metabolic changes in hepatocellular carcinoma cells, in response to transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) treatment. These metabolic changes enable cell survival under TACE-induced ischemia and often result in recurrence following a period of latency, not seen until follow-up imaging.

    Dr. Gade, now an assistant professor of radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, has been awarded a $2 million, 5-Year NIH Director’s Early Independence Award to further elucidate the metabolic alterations in cells surviving ischemia and to translate his initial findings into a clinically applicable imaging paradigm that will improve treatment of this devastating disease.

    “This is the first time a radiologist has received this award and I think it demonstrates the progress we are making in radiology research, in large part due to pilot funding mechanisms like the Research Resident Grant,” Dr. Gade said. “I want to express my appreciation for the support of the Foundation and all who make these grants possible.”


    Automatic Image Quality Evaluation For CT Protocol Guidances

    Bruce Lehnert, MD

    2015 RSNA Research Seed Grant recipient Bruce Lehnert, MD, plans to develop and validate automated techniques to quantify the acquisition quality and the contrast enhancement adequacy of CT scans.

    “Automating the process of acquiring quantitative image quality metrics from production line CT scans will allow for continuous CT quality assurance, including radiation dose and diagnostic performance optimization, as protocols are modified and CT equipment updated.”


    Image Rich Radiology Report Adds Value to Imaging

    Jose Lopez, BS

    2015 FUJIFILM Medical Systems/RSNA Research Medical Student Grant recipient Jose Lopez, BS (center), with scientific advisors Rendon C. Nelson, MD, (right) and Bhavik N. Patel, MD, MBA, will investigate the role of an image-rich radiology report (IRRR) in the current busy clinical environment by determining the unmet needs, interest and preferences of both the referring physicians who will use the reports and the radiologist who will create them.

    Ultimately, analysis of experimental data will be used to implement an optimal health information technology (HIT) solution that adds value to imaging by reducing perceived incongruence between text reports and images and by improving operational efficiencies.


    Research Explores Non-Invasive Monitoring of Liver Inflammation and Fibrosis

    Michael A. Ohliger, MD, PhD

    Liver fibrosis – an important worldwide health problem if left unchecked – can progress to cirrhosis and corresponding portal hypertension and liver failure. Cirrhosis is also a major risk factor for development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Biopsy is the gold standard for diagnosing fibrosis, but is invasive and subject to sampling errors. With a 2014-2016 Mallinckrodt/RSNA Research Scholar Grant, Michael A. Ohliger, MD, PhD, seeks to develop new hyperpolarized carbon-13 MRI methods to monitor the progression of inflammation and fibrosis using clinical MRI scanners.

    “The techniques developed in this study can be directly translated into human studies; a 13C-labeled compound ([1-13C] pyruvate) has already been tested in humans,” Dr. Ohliger said. “Data will be used to gain further funding and regulatory approval to bring hyperpolarized 13C techniques in the clinic, providing new tools to help patients with chronic liver disease.”


    Integrating Brain Imaging and Metabolomics in Malnourished Children

    Manu S. Goyal, MD, MSc

    Through a collaborative effort between the RSNA Research & Education (R&E) Foundation and the American Society of Neuroradiology (ASNR), 2015–2017 ASNR/ RSNA Research Scholar Grant recipient, Manu S. Goyal, MD, MSc, will join a team of investigators to study the neurological effects of childhood malnutrition on the brain by integrating data from brain MRI and serum metabolomics. Such integrative methods are expected to provide further insight into the nutritional and metabolic needs of the developing brain.

    The goal of the $150,000 two-year award is to fund additional research in neuroradiology and to help prepare the next generation of researchers to become fully funded physician-scientists with their own research programs.


    Restriction Spectrum Imaging for Breast Cancer Imaging

    Rebecca Rakow-Penner, MD, PhD

    2015 RSNA Research Resident Grant recipient Rebecca Rakow-Penner, MD, PhD, with clinical breast imaging team, pictured from left to right: Mohammed Eghtedari, MD, PhD, Rebecca Rakow-Penner, MD, PhD, Haydee Ojeda, MD, Ajay Rao, MD, will evaluate and further develop a diffusion MRI technique called Restriction Spectrum Imaging (RSI) for breast cancer imaging.

    “RSI provides a mathematical framework for separating small spherically isotropic diffusion (representing tumor nuclei), from less restricted unwanted signal, and also corrects for B0 field inhomogeneity artifacts,” said Dr. Rakow-Penner. “The technique has the potential to improve errors due to distortion and non-invasively reflect tumor grade.”