Meet the New R&E Grant Committee Chairman
Recently, Umar Mahmood, M.D., Ph.D., took on the position of chair of the Research & Education (R&E) Foundation Grant Program Committee. Dr. Mahmood, who received his first RSNA Research Resident Grant for the project, “Multiple Wavelength Optical Imaging for Simultaneous in vivo Imaging of Two Different Enzyme Activities,” in 2000, discusses the importance of grant funding in radiology research and the advice he shares with applicants pursuing funding.
What attracted you to chairmanship of the R&E Grant Program Committee?
Dr. Mahmood: If you look at the history of radiology, you clearly see that our field is defined by our collective innovation. The R&E Foundation, through grant funding, is the multiplier that allows innovation to grow and keep radiology vibrant. The Foundation provides initial funding for so many radiologists who go on to receive National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other grants, and who continue to make advancements for decades after their R&E funding period ends. We collectively benefit by the work that these grant recipients have accomplished in bringing new ideas into practice.
How has your R&E research journey come full circle from grant recipient to Grant Program Committee chair?
Dr. Mahmood: Receiving an R&E grant validated my research endeavors, but much more importantly, the process of submitting the grant provided invaluable experience in grant writing. It was a vital transition in mindset from researcher to principal investigator. Over the years I have been fortunate to work with—and supervise—some really bright, creative, hardworking people who have received seed, fellow, resident and medical student grants. These experiences make me a strong advocate for the applicants and an enabler of their longer-term success.
What advice would you share with young people about pursuing a career in research?
Dr. Mahmood: Give it a try! It can be fun, exciting, creative and fulfilling. Research provides intellectual stimulation and part of what makes it fun is that you can discover something that hasn't been seen before. Surround yourself with good advisors and mentors, develop a strong research team, and start exploring.
Why do you believe it is important to be involved in RSNA?
Dr. Mahmood: As radiologists, we benefit from our collective contributions to the field. As with any puzzle, many different pieces must be connected to achieve the desired outcome. I have always found RSNA to be encouraging and supportive. With its multi-faceted approach to advancing the specialty, RSNA provides many ways to find your own puzzle piece and use it to help complete or even define radiology’s greater picture.