RSNA 2017 Gold Medalist Roderic I. Pettigrew, PhD, MD


Founding director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), Roderic I. Pettigrew, PhD, MD, is an innovative leader in convergence research who is helping lay the groundwork for tomorrow’s medicine.

“The world of radiology owes a great debt of gratitude to Dr. Pettigrew for his outstanding service as director of the NIBIB since it was founded in 2002,” RSNA President Richard L. Ehman, MD, said. “He is a pioneer in biomedical imaging, and a true visionary. Under his leadership, NIBIB has become an indispensable home for our science in medical imaging and a powerful force for innovation in medical technology.”

Dr. Pettigrew has charted the course for the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) critical work in harnessing the power of transdisciplinary teams to create new technologies and catalyze discoveries that usher in a new era of medicine. He continually advances the Institute’s mission to integrate life sciences with engineering and the physical sciences to transform basic research and medical care.

Among his accomplishments at NIBIB, Dr. Pettigrew jointly led a national effort with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to create new interdisciplinary graduate training programs. In 2008, he established the Quantum Grants program to achieve “medical moon shots.” Recently he championed a broad-based effort to address paralysis by advancing technologies that partially restore voluntary motor and autonomic function following spinal cord injury and established an Indo-US partnership to invent new technologies for passive, cuffless blood pressure monitoring. He created the NIBIB Trailblazer grant award for early-stage investigators in exploratory high impact research.

Dr. Pettigrew was an early advocate of a national system for patient-controlled sharing of medical images, leading to the RSNA Image Share project, which is poised to help realize the goals of the NIH precision medicine initiative All of Us. He co-chairs the Congressionally-requested federal Inter-Agency Working Group on Medical Imaging. Dr. Pettigrew serves as the NIH Liaison to NASA and the US Department of Energy. He co-leads a joint effort with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a cell phone-based platform to test for influenza and other diseases at home.

At the time of his NIBIB appointment, Dr. Pettigrew was serving as professor of radiology and medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, and professor of bioengineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, both in Atlanta. During this time, Dr. Pettigrew became known for pioneering work developing 4-D imaging of the cardiovascular system using MRI.

A graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Dr. Pettigrew earned his PhD in applied radiation physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, and his medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine.

Among his numerous honors, Dr. Pettigrew presented the RSNA 75th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee New Horizons Lecture. He received the Pritzker Distinguished Achievement Award of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Distinguished Service Award of the National Medical Association, the Pierre Galletti Award of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, the Inaugural Gold Medal Award of the Academy of Radiology Research and the Distinguished Service Medal of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. He is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering, and an elected foreign fellow of the National Academy of Science, India.