Our collaborative, translational model leads to exceptional student outcomes

The BME Department is co-located in the midst of a world class regional medical center with a series of top-ranked programs. Over more than three decades, UVA investigators have made important contributions to foundational research in data acquisition methods, image reconstruction and analysis techniques, and molecularly targeted contrast agents. Clinician and basic scientists have leveraged these strong foundations to improve clinical diagnostic imaging, to create completely new areas of imaging, and to advance hypothesis-driven research.  We have established internationally recognized research programs in cardiovascular and lung imaging, with emerging areas of excellence in cancer as well as in neurological imaging and focused ultrasound. 

Researchers investigating disease-based applications and foundational sciences work closely together, while clinical and preclinical studies routinely make use of the latest advances in the foundational sciences. The needs of the advanced applications often influence and set the direction for future foundational research.  This model for imaging research is ideal for clinical, basic-science, and engineering trainees, who gain both depth and breadth of expertise through immersion in our multidisciplinary imaging research ecosystem.

  • Major Focus Areas

    Internationally Recognized Imaging Programs

    Our faculty have robust external research funding, including a $14M multi-center National Institutes of Health grant on cardiac MRI. Our faculty have authored three of the 30 most influential papers in the first 30 years of the journal Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. Four of our faculty are Fellows of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

    Major Focus Areas

    Physics and engineering of imaging systems (Fred Epstein, John Hossack, Bijoy Kundu, Wilson Miller, Craig Meyer, John Mugler, Gustavo Rohde, Mike Salerno, Mark Williams).

    Contrast media (Kimberly Kelly, Sasha Klibanov). Key clinical collaborator (Todd Bauer).

    Cardiovascular imaging (Fred Epstein, Brent French, John Hossack, Craig Meyer). Key clinical collaborators (Chris Kramer, Mike Salerno, Ken Bilchik).

    Lung imaging (Wilson Miller, John Mugler, Mike Salerno). Key clinical collaborators (Eduard deLange).

    Neuroimaging (Wilson Miller, Gustavo Rohde).

    Cancer imaging (Kimberly Kelly, Mark Williams, Gustavo Rohde).

    Image-guided focused ultrasound (Craig Meyer, Wilson Miller, Rich Price). Key clinical collaborators (Jeff Elias, Alan Matsumoto).

    Future Directions

    Future directions for imaging at UVA include continued and evolving emphases in our distinguishing areas: (a) physics and engineering of imaging systems, (b) cardiovascular imaging, and (c) lung imaging, as well as enhancing the growing areas of targeted molecular imaging, photoacoustic tomography, image-guided focused ultrasound therapies, cancer imaging, and neuroimaging.

  • Imaging across scales

    Our imaging programs span scales from microscopy to preclinical imaging in mice and rats  to large animal and human imaging.  Preclinical imaging provides opportunities for imaging to collaborate with cell and tissue engineering colleagues and with computational modeling colleagues, and large-animal and human imaging research enables translation to clinical imaging and collaborative clinical research. There are presently NIH-funded projects in all areas.

  • Longstanding MRI Research Relationship with Siemens

    UVA has had a continuous research relationship with Siemens for more than 30 years, which has included funding for research projects, hardware (including MRI scanners and RF coils), access to the development environment, data acquisition and reconstruction source code, collaborations with Siemens’ scientists and engineers in the United States and Germany, joint intellectual property, and multiple BME contributions to Siemens products or works-in-progress (MPRAGE, SPACE, DENSE). This relationship has been beneficial to BME faculty members and to our graduate students. Our BME graduate students routinely perform internships with Siemens.

  • Global Center of Excellence in Image-Guided Focused Ultrasound

    UVA was recognized as the first worldwide Center of Excellence by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in 2009. UVA is home to an Insightec MR Image-Guided Focused Ultrasound Brain System, which is being used in groundbreaking clinical trials for essential tremor, tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease, neuropathic pain, and epilepsy. In addition, our Theraclion Echopulse ultrasound image-guided clinical system is on the verge of being approved for first-of-their-kind clinical trials combining focused ultrasound with adjunct immunotherapeutic drug delivery for breast cancer and melanoma. We also boast several MRI (3T and 7T) and ultrasound image-guided focused ultrasound systems for small animal research. Over the past 5 years, UVa’s Biomedical Engineering Department has received >$7M in NIH funding for focused ultrasound research, primarily in the field of targeted drug and gene delivery, and is a hub for MRI technology developments that serve to improve the quality and precision of focused ultrasound therapies.

MRI Student Awards Since 2010