Archive for April, 2016


Dr. Quanzheng Li Promoted to Associate Professor

04/26/2016


We are pleased to announce Dr. Quanzheng Li's promotion to Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Li received his doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering in 2005 from the University of Southern California before joining Masschusetts General Hospital in 2011. He has published several works on image reconstruction and kinetic modeling, and is the recipient of several honors including the IEEE-NPSS Early Achievement Award.

 
Dr. Quanzheng Li

Dr. Quanzheng Li

Gordon Lecture Series Presentation: Novel Collimator Approach for High Resolution PET

04/22/2016


Dr. Scott Metzler delivering his presentation

Dr. Scott Metzler delivering his presentation


In a conference organized by the Gordon Center, Dr. Scott Metzler explored novel uses of collimation to improve the resolution and the flexibility of existing PET scanners. In particular, he evaluated the use of a collimating mask to reduce the effective width of the lines of response (LORs). The collimator, that was built by Dr. Metzler's team, rotates through eight positions in order to obtain samples of sub-LORS. Although the efficiency was reduced, both resolution and sampling were improved. Collimation can also be combined with super-sampling of the patient using a deliberately misaligned bed to reduce the need for rotation. Dr. Scott Metzler is a Research Associate Professor of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania.

About the Gordon Center for Medical Imaging:
The Gordon Center for Medical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University develops new biomedical imaging technologies used in diagnosis and therapy. In addition to translational research, the Center organizes lectures and symposiums as part of its effort to inspire the public and the scientific community about the latest research topics in medical imaging.

Julia Scotton receiving her award

Research Technologist Honored by Coast Guard

04/21/2016


Congratulations to Julia Scotton, Research Technologist and Radiation Safety Manager at the MGH Gordon Center, for her Coast Guard Enlisted Person of the Year Award. Ms. Scotton was recognized for her contributions as a pollution responder, facilities inspector and federal on-Scene coordinator representative.

Julia Scotton receiving her award

Julia Scotton receiving her award

Innovative ALS Imaging Biomarkers Come Closer to Patients

04/20/2016


Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have successfully used PET imaging to measure inflammation in the brain of a person living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. For unknown reasons, veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population. There is no cure, and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) modestly extends survival.

For PET imaging, an investigational PET radiotracer was designed to bind to activated glial cells (the support cells of the nervous system) and serve as a surrogate marker of inflammation and track changes in the brain glial cells. Preliminary data generated at MGH using a similar tracer show increased uptake in the motor cortex and brain stem in people living with ALS that is strongly correlated with clinical measures. [Zurcher N, et al. NeuroImage Clinical 2015]

Researchers have succeeded in using an imaging technique to record changes and inflammation in the brain of a person with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Researchers successfully scanned inflammation in the brain of a person with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

“Inflammation is an important target for ALS drug development, and we believe imaging inflammation may allow us to design and conduct efficient ALS clinical trials and will accelerate the pace of ALS drug discovery,” said Dr. Nazem Atassi, the Primary Investigator of this study. “This important milestone was only possible through close partnership between the study teams at the NCRI, the MGH Gordon Center (Drs. Georges El Fakhri and Marc Normandin), Houston Methodist Hospital (Drs. Joseph Masdeu and Stanley Appel) and GE Healthcare (Drs. Nadeem Ishaque, Randall Carter and Luca Marinelli),” he added.

This accomplishment is part of the TRACK ALS project, which is a large multicenter, longitudinal and comprehensive biomarkers study that includes imaging, whole genome sequencing, biofluid inflammatory biomarkers and induced pluripotent stem cell generation. The overall project goal is to identify new imaging markers of ALS that can be used to accelerate ALS diagnostic timelines and the pace of ALS drug development. The TRACK ALS project is funded through the ALS ACT initiative.

Reference: Zucher N, Lawson R, Loggia M, Chonde DB, Izquierdo D, Akeju O, Catana C, Rosen B, Cudkowicz ME, Hooker J, Atassi N. Microglial Activation in Individuals with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Neuroimage Clin 2015 (PMC 25685708)

To view the official press release published by the ALS Association please follow this link.

Additional information can also be found on the ALS News Today  website

Gordon Lecture Series Presentation: Some MRI Observations of Tongue Anatomy and Motion

04/18/2016


Dr. Maureen Stone presenting her work

Dr. Maureen Stone presenting her work


In a conference organized by the Gordon Center, Dr. Maureen Stone presented her lab's recent studies of the tongue and the vocal tract during speech, swallowing and breathing. Using several forms of MRI such as DTI, deformation patterns and high-resolution cine MRI, Dr. Stone explored tongue muscle anatomy, function and mechanics as well as its internal motion patterns. Dr. Maureen Stone is a Professor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.

About the Gordon Center for Medical Imaging:
The Gordon Center for Medical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University develops new biomedical imaging technologies used in diagnosis and therapy. In addition to translational research, the Center organizes lectures and symposiums as part of its effort to inspire the public and the scientific community about the latest research topics in medical imaging.

Gordon Lecture Series Presentation: Dr. Anna Liisa Brownell

04/15/2016


Dr. Anna Liisa Brownell delivering her lecture

Dr. Anna Liisa Brownell delivering her lecture


In a conference organized by the Gordon Center, Dr. Anna Liisa Brownell presented her research group's efforts to develop novel therapies to Parkinson's disease. In particular, Dr. Bronwell investigated interplay between dopaminergic and glutamatergic neurotransmission using dopamine-rich fetal cells originating from different species, embryonic stem cells and lately pluripotent stem cells. Dr. Bronwell is currently collaborating with a pharmaceutical company to test an experimental drug in clinical trials. Dr. Brownell is a Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School and the Director of the Experimental PET Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.

About the Gordon Center for Medical Imaging:
The Gordon Center for Medical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University develops new biomedical imaging technologies used in diagnosis and therapy. In addition to translational research, the Center organizes lectures and symposiums as part of its effort to inspire the public and the scientific community about the latest research topics in medical imaging.