My group’s research focuses on developing and implementing advanced quantitative imaging biomarkers derived from MR imaging physics techniques including MR fingerprinting (MRF), diffusion-weighted MRI (DW-MRI), dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI), and MR spectroscopy (MRS) for clinical application in cancer.
My clinical and research focus is on the development and implementation of advanced quantitative imaging biomarkers for application in cancer care. The overarching goal is to build a strong, world-reputed “Quantitative Imaging” program, which involves creating an infrastructure that provides tools and expertise to standardize imaging protocols and metrics, implementing new and novel imaging methods, and providing an environment to mentor younger faculty and fellows.
I am also harmonizing my effort with those of external agencies, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI)/Quantitative Imaging Network (QIN), Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)/Quantitative Imaging Biomarker Alliance (QIBA), and International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM)/Standards in Quantitative MR (SQMR).
I have recently been named a fellow of the ISMRM.
In 2001, I established the head and neck (HN) cancer MR imaging research program. Over the years, I have developed an innovative program in multimodality imaging for HN cancer. My group has developed and identified quantitative imaging biomarkers for clinical end points such as early assessment of treatment response in HN cancers. We lead the field by testing novel MRI acquisition prototypes, designing novel phantoms, and developing multi-parametric MRI analysis software packages. I also extend my expertise in quantitative imaging to other organs including thyroid, brain, prostate, and pancreas. For example, in prostate imaging, my research has included development of new nomograms for prostate cancer (PCa) patients incorporating both clinical and MR imaging data; development of new criteria for MR spectroscopy (MRS) analysis, which showed that polyamines play an important role in PCa detection; and the integration of MRI, MRS and molecular pathology data. Our clinical work led to basic research in which we identified the novel role of ornithine decarboxylase (rate-limiting enzyme in polyamine pathway) as a critical oncogenic event via androgen receptor signaling in prostate tumorigenesis, providing the opportunity for innovative chemoprevention strategies.