Radiology Research Programs
Research in Radiology is inherently interdisciplinary and technologically oriented. Developing new imaging technologies for application to clinical radiology — often called translational research — is an important component of our various research programs.
Advanced NeuroScience Imaging
Information about our Advanced NeuroScience Imaging Research (ANSIR) core.
Cyclotron & Radiochemistry
The Cyclotron and Radiochemistry Program is a UT Southwestern Medical Center-wide effort to develop the full capability of nuclear imaging, namely radioisotope-based imaging, for noninvasive assessment of physiological processes and abnormalities in animal models and in humans.
With a biomedical cyclotron and the capability to synthesize a variety of biomedical radioisotopes, this program leverages the cutting-edge technology of positron-emission tomography (PET) to enable discoveries that span multiple areas of medicine and physiology.
Visit the Cyclotron and Radiochemistry Program's website.
Modern medical imaging technology can provide real-time three-dimensional structural and functional information about tissues, leading to an enhanced visualization of tissues undergoing treatment. Consequently, imaging plays an increasing role in the planning, delivery, and evaluation of response to therapy. Common examples include surgical planning, calculation of radiation treatment plans, monitoring thermal ablations, and evaluating tumor response after chemotherapy. Often, image-guided procedures are less invasive and have the potential for lower morbidity compared to conventional treatments. Research in the program focuses on:
- Non-invasive tissue ablation using MRI-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound (MR-HIFU) therapy
- Targeted drug delivery using mild heating and thermosensitive nanoparticles
- Integration of higher-dimensional multimodality imaging information into radiation treatment planning and real-time adaptive delivery
- Targeted prostate biopsy using fused ultrasound and MR imaging
- MRI sequences based on endogenous contrast for mapping ablation volumes in tissue
- Therapeutic applications of High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) in bone
Research activities in imaging informatics in the Department of Radiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center are occurring in three separate areas:
- Clinical imaging process improvement
- Development of informatics tools to facilitate imaging research
- Computational Diagnostic Cardiac Imaging
The program in Computational Diagnostic Cardiac Imaging is a joint program with the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) at the University of Texas at Austin. ICES is a unique unit at UT Austin dedicated to research and graduate study in computational engineering and science with a strong core in computational and applied mathematics. It includes over 42 core faculty with more than 70 graduate students. Michael Sacks, PhD, is the director of the ICES Center for Cardiovascular Simulation-Based Engineering and is holder of the W. A. "Tex" Moncrief Jr. Endowment in Simulation-Based Engineering and Sciences. He obtained his doctorate in biomedical engineering (biomechanics) from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
The Magnetic Resonance group strives to carry out fundamental research that leads either to the development of new techniques and interventions using MR or to an improved understanding of the pathophysiology of disease for diagnosis and treatment.
Research in the program focuses on:
- Arterial spin labeling (ASL) for noncontrast perfusion
- Chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) as an endogenous contrast
- Quantifying fat and iron in the liver
- Multiparametric imaging using DCE, DWI, ASL and BOLD/TOLD
- Multinuclear imaging and spectroscopy
- MRI-guided high intensity focused ultrasound (MR-HIFU)
Various aspects of the research include developing techniques for rapid imaging and evaluating novel methods to extract biologically and clinically relevant functional information. Such advances in noninvasive imaging techniques allow not only appropriate diagnosis but also improved characterization of disease following therapeutic interventions without ionizing radiation exposure. An important goal of this program is to translate these technical advances rapidly into clinical practice for improved patient care.
The overarching goal of the Pre-Clinical Imaging Program is to develop prognostic imaging signatures that define biomarkers of disease progression and response to therapy. A multi-disciplinary approach includes development and application of novel modalities, algorithms and agents. The primary focus is cancer with a view to enhanced detection and characterization of tumors. Prognostic imaging biomarkers will aid in optimizing choice of therapy to maximize response and cure. Non-invasively we are able to explore dose response and optimize therapeutic combinations.
Research in the program focuses on:
- Prognostic imaging biomarkers
- Hypoxia, tissue oxygenation and its modulation
- Vascular targeting
- Reporter agents
- Imaging technologies
Ultrasound research spans basic, preclinical and translational (TRUST) to translational and clinical (CACTUS). The Collaborative for Advanced Clinical Techniques in UltraSound (CACTUS) constitutes a group of like-minded physicians, scientists, and technical experts dedicated to the advancement of clinical ultrasound imaging and image-guided intervention.
Research focuses on:
- Clinical Care – Through a robust quality-assurance program, evidence-based literature, and societal guidelines, new clinical imaging protocols are developed and tested. The impact on cost-effectiveness, workflow, and patient management are analyzed. These protocols and recommendations are then disseminated throughout the UT system and presented at local and national meetings to help impact best-practice medicine
- New Techniques – CACTUS is focused on vetting new ultrasound-based technologies before they may be widely available. Through collaborations with 3rd party vendor partners, CACTUS offers the expertise, personnel, and facilities to test emerging technologies to help assess their performance in a clinical setting, and their impact on patient management
- Translational Research – CACTUS also provides the environment and infrastructure to test emerging techniques and technologies that may have been analyzed in the lab, but have not yet been performed in a clinical situation. This translation (bench-to-bedside) epitomizes the impact that CACUTS strives to achieve (link to TRUST-CACTUS page) Specialty Services Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound Elastography Ultrasound-Guided Procedures Facilities Most advanced clinical activities are performed at the UT Southwestern Clements University Hospital and the UT Southwestern Medical District Outpatient Building Facilities include patient waiting and changing areas, nursing pre-procedure and recovery areas, and large, comfortable scanning rooms Equipment includes EPIQ7 ultrasound devices with a variety of 2D and 3D probes, Parks Flo-Lab Vascular Cart, Trophon high-level probe disinfection, and PercuNav image fusion and navigation system