You have served as a consultant at the federal Food and Drug Administration, Radiological Devices Panel and the Medical Devices Advisory Committee. In your view, are new medical devices adequately regulated?
I am a former member, and current consultant for the Medical Devices Panel, and I do not speak for the FDA. The panel reviews large numbers of new devices. From my time on the panel, the devices that come before it undergo very careful review.
The FDA looks at efficacy for the proposed use, safety, and a large number of manufacturing details. As with drugs, devices are approved for a particular application. Once they receive approval, physicians can use them for other purposes. Often concerns about such devices revolve around off-label use.
How have developments in imaging influenced your research?
My work on MR imaging of spinal cord injury has followed innovations in diffusion imaging, q-space imaging, and ultra short TE imaging. We have used these to study axon and myelin loss after trauma.
The work has been mainly in animal models, but some of these methods are starting to be applied in human subjects.
What is the research you have done that has been most rewarding?
MR of spinal cord injury. This has been endlessly interesting, and the methods first developed in small animal imaging systems have moved to clinical application.
What have you achieved in your term as president of American Society of Neuroradiology (ASNR)?
We have raised the profile of the work the ASNR does to support and enhance clinical practice, strengthened the focus on research and innovation within the society and at the annual meeting, and increased the attention to comparative effectiveness research. We have also tried to put the ASNR on a sound financial footing as changes in healthcare will put pressure on the society’s ability to deliver the services members have come to expect.
What are the new techniques/technologies that you are watching closely for the future?
MR imaging is constantly advancing. Right now I am most excited about applying things like ultrashort TE and q-space imaging for characterising white matter. Compressed sensing could be revolutionary in how we acquire images, and perhaps making practical some approaches that have been considered too slow.
Moving away from specific techniques, I think neuroradiology is still in the early stages of its contributions to evaluating cognitive deficits. Dementia is already a critical health problem and will only become more important as populations age.
What are your interests outside of medicine?
I am interested in economics and finance, particularly in the academic literature—for fun, because it is interesting, not because it influences investing. I also enjoy music, particularly opera and chamber music to listen to but do not play. I also spend time carrying out home improvement projects and exercising.
Certification in Diagnostic Radiology and Neuroradiology
1985 Faculty in Neuroradiology, University of Pennsylvania, USA
1996 Professor of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania, USA
2001 Acting Section Chief of Neuroradiology and chaired of the Department of Radiology Committee on Appointments and Promotions. While at Penn, he served in numerous capacities in faculty governance, including Chair of the Faculty Senate.
2003–present Professor of Radiology, Department of Radiology, director of Faculty Development for the Radiology Department and chief of Neuroradiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)
2003 Assistant Dean for Faculty Development and Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School.
Service on national boards and committees
- National Institute of Health federal advisory boards including the Trauma Task Force
- Medical Imaging Study Section (MEDI-regular member) for the Center for Scientific Review
- Training Grant and Career Development Committee for National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Special emphasis panels for the National Cancer Institute
- Consultant at the federal Food and Drug Administration, Radiological Devices Panel and the Medical Devices Advisory Committee, and for the Veteran’s Administration State of the Art Conference on Traumatic Brain injury.
Society positions and honours
- President of the American Society of Neuroradiology
- Fellow of the American College of Radiology
- Fellow of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
Over 170 original manuscripts and editorials, reviews, chapters, and several hundred abstracts.