Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has, since its inception three decades ago, been by far the most complex but also the most versatile imaging technique since the possibilities by which the spin system can be manipulated are almost limitless. The technique's complexity and extraordinary richness therefore require rigorous training. Although inherently quantitative, MRI has been used largely as a qualitative imaging technique practiced by radiologists utilizing predominantly qualitative criteria for establishing a diagnosis or excluding disease. This approach is fraught with problems, its main disadvantage being the subjective nature of the result, i.e. sensitivity to reader experience and judgment. Many problems in diagnostic medicine require a quantitative assessment. Moreover, for many diagnostic or staging problems quantitation of an observation is not merely a better option but the qualitative approach is entirely unsuited. Examples are measurement of tissue perfusion, quantification of metabolite concentration by spectroscopic imaging or the assessment of non-focal systemic disorders such as Alzheimer's disease or metabolic bone disease where a quantitative measurement of some structural or functional parameter has to be made. In diagnostic imaging in general, and MRI in particular, quantitative approaches require the tools of post-processing of arrays of images, typically performed off-line on workstations. This process is multidisciplinary, requiring close cooperation among physicians, MR physicists, and computer scientists, which is not possible without effective cross- training. Physicists, engineers and computer scientists usually lack an understanding of the medical problem and are often unable to translate abstract concepts to the physician. This training program, for which continued support is sought, aims to train three predoctoral and three postdoctoral basic science trainees per year in quantitative MRI methodology focusing on MR image acquisition, reconstruction and postprocessing tools for diagnosis and treatment monitoring. Training modalities involve a combination of colloquia, structured teaching and hands-on laboratory training, with particular emphasis on preceptor-directed research. The training faculty consists of both basic scientists and physicians who have a record of successful multidisciplinary research training.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZEB1-OSR-B (J1))
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Baird, Richard A
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University of Pennsylvania
Schools of Medicine
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