Thomas Jefferson University

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Along with patient care and education, imaging research constitutes an integral component of the mission of the Department of Radiology.  Collaborative translational research projects, including both clinicians and non-clinician scientists, are encouraged to advance the science of medical imaging. Research efforts range from bench research on the development of molecular agents, to animal studies using advanced imaging techniques, to clinical trials for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, to health services and outcomes studies.

The department supports a dedicated PhD research staff including several physicists (ultrasound, magnetic resonance and general radiology), chemists (molecular imaging) and post-doctoral research associates.  Clinical faculty members receive dedicated time for research efforts, and often work in partnership with the PhD staff.  Support staff includes a grants manager, numerous study coordinators, and research nurses.  A small animal laboratory provides a convenient facility for animal research with SPECT, PET and micro-CT.  Pilot projects are supported by internal funding from the research committee of the department of radiology.  The research staff is supported by numerous ongoing corporate and federal grants.

Dr. HalpernEthan J. Halpern, MD
Vice Chair for Research

A research requirement has been instituted for radiology residents as well as for many of the clinical fellows in the department.  Mentoring for resident and fellow projects is provided by senior members of the radiology faculty.  Projects often involve collaboration with faculty members in other clinical departments.  As a result of these research efforts, the department of radiology at Thomas Jefferson University is recognized as a leading contributor to research in medical imaging at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).  In fact, members of our department have presented more scientific abstracts than members from any other radiology department in the country at the annual meeting of the RSNA over the past five years.

The Department of Radiology at Thomas Jefferson University is recognized as a center for excellence in radiology research.  In addition to the small animal facility, state of the art equipment is utilized in clinical research programs – including 3T MRI, 256-slice CT and the latest ultrasound platforms.  Several novel molecular tracer agents are under development for PET/SPECT cancer imaging.  The most advanced ultrasound contrast agents with harmonic imaging, subharmonic imaging and elastography are used for animal and human trials.  An active musculoskeletal group has numerous ongoing clinical trials using ultrasound, MR imaging and imaging with weight bearing.  Body MR imaging studies are using new techniques for tissue characterization and quantification of adipose tissue.  An active cardiac imaging program has several clinical trials, including evaluation of radiation dose and a cost-benefit analysis for cardiac CT in an emergency chest pain center.  The interventional radiology group has gained recognition for its work on tumor embolization, particularly for melanoma and hepatoma patients.  Neurological imaging studies include the latest methods in functional MRI and diffusion tensor MRI.  The health services research group evaluates practice patterns and utilization trends.  Taken together, the breadth of imaging research facilities and projects in the department of radiology provides an outstanding academic environment for the clinician-scientist with an interest in medical imaging.