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  • University of Maryland Center for Advanced Imaging Research (UMCAIR)

Center for Advanced Imaging Research (CAIR)

HSFIII Building Image

Health Sciences Facility III
670 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Housed in the new HSF-III facility at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the Center for Advanced Imaging Research (CAIR) was created in 2018 to consolidate major research resources in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine.

CAIR focuses on developing and using cutting edge imaging modalities such as advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), hyperpolarized imaging, positron-emission tomography (PET), and focused ultrasound. These techniques are used in groundbreaking ways to help scientists understand disease processes and advance diagnostic imaging, with the ultimate goal of improving treatment to patients in the clinical setting.

CAIR is supported by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal and foundation funding.

April 2023

It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our beloved colleague, Rao Gullapalli, PhD, MBA. Dr. Gullapalli passed away on April 18, 2023 from complications of cancer.

As the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw wrote:
“This is the true joy in life: Being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

We are forever thankful that our leader, mentor, colleague and friend, Dr. Rao Gullapalli, got hold of that “splendid torch” and touched many lives in many realms. Read more about his remarkable life.


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Thomas Ernst, Dr rer nat, receiving the Mezrich PrizeMezrich Research Prize awarded to Dr. Thomas Ernst

‌June 2022

Thomas Ernst, Dr rer nat, was awarded the Reubin S. Mezrich Research Prize during a Research Day Celebration in June 2022. Elias Melhem, MD, Chair of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, gave the award to Dr. Ernst.

The Research Day Celebration was held as a hybrid in-person and Zoom event on June 15th. Congratulations, Dr. Ernst!



Drs. Walczak and Janowski Develop Reproducible Technique to Open BBB

Video of bbb

February 2022

Piotr Walczak, MD, PhD, and Miroslaw Janowski, MD, PhD, members of CAIR and Co-directors of the Program in Image Guided Neurointerventions (PIGN), and their team developed a technique using real-time MRI to open the blood brain barrier (BBB), a formidable obstacle in delivering drug therapies to the brain. The technique has been published in the prestigious journal, Nature Protocols.

Co-authors of the study include UMSOM Post-Doctoral Fellows Chengyan Chu, MD, Yue Gao, MD, and Xiaoyan Lan, MD; Research Associate Anna Jablonska, PhD, Yajie Liang, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, and Monica Pearl, MD, Adjunct Associate Professor of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine; Wojciech Lesniak, PhD, and Guanshu Liu, PhD, of Johns Hopkins Medicine; Shen Li, MD of Dalian Municipal Central Hospital, China; and Tim Magnus, MD, PhD of University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.

Read the press release.

Rao GullapalliDr. Gullapalli Named One of Eight Inaugural MPower Professors

December 2021

Eight professors from the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), four from each university, have been chosen as the inaugural MPower Professors; one of those chosen is Dr. Rao Gullapalli. This award from the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State (MPower) recognizes, incentivizes, and fosters faculty collaborations between the two universities. These exceptional leaders were carefully chosen from a strong, competitive pool of nominations representing 11 schools and colleges. The eight selected for this first-ever award exemplify a commitment to interdisciplinary and interprofessional collaboration, which is at the heart of the MPower strategic partnership. They are bridging research and scholarship between institutions to foster innovation that will impact the citizens of Maryland and beyond. Congratulations, Dr. Gullapalli!

NIH National Cancer Institute LogoDrs. Gullapalli and Sawant Receive NCI Grant

September 2021

Rao P. Gullapalli, PhD, MBA, Professor and Associate Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, and Amit Sawant, PhD, Professor and recently appointed Vice Chair for Medical Physics in the Department of Radiation Oncology were awarded more than $3 million in federal funding from the National Cancer Institute to conduct a study to develop a new precision-based medicine approach to treat lung cancer patients with radiation therapy. They will serve as co-principal investigators on the 5-year RO1 grant, which involves an academic–industrial partnership with Robin Medical, Inc., based in Baltimore, MD.

Building on previous collaborative research studies, the researchers will use four-dimensional (4D) imaging with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) to help refine and improve “motion management,” a type of radiation technology that senses and accounts for lung motion during radiation therapy. The added fourth dimension is time, and the researchers plan to develop a system that uses the two imaging modalities in real time to account for the movement of lungs as a patient inhales and exhales during a procedure.

Read more about it: NCI Grant

Linda ChangDr. Chang Receives Avant-Garde Award

July 2021

Linda Chang, MD, MS, received the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) 2021 Avant-Garde Award (DP1) for HIV/AIDS and Substance Use Disorder Research, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Pioneer Award. This prestigious award supports researchers with exceptional creativity, who propose high-impact research with the potential to be transformative to the field.

Read more about it: Avant-Garde Award

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Radiology Research Update LogoRadiology Research Update

Newsletter published by the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

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Studies Seeking Volunteers

Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study

Drs. Linda Chang and Thomas Ernst, and their colleagues are seeking volunteers for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study.

For more information about this study:

General Information about Volunteering

For general information about volunteering for a study, visit:

Volunteer for a Study