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.
Mezrich Research Prize awarded to Dr. Thomas Ernst
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
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.
Dr. Gullapalli Named One of Eight Inaugural MPower Professors
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!
Drs. Gullapalli and Sawant Receive NCI Grant
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
Dr. Chang Receives Avant-Garde Award
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
Mezrich Research Prize awarded to Dr. Ze Wang
The recipient of the Reubin S. Mezrich Research Prize in 2021 was Ze Wang, PhD. Dr. Elias Melhem, Chair of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine presented the award to Dr. Wang during the department's annual Research Day Celebration, which was held in June 2021.
Dr. Eldiridi Welcomes Twins
Dr. Abubakr Eldiridi, MR physicist, and his wife Reem were blessed with twins recently.
Baby girl Kinda and baby boy Kenan were born on May 30, 2021.
Mom and babies are doing fine.
As far as we know, at last report, the father was doing well too!
Congratulations to the couple.
Dr. Cao & Colleagues Publish Groundbreaking Research in Alcohol Metabolism in the Brain
Qi Cao was co-first author with Shiyun Jin of "Brain Ethanol Metabolism by Astrocytic ALDH2 Drives the Behavioural Effects of Ethanol Intoxication," which was the featured cover article of Nature Metabolism. According to a press release issued by the journal, "The behavioural effects of alcohol intoxication may be caused by alcohol breakdown products (metabolites) produced in the brain, and not in the liver, in mice...These findings provide new insights into how alcohol may affect the brain and open the possibility of better regulation of the effects of alcohol on behaviour."
Jin SY, Cao Q, Yang FH, Zhu HY, Lin YH, Cinar R, Pawlosky R, Xiong W, Gao B, Koob G, Lovinger D, Zhang L. Brain ethanol metabolism by astrocytic ALDH2 drives the behavioural effects of ethanol intoxication. Nature Metabolism, 3, 337-351 (2021).
Jose Leon Presents at Association for Radiologic and Imaging Nursing
Jose Leon, MBA, RT, PET/MR Technologist, along with Elad Nevo from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, presented “PET/MR: A Clinical Perspective” at the 40th annual convention of the Association for Radiologic and Imaging Nursing (ARIN) on March 20, 2021.
Drs. Chang and Wilson Awarded NINDS Grant
Linda Chang, MD, Professor, and Eleanor Wilson, MD, MHS, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine (Institute of Human Virology), were awarded $424,874 for an 18-month grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for "Neuroimaging and Behavioral Studies to Assess for Neuroinflammation in COVID-19 During Convalescence."
Dr. Janowksi Wins Stroke Reviewer Award
Congratulations to Miroslaw Janowski, MD, PhD, who was one of twenty Stroke board members to receive the fourth annual Outstanding Reviewer Award.
The criteria used to select the outstanding reviewer awards are the total number of reviews performed, the quality of the reviews, and the turnaround time of the reviews.
2020 and Earlier News
Dr. Muhammad Saleh Joins CAIR
Muhammad Saleh, PhD, joined UMB as a research associate after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University of School of Medicine. His expertise involves developing accelerated, edited MRS methods, integrating motion correction technology with MRS methods, and applying them to study several neurological diseases. Welcome, Dr. Saleh!
External Advisory Committee Convenes
November 20, 2020
The purpose of the External Advisory Committee is to critically evaluate the various CAIR projects and advise the leadership on the scientific direction of the Center. The EAC's inaugural meeting was held on November 20 and will meet annually hereafter.
CAIR leadership thanks the committee members for their time, effort, and feedback.
Clockwise from top left:
Kim Butts-Pauly, PhD, Director, Radiological Sciences Laboratory, Stanford University
Zahi A. Fayad, PhD, Director, Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Curtis Langlotz, MD, PhD, Director, Center for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine and Imaging (Stanford AIMI Center)
Peter C.M. van Zijl, PhD, Director, F.M. Kirby Research Center, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Daniel K. Sodickson, MD, PhD, Vice Chair for Research, Department of Radiology, NYU Langone Health
A. Dean Sherry, PhD, Director, Advanced Imaging Research Center at UT Southwestern
Mezrich Research Prize awarded to Dr. Linda Chang
Linda Chang, MD was awarded the Reubin S. Mezrich Research Prize during a Research Day Celebration in October 2020. Elias Melhem, MD, Chair of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine gave the award to Dr. Chang. The Research Day Celebration was held as a hybrid in-person and Zoom event.
Grants and Contracts
Congratulations to CAIR faculty on the following awards:
Linda Chang, MD, MS, and Thomas Ernst, Dr rer nat, PIs of UMB’s site of the landmark Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, were awarded a seven-year renewal of the grant (2020-2027). The amount of the grant is $13,098,568.
Sui-Seng Tee, PhD was awarded a two-year, $397,258 grant from NIH for “Fructose Metabolism as a Biomarker for Monitoring Hepatocellular Carcinoma.”
Dirk Mayer, Dr rer nat was awarded $424,875 for a two year R21 grant from NIH/NIBIB for “Enzyme-enabled hyperpolarized 13C MRI for antibody-targeted imaging”
ABCD Study in Baltimore Completes Recruitment
October 15, 2018
The University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) site of the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) study has completed recruitment, as part of the largest long-term study of child health and brain development in the US. The research team has successfully enrolled 605 children ages 9 and 10 years (50 more than initially targeted), contributing to the ABCD consortium, which has enrolled 11,877 children across the nation. We will be following the children and their families over the next 8 years or longer.
We are extremely grateful to all the families that are participating in this national study!
Arrival of PET-MR Scanner
The Siemens PET-MR scanner (mMR BioGraph) has arrived at the new HSF-III reseach building of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
This is the first PET-MR system in Maryland outside of NIH. It combines a 3 Tesla whole-body MRI with a positron-emission tomography (PET) scanner.
Huge Study of Teen Brains Could Reveal Roots of Mental Illness, Impacts of Drug Abuse
January 3, 2018
by Meredith Wadman