February 11, 2012: University of Miami Miller School of Medicine honors Dr. Pettigrew
as 2012 Hall of Fame inductee
Dr. Pettigrew was the 2012 inductee into the University of Miami Medical Alumni
Association Hall of Fame on February 11, 2012, becoming the 20th inductee
in the school’s history. The Hall of Fame Award is the highest honor presented to
alumni who have achieved national or international recognition for outstanding contributions
in academic, research or social aspects of medicine and who have been graduates
of the Miller School of Medicine for more than ten years.
January 11, 2012: NIBIB welcomes three new members to advisory council
Three new members have been appointed to the National Advisory Council for Biomedical
Imaging and Bioengineering (NACBIB) of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging
and Bioengineering (NIBIB).
The council comprises scientists, engineers, physicians, radiologists, researchers,
and other health professionals who represent disciplines in and outside of biomedical
imaging and bioengineering. NIBIB, a component of the National Institutes of Health,
is dedicated to improving the fundamental understanding, diagnosis, treatment and
prevention of disease through biomedical technology research and training.
The NACBIB meets three times per year to advise on policy and program priorities
related to the conduct and support of research, training, health information dissemination,
and other programs that address biomedical imaging, biomedical engineering, and
associated technologies and modalities with biomedical applications. The NACBIB
also provides an additional level of review for all applications for funding of
research and training grants or cooperative agreements by the NIBIB.
NIBIB Director Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., welcomes the following new members:
John C. Gore, Ph.D., is Hertha Ramsey Cress chair in medicine and university professor
of radiology and radiological sciences and biomedical engineering, molecular physiology
and biophysics, and physics and astronomy, and director of the Institute of Imaging
Science, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville. Dr. Gore is vice-chair
for research in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, as well as
an investigator at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development.
An international expert in the field of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research,
Dr. Gore’s research program focuses on the development and application of
imaging, particularly MRI and spectroscopy techniques, in clinical and basic science;
development of methods for studying human brain structure and function using MRI;
and use of multimodality imaging to study small animals. Dr. Gore holds multiple
patents and has published over 500 peer reviewed journal articles. He is an elected
member of the National Academy of Engineering of the National Academies. He is also
a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the International
Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, and the Institute of Physics (U.K.).
Dr. Gore received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of London.
Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Institute for Regenerative
Engineering and the chief executive officer of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical
and Translational Science, Farmington. He is also the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen
Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, and professor of chemical, materials
and biomolecular engineering at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. An internationally
renowned orthopedic surgeon and expert on regenerative tissue, Dr. Laurencin is
an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and an
elected member of the National Academy of Engineering. His research interests focus
on the regeneration of knee and shoulder tissue and limb regeneration. Dr. Laurencin
received his M.D. (magna cum laude) from Harvard Medical School, Boston. He is a
fellow in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American College of
Surgeons, and the American Surgical Association. Dr. Laurencin received his Ph.D.
in biochemical engineering/biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Cambridge. He is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
from which he received the 2009 Pierre Galletti Award, the organization’s
highest honor. He is also a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers,
which named him one of the 100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era at its centennial
celebration in 2009. Mark A. Musen, M.D., Ph.D. is head of the Stanford Center for
Biomedical Informatics Research and professor of medicine and computer science at
Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. Dr. Musen’s research focuses on intelligent
systems; the Semantic Web, a collaborative movement led by the World Wide Web Consortium
that promotes common formats for data on the World Wide Web; reusable ontologies,
the structural frameworks for organizing information that are used in artificial
intelligence and the Semantic Web; knowledge representation; and biomedical decision
support. His current work addresses mechanisms by which computers can assist in
the development of large, electronic biomedical knowledge bases. His work on the
Protégé system, an ontology editor and knowledge-base framework, has led to an open-source
technology now used by thousands of developers around the world. Dr. Musen is principal
investigator of the National Center for Biomedical Ontology, Stanford, Calif., co-editor-in-chief
of Applied Ontology: An International Journal of Ontological Analysis and Conceptual
Modeling, and chair of the World Health Organization’s Health Informatics and Modeling
Topic Advisory Group. He is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians
and is a recipient of the Donald A. B. Lindberg award for Innovation in Informatics
of the American Medical Informatics Association. Dr. Musen received his Ph.D. in
medical information sciences from Stanford University and his M.D. from Brown University,
The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering is a component of
the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
NIBIB supports training programs, as well as on site and external research at more
than 200 research institutions, universities, medical centers, and private organizations
throughout the United States. The Institute implements a wide variety of biomedical
imaging and bioengineering programs to foster the development of innovative medical
technologies to improve healthcare. Fact sheets on the research areas of the NIBIB
and other topics are available in English and Spanish and can be found on the NIBIB
web site at http://www.nibib.nih.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research
agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting
basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes,
treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about
NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
November 16, 2011: NIH Undergraduate Design Challenge Focuses
on Technology Solutions in Health Care
NIBIB solicits innovative diagnostic and therapeutic devices and technology for the
underserved and disabled
A competition for undergraduate students to foster the design and development of
innovative diagnostic and therapeutic devices, and technologies to aid underserved
populations and the disabled is being sponsored by the National Institute of Biomedical
Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), part of the National Institutes of Health. The
Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) Challenge is part of NIBIB’s
efforts to build, strengthen, and prepare the future workforce of biomedical engineers.
One winning student team will be selected for each of three challenge categories:
diagnostic devices/methods; therapeutic devices/methods; and technology to aid underserved
populations and individuals with disabilities. Eligible team candidates must be
full time undergraduate students and U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Each
winning team will receive a $10,000 prize, to be distributed among the team members.
Winners will be honored at an award ceremony during the 2012 Annual Meeting of the
Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) in Atlanta, Ga. Each winning team will also
receive up to $2,000 towards travel and registration costs to attend the awards
Dr. Zeynep Erim, the architect of the NIBIB challenge, said "At NIBIB, we aim
to prepare the next generation of engineers working at the intersection of the biological
and physical sciences to improve human health. This program challenges up-and-coming
biomedical engineers to force the boundaries of their design skills and knowledge
to develop innovative biomedical technology for health care."
"As a nation, we have reached a crossroads where there is a tremendous opportunity
to harness the science, engineering, and mathematics talent within our universities
to address challenges in health care," stated Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, NIBIB
director. "NIBIB’s DEBUT Challenge, authorized under the America Competes
Act, seeks to promote competitiveness in these disciplines and to put American ingenuity
to work to address some of the unmet medical needs that are most prevalent in our
country. I look forward to seeing what technological innovations our best and brightest
students can offer to improve health care in our nation."
Details on how to enter, requirements and general information about the challenge
can be found at http://debut.challenge.gov/
. For updates and additional information, visit
http://www.nibib.nih.gov/Training/UndergradGrad/DEBUT or contact Dr. Zeynep
Erim at Zeynep.Erim@nih.gov.
Submission Period: start: Jan 03, 2012 12 a.m. EST end: May 26, 2012 11:59 p.m.
Judging Period: start: May 27, 2012 12 a.m. EDT end: Jul 22, 2012 11:59 p.m. EDT,
Winners announced: Jul 31, 2012 12 a.m. EDT.
October 13, 2011: NIH Institute Director Receives Distinguished
Dr. Roderic Pettigrew honored by Biomedical Engineering Society
Roderic Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., Director of the National Institute of Biomedical
Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at the National Institutes of Health has been
selected to receive the 2011 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Biomedical
Engineering Society (BMES). It is the most prestigious award conferred by the society
to a non-academic institution for contributions of preeminent importance to the
field of biomedical engineering. Previous recipients of the BMES Distinguished Achievement
Award have come from organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
Boston Scientific Corporation, and the Whitaker Foundation. The award will be presented
at the BMES annual scientific conference in Hartford, Conn., on Oct. 14, 2011.
Richard Waugh, BMES president noted “BMES selected Dr. Pettigrew as the recipient
of this prestigious award due to his significant contributions to the field of biomedical
engineering. Under Dr. Pettigrew’s leadership over the last decade, NIBIB
has become a catalyst for medical technology development and innovation by conducting
and funding seminal research in biomedical imaging and bioengineering. We are pleased
to honor and acknowledge Dr. Pettigrew’s pivotal role in biomedical engineering
research, development, and education.”
A lecture entitled The Critical Roles of Convergence Science and Technological Innovation
in Tomorrow’s Healthcare will be given by Dr. Pettigrew in the Hartford Convention
Center immediately following receipt of the award.
Dr. Pettigrew is known for his pioneering research at Emory University, Atlanta,
involving four-dimensional imaging of the cardiovascular system using magnetic resonance
(MRI). He has been elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine and the National
Academy of Engineering of the National Academies, and to fellowship in the American
Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, American Institute for Medical
and Biological Engineering, International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine,
and he is an Honorary Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society.
The BMES 2011 conference will be co-hosted by Brown University, Providence, R.I.,
and the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and will feature more than 1,500 poster
presentations and hundreds of oral presentations during three days of symposia and
sessions on biomedical engineering.
June 1, 2011: Researchers Map, Measure Brain’s Neural
Computer scientists at Brown University have created software to examine neural
circuitry in the human brain. The 2-D neural maps combine visual clarity with a
Web-based digital map interface, and users can view 2-D maps together with 3-D images.
The program aims to better understand myelinated axons, which have been linked to
pathologies such as autism. Results are published in IEEE Transactions on Visualization
and Computer Graphics.
Medical imaging systems allow neurologists to summon 3-D color renditions of the
brain at a moment’s notice, yielding valuable insights. But sometimes there
can be too much detail; important elements can go unnoticed.
The bundles of individual nerves that transmit information from one part of the
brain to the other, like fiber-optic cables, are so intricate and so interwoven
that they can be difficult to trace through standard imaging techniques. To help,
computer science researchers at Brown University have produced 2-D maps of the neural
circuitry in the human brain.
3-D and 2D neural bundles in the brain. (R. Jianu, Brown Univ.)
The goal is simplicity. The planar maps extract the neural bundles from the imaging
data and present them in 2-D – a format familiar to medical professionals
working with brain models. The Brown researchers also provide a web interface by
integrating the neural maps into a geographical digital maps framework that professionals
can use seamlessly to explore the data.
“In short, we have developed a new way to make 2-D diagrams that illustrate
3-D connectivity in human brains,” said David Laidlaw, professor of computer
science at Brown and corresponding author on the paper published in IEEE Transactions
on Visualization and Computer Graphics. “You can see everything here that
you can’t really see with the bigger (3-D) images.”
The 2-D neural maps are simplified representations of neural pathways in the brain.
These representations are created using a medical imaging protocol that measures
the water diffusion within and around nerves of the brain. The sheathing is composed
of myelin, a fatty membrane that wraps around axons, the threadlike extensions of
neurons that make up nerve fibers.
Medical investigators can use the 2-D neural maps to pinpoint spots where the myelin
may be compromised, which could affect the vitality of the neural circuits. That
can help identify pathologies, such as autism, that brain scientists increasingly
believe manifest themselves in myelinated axons. Diseases associated with the loss
of myelin affect more than 2 million people worldwide, according to the Myelin Project,
an organization dedicated to advancing myelin-related research.
Researchers can use the 2-D neural maps to help identify whether the structure or
the size of neural bundles differs among individuals and how any differences may
relate to performance, skills or other traits. “It’s an anatomical measure,”
Laidlaw said. “It’s a tool that we hope will help the field.”
While zeroing in on the brain’s wiring, the team, including graduate students
Radu Jianu and Çagatay Demiralp, added a “linked view” so users
can toggle back and forth between the neural bundles in the 2-D image and the larger
3-D picture of the brain.
“What you see is what you operate,” said Jianu, the paper’s lead
author. “There’s no change in perspective with what you’re working
with on the screen.”
Users can export the 2-D brain representations as images and display them in Web
browsers using Google Maps. “The advantage of using this mode of distribution
is that users don’t have to download a large dataset, put it in the right
format, and then use a complicated software to try and look at it, but can simply
load a webpage,” Jianu explained.
The program is designed to share research. Scientists can use the Web to review
brain research in other labs that may be useful to their own work. The National
Institutes of Health funded the research.
Click here to hear the story on NIH Radio
May 23, 2011: Bioengineering Research Partnership Work Allows
Paraplegic Man to Stand, Move Legs
The NIBIB Rehabilitation Engineering program supports the development of next generation
medical rehabilitation devices and systems that presents a paradigm shift from the
current state of the art technology. In 2008, NIBIB awarded a 5-year Bioengineering
Research Partnership (BRP) grant to the University of California Los Angeles for
Dr. Reggie Edgerton and his multidisciplinary team to develop the next generation
high density electrode array technology for epidural stimulation of the spinal cord.
In this first-in-human study the investigators proposed to explore the possibility
of humans regaining standing and stepping functions (as observed previously in animals)
through a combination of epidural stimulation with motor training. In year 2 of
the award, the first implanted human subject is now able to stand and move his previously
paralyzed lower limbs.
Scientists funded in part by the National Institutes of Health report that after
intensive physical therapy and electrical stimulation to the spine, a man with a
paralyzing spinal cord injury has recovered the ability to stand and move paralyzed
muscles when the stimulator is active.
A car accident in 2006 left Rob Summers completely paralyzed from the chest down.
Summers, now 26 years old, is participating in a pilot trial that combines locomotor
training and epidural stimulation. The locomotor training involves being supported
over a treadmill, either in a harness or by hand rails, while a team of physical
therapists work with his legs to help him stand and step on the machine. During
epidural stimulation, electrical pulses are delivered to the surface of his spinal
cord, below the injury.
“While these results are obviously encouraging, we need to be cautious, and
there is much work to be done,” said V. Reggie Edgerton, Ph.D., a professor
of physiology at the University of California Los Angeles. Dr. Edgerton conducted
the new study in collaboration with Susan Harkema, Ph.D., the director of rehabilitation
research at the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of
Louisville. The team published data on Summers’ improvement in The Lancet.*
The team’s novel approach to rehabilitation was developed through research
on animals, supported by NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders
and Stroke (NINDS). This first-in-human study as well as a parallel development
of the new stimulator technology is supported by a NIH Bioengineering Research Partnership
from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). The
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation also contributed to the study.
Summers’ accident dislocated a segment of his spine between his neck and chest.
He lost most movement and sensation below the injury, including the ability to control
his legs. He began working with Dr. Edgerton in 2007, and received months of locomotor
training with no epidural stimulation. While he hung over the treadmill for hours
at a time, physical therapists moved his legs in stepping motions.
The locomotor training by itself did not improve Summers’ ability to stand
or walk. But he did improve after December 2009, when electrodes were surgically
implanted over the paralyzed area of his spinal cord near the bottom of his ribcage,
and used to deliver rhythmic electrical bursts during the locomotor training sessions.
During his efforts to stand on the treadmill, his supporting harness was gradually
lowered until he was able to stand and fully bear his own weight for up to four
minutes at a time. He is not able to walk on the treadmill. While standing with
the stimulator on, however, he can bend one leg at the knee, flex his ankle and
extend his big toe.
"This study is an example of the convergence of the physical, neurological
and clinical sciences to develop novel approaches that could improve the lives of
individuals with spinal cord injuries,” said Belinda Seto, Ph.D., deputy director
of NIBIB. “There is still much work to be done to optimize the multi-electrode
stimulator technology, including determining the most effective stimulation patterns,”
added Grace C.Y. Peng, Ph.D., the NIBIB program director who oversees the project.
The investigators do not know precisely how epidural stimulation works. The approach
emerged from research on basic spinal cord physiology, largely supported by NINDS.
When we decide to move, our brains send signals that travel through our spinal cords
and to our muscles. The feel of the movement, for example our feet hitting the ground
as we walk, is transmitted back to the spinal cord by sensory nerve cells –
and ultimately back to the brain. However, the spinal cord also contains local circuits
that are capable of producing and sensing movements even without the brain’s
control. The knee jerk reflex is a simple example from everyday life.
Dr. Edgerton’s research on animals with spinal cord injury has shown that
local circuits in the spinal cord can also drive more complex movements, such as
stepping. In a recent study on rats with spinal cord injury, Dr. Edgerton showed
that combining epidural stimulation with sensory input – feeling the motion
of a treadmill – helped the rats regain the ability to walk. The rats also
received drugs that mimic the effects of serotonin, a chemical messenger that excites
nerve cells in the spinal cord.
The serotonin-like drugs that were used in the rats are not suitable for human use
and will require further development, the researchers say.
Along with the animal studies, there were hints that people with spinal cord injuries
might respond to a similar combination of treadmill training and spine stimulation.
Locomotor training, without any epidural stimulation, is routinely used as a rehabilitative
technique for people with so-called incomplete spinal cord injuries, which means
they still have some ability to move and feel below the injury. Meanwhile, a form
of epidural stimulation is used to relieve pain for some patients.
While Summers retained some sensation below his injury, his legs were completely
paralyzed. This is the first time researchers have found that locomotor training
and epidural stimulation together can help someone with such a severe injury. It
is believed that the epidural stimulation and locomotor training have two distinct
roles. The stimulation appears to have a non-specific effect, switching on intact
circuits in the spinal cord. Meanwhile, the training relays specific information
about the body and its position, for example, whether the person is standing or
"These studies show that after a spinal cord injury, the sophisticated circuitry
of the spinal cord remains, ready to coordinate complex movements if it receives
the right commands," said Naomi Kleitman, Ph.D., a program director at the
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). "Harnessing
that potential has been the goal of decades of research to understand spinal cord
function and to find effective ways to restore that function after injury."
One mystery is that for Summers, the physical therapy and stimulation to the spinal
cord appeared to do something more than activate the local circuits in his spinal
cord. The treatment actually put the power of movement under his control. With the
stimulator turned on, he stood up when he wanted to stand, and he could move his
legs, feet and toes when asked. The researchers have two theories for how this happened.
One possibility is that the stimulation amplifies weak signals that manage to reach
the injured spinal cord from the brain, but are not strong enough to produce muscle
contractions on their own. Another possibility is that the stimulation helps nerve
cells in the cord grow and establish new connections.
Summers is the first of five individuals participating in this trial. The researchers
and NIH scientists caution that further study is required to confirm these early,
promising results and to understand exactly how the stimulation is working.
"We still have much to learn about how different people will respond to this
type of stimulation," said Dr. Kleitman. "Testing of more individuals
is needed, as every spinal cord injury and patient is different. Drugs that make
the spinal circuits more sensitive to the stimulation may be added to the therapy
in the future."
*Harkema S et al. "Effect of epidural stimulation of the lumbosacral spinal
cord on voluntary movement, standing, and assisted stepping after motor complete
paraplegia: a case study." The Lancet, published online May 20, 2011.
NIBIB (www.nibib.nih.gov), a component of NIH, is dedicated
to improving health by bridging the physical and biological sciences to develop
and apply new biomedical technologies.
NINDS (www.ninds.nih.gov) is the nation’s
leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The NINDS mission is
to reduce the burden of neurological disease – a burden borne by every age
group, by every segment of society, by people all over the world.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) – The Nation’s Medical Research
Agency – includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates
the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information
about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
March 29, 2011: NIBIB Announces the First Edward C. Nagy New
The First NIBIB Edward C. Nagy New Investigator Symposium will take place April
12, 2011, at the Lister Auditorium on the NIH Campus in Bethesda, Maryland. There
will be a very exciting line up of speakers, all of whom are first-time NIH grantees,
covering a wide range of cutting edge bioengineering and imaging research areas
such as stem cells and tissue engineering, molecular diagnostics, image-guided ultrasonic
therapy, drug and gene delivery, computational anatomy, imaging informatics and
For details about the Symposium and to register for the meeting (which is free)
The NIBIB encourages NIH employees as well as scientists and engineers in the local
area to attend and meet our new investigators, hear about their exciting research,
and cheer them on. There will also be a reception following the Symposium.
We hope to see many of you there for an exciting day of imaging and bioengineering.
February 1, 2011: NIH Summit to Focus on Management of Radiation
Dose in Computerized Tomography – Emphasis Toward the Sub-mSv CT Exam
Members of the media are invited to attend a National Institutes of Health conference
focused on transforming computed tomography (CT) technology and its use to achieve
minimal public health risks from radiation exposure. A specific goal of this conference
is to identify the technological steps and associated research required to reduce
the radiation dose from routine CT exams to less than 1 mSv (millisievert, the unit
used to measure the amount of ionizing radiation absorbed by human tissues). Additional
goals in the near-term are improving our understanding and management of radiation
exposure, and defining steps to achieve best technical and clinical practices.
It is estimated that approximately 70 million CT scans were performed in the United
States in 2009 – a three-fold increase in the number performed ten years ago.
While CT scans are an invaluable tool in the noninvasive detection and staging of
disease and injury, attention has now turned to the potential cancer risks associated
with the overuse of these scans, and whether or not these risks can be reduced.
Although most patients receive relatively low doses of radiation from CT scans,
patient doses can vary many fold due to factors such as the type of CT scanner,
the protocols and machine settings used for the exam, the number of scans, the patient’s
body size, the part of the body examined, specific clinical requirements, and even
occasional errors in the imaging process. For instance, according to RadiologyInfo.org,
an American College of Radiology and Radiological Society of North America joint
website, the effective radiation dose for a CT scan has been estimated to be approximately
16 mSv for the abdomen; for the head, 2 mSv; and for the chest, 7 mSv. For perspective,
the approximate effective radiation dose from a typical chest x-ray is 0.1 mSv,
while a mammogram is 0.4 mSv. This conference will look at ways to improve our understanding
and management of radiation exposure, as well as the steps necessary to achieve
lower dose exams (sub-mSv) without compromising the diagnostic quality of the CT
February 24-25, 2011
Bethesda North Marriott, 5701 Marinelli Road, Bethesda, MD
This conference is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Coalition for Imaging and Bioengineering
The full agenda and additional details about the meeting are posted on the web at
Media interested in attending the meeting can contact Dr. Tom Johnson at 301-451-4790
or e-mail your request to email@example.com.
Last Updated On 06/07/2012