Creating Biomedical Technologies to Improve Health


Roderic Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D.

Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D.
Director, NIBIB
Office of the Director

BG 31 RM 1C14 31 Center Dr Bethesda MD 20814



Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., is the founding Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at the NIH. From 2013- 2014, the NIH Director also appointed Dr. Pettigrew Acting Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity to coordinate and oversee all NIH activities that address the unique diversity and inclusion challenges to strengthen the national biomedical research workforce.

Prior to his appointment at the NIH, Dr. Pettigrew was Professor of Radiology, Medicine (Cardiology) at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, Professor of Bioengineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Director of the Emory Center for MR Research at the Emory University School of Medicine. He is known internationally for his pioneering work at Emory University involving four-dimensional imaging of the cardiovascular system using magnetic resonance (MRI). His current research focuses on integrated imaging and predictive biomechanical modeling of coronary atherosclerotic disease.

Early on at the NIBIB he jointly led a national effort with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to create new interdisciplinary graduate training programs, and established the Quantum Projects program to achieve “medical moon shots” (in 2008) by pursuing high-risk, high-impact projects designed to solve major healthcare problems. Under Dr. Pettigrew’s leadership, national collaborative and international initiatives have been issued to develop low cost and point-of-care medical technologies and at present he leads an effort to reduce CT radiation dose to background levels. He has called for and now leads a U.S.-India collaboration to develop unobtrusive/passive technologies for frequent recording of blood pressure to address the world-wide problem of hypertension. Recently he has championed a broad-based effort of academic, industrial, and government scientific leaders to advance technologies to reverse paralysis from spinal cord and related injuries. Other innovative programs established under his leadership include the NIBIB Trailblazer Award for early stage and new investigators from transdisciplinary fields who tackle high-risk, high-reward problems, and the unique NIBIB-Coulter College Commercializing Innovation partnership established jointly with the Wallace Coulter Foundation. This College helps prepare and guide small business award recipients to successful commercialization of their scientific discoveries and technological advances.   

Dr. Pettigrew has been elected to membership in two components of the U.S. National Academies, the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering. He has also been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, India.  His awards include Phi Beta Kappa, the Bennie Award for Achievement at Morehouse College, the  Most Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Miami (1990), the Hall of Fame of the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami,  the Herbert Nickens Award of the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC), the Pritzker Distinguished Achievement Award of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Distinguished Service Award of the National Medical Association, the Pierre Galletti Award of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, the Distinguished Service Award of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, and the Inaugural Gold Medal Award of the Academy of Radiology Research. He has received the Honorary Member Award of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and was named Honorary Professor of the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou on the occasion of commencing their first medical school class.


Selected Publications