Rui Carlos Sá

Rui Sa
Data and Technology Advancement (DATA) National Service Scholar

Democracy 2, Room 200

6707 Democracy Blvd.

Bethesda, MD 20817


Rui Carlos Sá is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Diego and a NIH Data and Technology Advancement (DATA) National Service Scholar. He brings to the Data Scholar role a profound knowledge of lung physiology, combined with years of experience in developing, validating and translating quantitative analysis software tools directly applicable to the lung. These skills are aligned with and necessary for addressing the immediate and urgent need for Covid-19 imaging processing tools, a priority for NIBIB’s Medical Imaging and Data Resource Center (MIDRC) project.

Dr. Sá is a biomedical engineer and physiologist. Throughout his career, he has developed, validated and deployed computational techniques able to produce quantitative insight on the human lung in health and disease. He is an Engineer in Physics (Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal); his Ph.D. work (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium), focused on understanding the impact of gravity on respiratory mechanics during sleep. Attaining this goal required developing algorithms using artificial neural networks for breath detection during sleep and wavelet analysis.

Since 2008 his main research tool is functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the lung, namely a proton MR technique – Specific Ventilation Imaging - capable of quantifying ventilation in the human lung. Specific Ventilation Imaging uses inhaled oxygen as a T1 contrast agent, to create quantitative map specific ventilation. The SVI technique is now available is several centers in 3 continents, and is used to further out understanding of asthma, cystic fibrosis, and other respiratory diseases.