2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

Drs. Ben Sawatzky and Justin Brucker Win Best Education Poster at ASPNR 2020

Justin Brucker
Dr. Brucker
Dr. Sawatzky
Ben Sawatzky, MD, and Justin Brucker, MD, win the Best Education Poster at the 2nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Pediatric Neuroradiology (ASPNR), January 10-January 12, 2020, Eden Roc, Miami Beach, Florida. After reviewing 107 scientific and education exhibits, the awards committee chose to present 1 Best Scientific Poster, 1 Best Education Poster, and 8 Cum Laude awards. They presented a poster entitled: MAKING SENSE of MTOR: An Introduction to mTOR-opathies. Congratulations to Dr. Sawatzky and Dr. Brucker!

Laura Eisenmenger, MD, Awarded 2020 ICTR KL2 Grant

Dr. Laura Eisenmenger, Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiology in the Neuroradiology Section, was recently awarded a 2020 KL2 Grant from the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR). Dr. Eisenmenger’s research focuses on cerebrovascular dysfunction. To more comprehensively measure cerebrovascular reactivity and further the study of cerebrovascular dysfunction, this project proposes to design and evaluate an innovative combined macrovascular and microvascular cerebrovascular reactivity MRI protocol in participants with various stages of Alzheimer's disease.

UW's University Hospital Is First US Healthcare Facility to Install ARTIS Icono Biplane System from Siemens Healthineers

Pictured, left to right: Neuroradiologist Dr. Beverly Aagaard-Kienitz, Dr. Robert Dempsey, Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery, Dr. Alan Kaplan, UW Health CEO, and and Dr. Thomas Grist, Chair of the Department of Radiology. (Photo courtesy UW Health)

UW Health's University Hospital recently became the first healthcare facility in the United States to install the ARTIS Icono biplane system from Siemens Healthineers. This machine was designed to enhance workflow and balance dose and image quality, especially for imaging highly detailed structures in 2D and 3D. The system is also highly flexible and useful for multidisciplinary lab use, for neuroradiology procedures, including stroke-related blood clots. It can also easily switch to other disciplines, while providing high-quality images.

The ARTIS Icono platform is particularly unique because of the new OPTIQ imaging chain, ensuring optimal imaging quality, while at the same time balancing the radiation dose to patients as well as staff. The integration of this machine into UW School of Medicine and Public Health will increase the visualization of challenging anatomy and accelerate workflow for physicians to ensure patients receive the best possible care. See uwhealth.org/53159 or read the full article from DotMed Healthcare Business here: https://www.dotmed.com/news/story/50123

Dr. Elizabeth Burnside and Team Awarded NIH Grant for Women's Health Research

Dr. Elizabeth Burnside
Women’s health researcher Elizabeth Burnside, MD, MPH, MS, FACR, a University of Wisconsin–Madison Professor of Radiology in the Breast Imaging and Intervention Section, is part of a team to be awarded a five-year, $3 million Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCHW) grant from the National Institutes of Health. UW-Madison was selected as the site for this new institutional career development grant. Dr. Burnside is one of the Principal Investigators for a program designed to foster the next generation of leaders in women’s health research. BIRCHW, is a mentored career-development program, which will assemble 40 senior faculty mentors from 21 departments in 11 Schools/Centers across UW. The goal is to ultimately improve women’s health by developing a scientific workforce capable of leading independently funded biomedical, behavioral and clinical research. “Interdisciplinary women’s health research thrives at UW–Madison because of the overall climate of excellence, stellar research career development programs, and dedication to collaboration between diverse disciplines. This exceptional tradition provides an outstanding environment to foster the next generation of leaders in women’s health research,” Burnside said. Read the full article here.

Drs. Vivek Prabhakaran, Alan McMillan, and Veena Nair Receive NIH-NIA Funding for Delirium and Dementia Study

Vivek Prabhakaran
Dr. Vivek Prabhakaran
Alan McMillan
Dr. Alan McMillan
Dr. Veena Nair
UWSMPH Department of Radiology Associate Professor Vivek Prabhakaran, MD, PhD, Associate Professor Alan McMillan, PhD, and Senior Scientist Veena Nair, PhD, are co-Is on a multidisciplinary 5-year project that recently received $3.6 million NIH-NIA R01 funding. The project, led by UW Department of Anesthesiology’s Assistant Professor Robert Sanders, MD, PhD, will clarify the overlapping pathology of Delirium and Dementia. The long-term goal of this study is to characterize postoperative delirium using MRI, PET, EEG, and neuropsychological measures and to predict which patients develop Dementia. The R01 project will be using the WIMR PET/MRI scanner, a unique resource, as it allows acquisition of simultaneous MRI and PET data. Radiology R&D funds and the PI's K23 award were helpful in obtaining preliminary data from the WIMR PET/MRI scanner for the successful R01 grant submission.

Department Faculty Selected to Participate in Class of 2020 UWSMPH Graduation Recognition Ceremony

Dr. Stephenson
Dr. Kennedy
Jason Stephenson, MD, UWSMPH Department of Radiology faculty member in the Musculoskeletal Imaging and Intervention Section, and Director of Medical Student Education, was selected as the Graduation Recognition Ceremony speaker. Dr. Stephenson was selected to be the speaker by the M4 graduating class at the UW SMPH. Dr. Stephenson has been tireless in his pursuit for effective education. He has been recognized for his excellent work in transforming the radiology curriculum, receiving the Dean’s Teaching award in 2018. Dr. Stephenson has overseen the Radiology Clerkship for medical students since 2012, when he began a successful effort to revise the radiology curriculum to introduce a more structured and objective-based approach, using technology to more equally engage learners from across the statewide campus, and employing a PACS based case simulator for student use. Tabassum Kennedy, MD, Associate Professor and UW Department of Radiology Neuroradiology Section Chief, was selected by the graduating UWSMPH Medical students to be one of the two faculty members to perform the traditional hooding during the 2020 Graduation Recognition Ceremony. Dr. Kennedy formerly served as director of both the Neuroradiology Fellowship and Neuroradiology Clerkship, is currently the Acute Care Assistant Block Leader for medical students, and both Phase II Course Director and Phase III Co-Course Director. Dr. Kennedy has consistently shared her passion and talents for education with the department through her groundbreaking work with medical student, residency and fellowship education that has earned her numerous awards and accolades. Thanks to her efforts we are a true leader in neuroradiology education. The ceremony will take place on Friday, May 8, 2020, at 10 am at the UW Memorial Union, Shannon Hall.

Dr. Pickhardt Publishes Study "Automated CT Biomarkers Predict Future Cardiovascular Events and Mortality in Asymptomatic Screening Population"

Dr. Pickhardt

Perry Pickhardt, MD, Professor of Radiology and UWSMPH faculty member in the Abdominal Imaging and Intervention Section, and National Institutes of Health researchers, recently published their findings that demonstrate artificial intelligence (AI) can harness and analyze information captured in computerized tomography (CT) scans, but typically not used, to provide valuable medical information such as predicting future adverse clinical events.

Their study compared the ability of automated CT-based body composition biomarkers derived from deep-learning and feature-based, image-processing algorithms (previously developed at the NIH Clinical Center) to predict major cardiovascular events and overall survival with routinely used clinical parameters: the Framingham risk score (FRS) and body-mass index (BMI).  The investigators observed that the CT-based measures were more accurate than FRS and BMI in predicting downstream adverse events including death or myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accident, or congestive heart failure subsequent to CT scanning in a cohort of adults undergoing abdominal CT for routine colorectal cancer screening. The results appeared in The Lancet Digital Health on March 2, 2020.

“This opportunistic use of additional CT-based biomarkers provides objective value to what doctors are already doing,” said Dr. Perry J. Pickhardt, professor of radiology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, and lead and corresponding author of the study. “More than 80 million body CT scans are performed every year in the U.S. alone, but valuable prognostic information on body composition is typically overlooked.  This automated process requires no additional time, effort, or radiation exposure to patients, yet these prognostic measures could one day impact patient health through pre-symptomatic detection of elevated cardiovascular or other health risks.”

The study used five AI computer programs to accurately measure liver volume and steatosis, visceral fat volume, skeletal muscle volume, spine bone mineral density, and atherosclerotic plaque burden on abdominal CT examinations, and they found that the panel of automated CT-based tissue biomarkers compared favorably with the FRS and BMI for presymptomatic prediction of future cardiovascular events and death. In fact, the CT-based measure of aortic calcification alone significantly outperformed the multivariate FRS for major cardiovascular events and overall survival.

The researchers also observed that BMI was a poor predictor of cardiovascular events and overall survival, and all five automated CT-based measures clearly outperformed BMI for adverse event prediction.

“We found that automated measures provided more accurate risk assessments than established clinical biomarkers,” said Dr. Ronald M. Summers of the NIH Clinical Center and senior author of the study. “This demonstrates the potential of an approach that uses AI to tap into the biometric data embedded in all such scans performed for a wide range of other indications and derive information that can help people better understand their overall health and risks of serious adverse events.”

This research builds on prior efforts designing AI algorithms that Dr. Summers has undertaken in his lab in the NIH Clinical Center’s Radiology and Imaging Sciences Department and his previous collaboration with Dr. Pickhardt to develop, train, test, and validate fully automated algorithms for measuring body composition using abdominal CT.  The researchers plan to test the approach in other cohorts, including more racially diverse populations.

This study was supported by the Intramural Research Program, NIH’s internal research program and the world's largest biomedical research institution, and it used the high-performance computing capabilities of the NIH Biowulf cluster.


Pickhardt P, Summers R, et al. Automated CT biomarkers for opportunistic prediction of future cardiovascular events and mortality in an asymptomatic screening population: a retrospective cohort study. The Lancet Digital Health. March 2, 2020. DOI: 10.1016/S2589-7500(20)30025-X

Department Establishes "Feed the Front Lines" Fund for COVID-19 Hospital Staff

Dr. Thomas Grist

The UWSMPH Department of Radiology is recognizing the challenging work being performed by those on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis at our department imaging sites. The Department of Radiology has established the “Feed the Front Lines” fund, offering a free meal to department employees serving at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are so grateful for the tremendous work and personal sacrifice those individuals are making to provide care for our patients during this difficult time,” said Dr. Thomas Grist, Department of Radiology Chair. “Our department has always depended heavily on the efforts of those health care providers with direct patient contact, and this pandemic has reinforced how vital each of them are to the success of our department in taking care of our community.”

During the early ramp-up of the COVID-19 response, many department faculty members reached out to Dr. Grist to strongly voice their appreciation of the work done by front-line workers, which also includes many radiology team members. Dr. Grist and the Radiology faculty established the fund, which is a collaboration between the Department and one of Madison’s top caterers, Blue Plate Catering. The department faculty and staff made donations to the fund to deliver meals to those working at UW Health clinical sites now, and in the weeks to come.

To keep the meal delivery going, future donations are open to all faculty and staff. The hope is to provide at least one healthy meal each week to our hard-working staff for the duration of the crisis. For more information on how to donate, please visit https://www.blueplatecatering.com/home/feed-the-front-lines/. To make a direct donation using the link to the account on PayPal, please visit https://paypal.me/pools/c/8nTyn6Fk9a.

“All of us can be grateful that some of our front-line staff are able to enjoy a delicious and COVID-safe meal and perhaps take one less trip to the grocery store,” Dr. Grist said. “We also can be comforted by the fact that this is keeping a local business open and their front-line restaurant staff employed.” As a direct result of this fund, nearly $15,000 has been raised to date, and more than 330 meals will be delivered to the control areas of each respective unit this week.

Dr. Laura Eisenmenger Named UW ICTR KL2 Scholar

Dr. Laura Eisenmenger
Laura Eisenmenger, MD, UWSMPH Department of Radiology faculty member in the Neuroradiology Section, is one of three University of Wisconsin-Madison early-career faculty members who will join the ICTR KL2 Scholars Career Development Program beginning this summer. For this highly competitive application process, Dr. Eisenmenger was nominated by our department as part of a system designed to select candidates having both individual excellence and potential to lead multidisciplinary research projects with high translational promise. The KL2 program provides 75% protected time to assist scholars with developing an independent research program, plus monthly career development seminars and other trainings designed to promote key NIH research competencies for clinical and translational research. Dr. Eisenmenger and two other selected scholars will join ten other Scholars who participate in one of the NIH-funded, workforce development programs at ICTR. NIH support for ICTR is through the national Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program that funds 60 plus centers nationwide.

Department Staff, Students Win Awards

Katie Yang
Katie Yang, MSc, Department of Radiology Medical Education Research Services Outreach Coordinator, was recently awarded the Stephen Abramson Award for Innovation “Best of Cool Ideas” at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine 17th Annual Innovations in Medical Education Conference in Los Angeles. Katie’s project was entitled “Personal Sustainability Practice – Integrating Practical Wellness into the Preclinical Curriculum.”  
Manoj Kumar
Manoj Kumar, a graduate student working with Amy Fowler, MD, PhD, was recently awarded the Alavi-Mandell award as the first author on a paper published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Manoj will be defending his PhD thesis next month. The article, titled “18F-Fluoroestradiol Positron Emission Tomography Imaging of Activating Estrogen Receptor Alpha Mutations in Breast Cancer,” was also co-authored by Dr. Fowler.  
Sarvesh Periyasamy
Sarvesh Periyasamy, an MD/PhD student in Dr. Paul Laeseke’s lab, received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) F30 Ruth L. Kirchstein Individual Predoctoral NRSA Award. Sarvesh is using a quantitative DSA technique we have developed to correlate degree of liver embolization with ischemic markers in tissue and hypoxia on FMISO PET (with Dr. Ali Pirasteh). The long-term goal is to be able to use quantitative DSA to titrate liver embolizations to a more optimal and standardized endpoint.