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5th Annual Imaging Elevated Is a Success

Oct 22, 2021 8:29 AM
By Michael Mozdy


While COVID-19 has made in-person conferences and symposia difficult if not impossible for two years, vaccines and heightened precautions made an in-person symposium possible this year. Committee co-chairs Donna Cross, PhD, Miriam Peckham, MD, and Preston Eiswirth, MD created a memorable and enjoyable event where everyone could feel safe.

Eleven emerging investigators from around the country took the stage alongside two keynote speakers and a multidisciplinary panel. Like every year, the topics were wide and varied to generate discussions that do not take place at the typical scientific conference. As one presenter noted, "The variety of the talks were excellent and were provided at a level that sparked very interesting conversations."

Friday 10/15: UCAIR, Pettigrew, Psychiatry and More 

The 11 emerging investigators were put up at the Hotel Monaco downtown and enjoyed a morning breakfast with the department chair. Then, they spent the rest of the morning meeting with research faculty at the Utah Center for Advanced Imaging Research (UCAIR). After lunch, Dr. Peckham kicked off the symposium, passing the spotlight to Department Chair, Satoshi Minoshima, MD, PhD, who welcomed the speakers and attendees. Next up was Roderic Pettigrew, MD, PhD, MBA, the CEO of Engineering Health and executive dean for Engineering Medicine at Texas A&M University. Dr. Pettigrew's presentation is available below:


After the keynote, we had a multidisciplinary panel featuring two Department of Psychiatry faculty, Perry Renshaw, MD, PhD, MBA and Brent Kious, MD, PhD, and two Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences faculty, Lubdha Shaw, MD and Jace King, PhD, MBA. Their presentations and the following Q&A are below:


Finally, Friday's program ended with the first group of emerging investigators:

  1. Philip K. Lee (Stanford), "Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Patients With Their Own Personal Magnet"  

  2. Steven Allen, PhD (BYU), “Nanofluids and Knifeless Surgeries”

  3. Erpeng Dai, PhD (Stanford) “Probing Brain Microstructure and Structural Connectivity with Advanced Diffusion MRI” 

  4. Tyler Smith, MD (U of Utah) “In Search of Ionizing Imaging without DNA Damage”

  5. Efrat Shimron, PhD (Berkeley), “Subtle Inverse Crimes: When AI is Overly Optimistic”

  6. Xiaodong Ma, PhD (University of Minnesota), “Quick and Easy 7T MRI scan: Reduce the B1 Artifacts Using AI” 


Saturday 10/16: Lussier, Posters and the Case Competition

Dr. Eiswirth opened the Saturday morning session by introducing the Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics, Yves Lussier, MD. Below is Dr. Lussier's wide ranging and provocative keynote:


Next, we heard from the second group of emerging investigators:

  1. Lauren Watkins (Stanford), “Form Follows Function in Osteoarthritis: A Tale Taken from PET + MRI”

  2. Anna Sorace, PhD (University of Alabama), “Imaging the tumor microenvironment to personalize cancer treatment”

  3. Moss Zhao, PhD (Stanford), “Blood Flow Elevated: Predicting Stroke”

  4. Sumner Norman, PhD (Caltech), “Listening to Brain Function”

  5. Theresa Pham, MD (U of Utah), “Perceptual Training on Formulating a Gestalt Impression of an Image Using a ‘Second Look’”


Finally, attendees went to the Exhibit Hall and spoke with the presenters at their posters. During this time, we also held the Clinical Case Competition, moderated by MSK Section Chief, Megan Mills, MD, where 9 medical students and residents presented cases to our faculty judges. The judges awarded the following:

  • 1st place: Tessie Pham, MD, R3 Resident
  • 2nd place: Lauren Facer, MD, R2 Resident
  • 3rd place: Sage Anderson, medical student


After the end of the program, the emerging investigators took a bus to Park City where they had a tour of Olympic Park from U.S. Ski Jump Olympian Casey Larson and spent time enjoying downtown Park City. We celebrated the end of the symposium at Squatter's Pub downtown, where the Top Emerging Investigator for 2021 was announced: Sumner Norman, PhD. It was a great few days and we look forward to next year. Many thanks to the planning committee, our judges, keynotes, plenary speakers, case competitors, attendees, and staff who helped to make the 2021 Imaging Elevated Symposium so great!



Department Chair Satoshi Minoshima, the author, Top Investigator Sumner Norman, and Vice Chair for Clinical Operations Rich Brown.