Associate Directory, HSS MRI Laboratory
Associate Scientist, Department of Radiology and Imaging, Hospital for Special Surgery
Associate Professor of Biomedical Imaging in Orthopaedic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University
Lab: Hospital for Special Surgery MRI Laboratory

BS, Mechanical Engineering (pre-med option), The George Washington University
MS, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, Columba University in the City of New York
Post-Doc, Medical Imaging (MRI), Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Who has been (have been) your mentor(s)?
Van C. Mow PhD, Gerard Ateshian PhD, Kenton Kaufman PhD, Kimberly Amrami MD

What is your specific area of interest?
My research focuses on using novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques for musculoskeletal applications. I utilize quantitative MRI (qMRI) as a biomarker to evaluate the initiation and progression of degenerative joint disease in articular cartilage using T2 and T1ρ mapping. I also employ qMRI to characterize tears and post-operative healing of meniscal tissue using ultra-short echo (UTE) imaging and derived T2* maps. Finally, I apply multi-acquisition variable resonance image combination (MAVRIC) to assess bone-implant integration and biologic reactions in total hip, knee, and shoulder arthroplasty and other orthopaedic hardware.

What are you currently working on/ plan to do in the near future?
The work that I do at HSS is greatly influenced by the patients who come to our clinic and all of the projects are collaborations between engineers, radiologists and surgeons. Currently, my largest project involves using morphologic and quantitative MRI technique to evaluate the development and monitor the progression of adverse local tissue reactions (ALTRs) in patients with total hip arthroplasty. One arm of the study is evaluating patients who are undergoing revision THA surgery so that we can correlate pre-operative imaging, with intra-operative tissue sampling, and post-operative wear assessment of the retrieved components. A second arm of the study is the longitudinal analysis of high functioning THA patients with varying bearing surface who receive annual MRI exams. We’ve been successful in relating the development of ALTRs to specific bearing surfaces.

Another aspect of my research involves the development and use of an MRI compatible loading device to examine the in vivo contact mechanics and tissue response following partial meniscectomy. This is an exciting project where we will evaluate changes in cartilage deformation and biochemical composition, derived from MRI examination, in patients who undergo partial meniscectomy.

What has been the biggest challenge/issue for you lately in your research?
I feel that the biggest challenge for me right now is performing in vivo research in the setting of COVID as people are reluctant to travel. Even so, many patients are eager to continue their participation and understand the importance of work that we’re doing.

What project(s) are you looking forward to in the near future?
In the near future, I’m looking forward the continued development and use of quantitative MRI to evaluate synovial reactions in patients with THA as I’ve learned that the analysis techniques that I’ve previously applied to articular cartilage, meniscus, and tendon are insufficient for fully characterizing these reactions. I’m also interested in the continued enrollment of patients undergoing partial meniscectomy as incorporating load into an MRI exam may provide means to have a non-invasive functional assessment of tissue integrity that’s predictive of long term outcomes.

What is the most unusual/unexpected item sitting on your desk right now?
I have a Lego set of a full MRI suite, complete with a waiting room, technologist console with monitors, and an MRI scanner. There’s even a small table on the MRI scanner that slides in and out. I use it to explain to people unfamiliar with how MRIs are performed what they will have to do during their research study visit.

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