The last four decades have witnessed a remarkable transformation in the fundamental capabilities of tomographic imaging, as well as in its corresponding societal role. The development of Computed Tomography, Positron Emission Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging have provided new windows onto the structure and function of tissues in the human body, making exquisite cross-sectional images a commonplace in the public imagination, and at the same time radically transforming the practice of medicine.

Imaging has become so integral to the processes of clinical diagnosis and management that it now represents a kind of extension of the physician’s natural senses. At the same time, with the utilization and the corresponding net cost of imaging studies skyrocketing, there is growing pressure to improve imaging efficiency and tailor image information content for the documented improvement of patient outcomes. We believe that nothing less than a redefinition of the role of time in imaging is called for to meet this challenge. Traditionally, tomographic imaging studies have been performed according to well-defined sequential protocols, in which each desired anatomical view or image contrast is prescribed in advance, and data acquisition continues, sometimes laboriously and expensively, until each prescribed dataset is complete. Our research has increasingly directed us toward a new paradigm, in which diverse image information is gathered rapidly and continuously, with sufficient flexibility and comprehensiveness that the clinician can decide what he or she wishes to see after the fact, even if the clinical picture departs from prior expectations.

NYU's Center for Advanced Imaging Innovation and Research

Development and practical clinical validation of such a paradigm clearly requires a close collaboration of clinicians with basic imaging researchers. Translation of this kind of approach into broad and routine clinical practice in more than a few academic sites also clearly requires the engagement of the medical systems companies who build, maintain, and distribute imaging devices around the world. Meanwhile, fundamental connections between continuous acquisition approaches in multiple imaging modalities such as MR and PET suggest synergies between these modalities that go beyond traditional multimodality image superpositions. Simultaneous acquisition of image data with diverse and complementary sensitivities to subtle tissue features promises to provide rich conjoined datasets with heretofore inaccessible precision and information content. NYU School of Medicine’s response to these unique and exciting challenge is CAI²R, a new center with the mission of bringing people together to create new ways of seeing.

The Center for Advanced Imaging Innovation and Research (CAI²R) combines three interrelated areas of novel imaging technology development with a unique new model for interdepartmental and academic-industrial collaboration aimed at translating that technology rapidly and effectively into clinical practice. The technologies to be developed center around a new paradigm of continuous acquisition and flexible image reconstruction which will affect and connect multiple imaging modalities, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET).

Research Areas

Our first focal area of technology research and development involves development and dissemination of tools for continuous MR acquisition with flexible information-rich reconstruction, and deployment of related approaches to overcome key limitations in PET. Our second cluster of research and development will provide key tools to enhance this continuous-acquisition approach, at the same time addressing longstanding unsolved problems surrounding the interactions between radiofrequency fields and tissuezoom in MR. Our third focus will be to take advantage of the new continuous acquisition approach and the image reconstruction strategies we have developed to advance the fundamental capabilities of PET, both through analogies with MR and through synergies with simultaneously acquired MR data using a combined MR-PET scanner.

CAI²R has an explicit translational focus, which is reflected in the day-to-day operation not only of our core research and development projects but also our extensive network of collaborative and service projects, which are focused on three general areas of high public health impact: cancer, musculoskeletal disease, and neurologic disease. In keeping with this translational emphasis, CAI²R is also driven by a novel collaboration model in which basic scientists, clinicians, and industry developers sit down together regularly at the scanners and in reading rooms for interactive technology development and assessment. This interdisciplinary collaboration model also informs our training activities, and, with early involvement of clinical stakeholders and industry partners, we aim to make CAI²R technologies available for broad clinical and research use.


Philanthropic Support

We gratefully acknowledge generous support for radiology research at NYU Langone Health from:
• The Big George Foundation
• Raymond and Beverly Sackler
• Bernard and Irene Schwartz

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