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  • Bruce R. Rosen MD PhD

  • (This biography from Burton P. Drayer, MD originally appeared in Radiology)

    At the forefront of the explosion in research on the workings of the brain for the past 3 decades, Bruce R. Rosen, MD, PhD, has developed the physiologic and functional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging techniques used by clinicians and investigators throughout the world.

    Dr Rosen—a professor of radiology at the Harvard Medical School (Boston, Mass) and director of the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Harvard Medical School— has devoted his lengthy career to developing and applying the physiologic and functional MR imaging techniques used widely in research and clinical care to evaluate patients with stroke, brain tumors, dementia, and other mental illness.

    “For nearly 30 years, my research has focused on the development and application of physiological and functional nuclear magnetic resonance techniques to address basic biological and clinical questions,” Dr Rosen said.

    Equal parts researcher and mentor, Dr Rosen is committed to training and educating the students and fellows whose contributions to medical imaging will translate into the important clinical advances of tomorrow. Collaboration with young researchers is central to his role as director of the Martinos Center, a position he has held since 2002.

    “As director of the biomedical imaging center, I have the great pleasure of collaborating with, training and getting to know the work of young basic and clinical researchers and trainees,” Dr Rosen said. “I consider my activities as mentor and advisor a central part of my personal career objectives and my responsibilities as center director, and I relish the opportunity to interact with and learn along with our trainees.

    ” Dr Rosen’s career ascended quickly after he earned his MD degree from Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia, Pa, in 1982 and his PhD degree in medical physics from MIT in 1984. In 1987, he joined Harvard Medical School as a radiology instructor and served as director of the Radiological Sciences Division, Department of Nuclear Engineering at MIT from 1992 to 1999. In 1998, he became director of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Center at Massachusetts General Hospital—a position he still holds—and, in 1999, became a professor of radiology at Harvard. He has served as professor of health sciences and technology at MIT since 2007.

    The launch of his research career coincided with the development of functional MR imaging in the late 1990s and has progressed hand-in-hand with the technique that has come to dominate brain imaging research.

    His research in the development of functional MR imaging techniques includes measurement of the physiologic and metabolic changes associated with brain activation and cerebrovascular insult. His most recent work has focused on fusing functional MR imaging data with information from other modalities, including very-high-temporal-resolution signals by using magnetoencephalography and noninvasive optical imaging.

    By using functional MR imaging tools to evaluate the link between neuronal and physiologic events during periods of increased neuronal activity, his studies will allow researchers improve their ability to interpret functional MR imaging signal changes and develop new ways of probing brain function.

    He shared his early insight on functional MR imaging during his New Horizons Lecture, “Functional Imaging of the Brain in Space and Time,” at the 2002 Radiological Society of North America Scientifi c Assembly and Annual Meeting, where he discussed the potential for the technology to capture views of brain function in real time and in all populations—a concept that has since been realized.

    Dr Rosen is the author or coauthor of more than 125 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and reviews. He serves as associate editor of Human Brain Mapping and is a member of the editorial boards of several scientifi c journals. A regular contributor to Radiology, he coauthored the 2011 editorial, “Quantitative Markers for Neuropsychiatric Disease: Give It a Rest,” in which he analyzed the history, progress, and potential of functional MR imaging.

    “Although the use of functional MR imaging in presurgical planning is now well established and other applications, such as localization of a cortical disease like epileptogenic foci, are growing at a steady pace, realizing the broader promise of functional MR imaging as a diagnostic tool for diseases of cognitive function remains a work in progress,” Dr Rosen wrote in the Radiology editorial.

    Also a work in progress, his research career continues through such ongoing efforts as the Human Connectome Project, a collaborative, multi-institutional research initiative to construct a map of the human connectome, which represents the structural and functional connections in vivo within a brain and across individuals. He also serves as co–principal investigator for the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN), a national initiative to assist biomedical research through data sharing and online collaboration.

    For his achievements, Dr Rosen was awarded the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) gold medal in functional MR imaging in 1997. He was honored as a fellow of ISMRM in 1999 and of the American Institute for Biomedical Engineering in 2006. RSNA is pleased to add Outstanding Researcher to his list of accolades.