Doctor Named First Director of the National Institute of Biomedical
Imaging and Bioengineering
ATLANTA -- The
director of the Emory Center for MR Research, a radiologist who is consistently
listed among the "Best Doctors in America," has been named director
of the newest institute in the National Institutes of Health.
Roderic Pettigrew, MD, PhD,
professor in Emory School of Medicine's Departments of Radiology and
Medicine (cardiology), and in the Emory/Georgia Tech Coulter Department
of Biomedical Engineering, will be the first permanent director of the
NIH's National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).
His appointment comes following a long and detailed search by a blue
ribbon panel. He will begin work in late August or early September at
the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.
Established in December 2000
by an act of Congress, NIBIB's mission is to improve health by supporting
fundamental research in bioengineering and bioimaging science, and then
transferring the results to medical applications. NIBIB is one of 27
components of the NIH.
"I am delighted that Dr.
Pettigrew will be assuming the directorship of the NIH's newest institute,"
said Ruth L. Kirschtein, MD, acting director of the NIH. "The NIBIB
is the only institute at NIH dedicated to biomedical technologies, and
we believe that this new direction is truly a reflection of where science
is today, and where it will take us tomorrow. Dr. Pettigrew, a recognized
expert in the development and application of bioimaging techniques to
patient care, will provide dynamic leadership in our efforts to apply
the principles of engineering and imaging science to biological processes,
disorders, and diseases."
Dr. Pettigrew, an Albany,
Georgia native, has been at the forefront of research in cardiovascular
MR (magnetic resonance imaging) since the early 1980s, following his
receipt of a BS in physics from Morehouse College (cum laude and Phi
Beta Kappa), a PhD in applied radiation physics from MIT, and an MD
from the University of Miami. After serving as a clinical NMR scientist
at Picker International, he came to Emory in 1985 as a Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation Fellow to study noninvasive cardiac imaging. He has been
a leader in dynamic three-dimensional imaging of the heart, and also
served as co-developer of the first commercial software package for
cardiac MR analysis (the Phillips Cardiac Module). He's also one of
the Emory physicians consistently listed in the "Best Doctors in America,"
placing him in the top 4 percent of physicians in the nation.
An elected Fellow of the
American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, Dr.
Pettigrew was chosen to give the Eugene Pendergrass New Horizons Lecture
at the 75th annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America,
the largest medical meeting in the world, on "4 Dimensional Cardiac
MRI: Diagnostic Procedure of the Future."
For NIBIB, he said, "the
vision is clear. It's the merger of technology with biomedical science
to effect longer and healthier lives, and eliminate disease."
Dr. William Casarella, chairman
of the Department of Radiology, has been close to Dr. Pettigrew since
he came to Emory as a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow 17 years ago.
"Rod Pettigrew is the perfect
person to lead this new Institute," says Dr. Casarella. " He has a strong
medical background, understands diagnostic imaging, and has a strong
engineering background that began with his PhD program at MIT and has
continued over the years with his continued relationship with Georgia
Tech. In addition, he has been chair of the study section in diagnostic
imaging at the NIH for several years and understands the grant process,
where the field is and where it is going. So he understands the NIH,
he understands biomedical engineering, and he understands diagnostic
imaging. There aren't too many people who can do that. He's the perfect
combination of those three talents."
Dr. Casarella adds that Emory
will miss Dr. Pettigrew, although he will retain a faculty appointment
here. "We're very proud of him to have accomplished everything that
he has, and we are very proud that the NIH has recognized his talents,"
says Dr. Casarella. "They've gotten a very good person."