Faculty Profiles

Ciprian, Ionita
Ionita, Ciprian, PhDAssistant Professor
Email: cnionita@buffalo.edu
Phone: (716) 400-4283

Specialty/Research Focus:
Cardiovascular Disease; Diagnostic Radiology; Neuroradiology - Radiology; Radiological Physics; Vascular and Interventional Radiology; Vision science

Research Summary:
I am an Assistant Professor with a dual appointment in the Biomedical Engineering Department and Neurosurgery. I am the director of the Endovascular Devices and Imaging lab at Canon (former Toshiba) Stroke and Vascular Research Center. My research career focuses on improvement of endovascular image guided interventions and encompasses three major components: medical imaging, computer programming and endovascular device development. The greatest breakthrough of my team in the last three years is the development of complex 3D printed (3DP) vascular patient specific phantoms based on 3D imaging. Using my previous experience in developing CT reconstruction algorithms and 3D data analysis, this step came naturally. We are using these phantoms to test devices and validate software such as CT-FRR, parametric imaging and material decomposition using spectral CT. The 3DP phantoms we develop are probably some of the most complex reported in literature. We created new tools for 3D mesh manipulation and workflow to build complex vascular trees, which maintain vessel down to 400 microns diameter. My team collaborates directly with 3D printing industry and engineers in academy, to optimize the 3DP materials and match tissue mechanical properties. As center of excellence for 3D printing, we contribute to identification of new clinical applications for the 3DP technology, 3DP material development, and testing, and software development. One of the challenges my team is tackling, is the 3D printing material and 3D design optimization to build structures with controlled mechanical properties. In the last two years, my research focused on how to use the 3D printing technology to create digital structures which can simulate mechanical properties of vascular tissue, vascular networks and arterial disease. My effort is directed toward developing methods to warp 3D structures and embed them within the arterial wall. The embedded structures could be printed with different materials to different mechanical properties. This approach will allow optimization of phantom physical properties which match those of the arteries. Thus, by combining the 3D design with the new polymers used for the 3D printing while maintaining the patient specific geometry, I plan to develop a vascular model which will behave and react identical as a human vessel, both healthy and diseased. On a secondary effort on 3DP, my team is involved in developing implantable devices; we are collaborating with metal printing industries in testing methods to develop 3DP patient specific devices. We are able to reproduce coronary stents, which match the physical size/geometry of those used in current practice. However, mechanical and corrosion aspects need more investigations. In this context, I believe that additive manufacturing can be another path towards personalized medicine, by allowing manufacturing of patient specific devices rather than one size fits all kind of approach used by current device manufacturers. Concerning my involvement in the scientific community, in the last two years, I became deeply involved with the effort to implement the new advances of 3D printing into a clinical setting. I have given presentations and symposiums at conferences such as RSNA where I emphasized the new additive manufacturing advances and the close relation with the 3D medical imaging. The new digital material technologies, the improved resolution and fast building time make this technology practical for the high pace workflow in the hospitals. As of now I am involved with Special Interest Group from RSNA for standardization of 3DP printing operations in hospitals and development of a DICOM standard associated with the workflow and manufacturing of 3D printed medical objects.

Kenneth, Pearsen
Pearsen, Kenneth, MDProfessor and Chair
Email: kpearsen@buffalo.edu
Phone: (716) 836-4646

Specialty/Research Focus:
Neuroradiology - Radiology; Vascular and Interventional Radiology

Research Summary:
Department chair Kenneth Pearsen, MD, is a seasoned hospital-based radiologist and educator. He has lived and worked in Western New York for the past 25 years. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He did his medical residency in diagnostic radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he also completed a fellowship in neuroradiology and is board-certified by the American Board of Radiology and the American Board of Neuroradiology, with added qualifications in vascular and interventional radiology and neuroradiology. In addition, he is president of the UBMD Radiology practice plan, co-founder and former president and chief executive officer of Great Lakes Medical Imaging (GLMI), serves as radiology chief of service for Kaleida Health and chief of radiology at Buffalo General Medical Center. Before founding GLMI, he was president of Ide Radiology Group in Rochester, where he also was clinical assistant professor of radiology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and chief of radiology at Highland Hospital.

Stephen, Rudin
Rudin, Stephen, PhD, FAAPM, DABR, CHPSUNY Distinguished Professor; Director, Division of Radiation Physics
Email: srudin@buffalo.edu
Phone: (716) 829-5408

Specialty/Research Focus:
Diagnostic Radiology; Neurological Surgery; Neuroradiology - Diagnostic Radiology; Neuroradiology - Radiology; Pediatric Radiology - Radiological Physics; Radiological Physics; Radiology; Vascular and Interventional Radiology

Research Summary:
A SUNY Distinguished Professor & member of the UB faculty for more than 30 years, Dr. Rudin is a world-renowned expert in the field of medical physics. The quintessential interdisciplinary research scientist, Dr. Rudin is an international force in the development of a host of cutting-edge technology & methodology in the area of medical diagnostic & interventional imaging. He has won multiple awards for scientific excellence as well as awards for excellence in design, and is particularly well-known for his work in developing a high resolution x-ray imaging detectors, dose reduction methods, and endovascular devices such as asymmetric stents, work with major theoretical and clinical implications for medical physics, biomedical engineering, and diagnostic radiology, as well as an immediate impact upon patient diagnosis and care, particularly in case of brain and heart treatment. The caliber, significance, and innovation of his research are demonstrated by the numerous grants he has received from the NIH.

Ferdinand, Schweser
Schweser, Ferdinand, PhDAssistant Professor of Neurology and Biomedical Engineering, Technical Director of MRI
Email: schweser@buffalo.edu
Phone: (716) 888-4718

Specialty/Research Focus:
Multiple Sclerosis; Neurodegenerative disorders; Neuroimaging; Neurology; Neuroradiology - Radiology; Parkinson's; Radiological Physics; Radiology; Bioinformatics

Research Summary:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a unique technique for studying the human body since it is non-invasive, does not require ionizing radiation and offers a multiplicity of complementary tissue contrasts. My research seeks to explore the potential of MRI for clinical and pre-clinical imaging and to provide new and improved MRI technology. The goal of this endeavor is twofold: 1.) to contribute deeper insight into the etiology, pathogenesis and potential treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, and 2.) to give clinicians the ability to diagnose diseases earlier and monitor them more accurately. I am currently focusing on understanding MRI contrast mechanisms as well as on developing innovative imaging and reconstruction techniques that improve the sensitivity and specificity of MRI with respect to biophysical properties of brain tissue. Advancements in this field promise to have a substantial impact on our understanding of biophysical and morphological tissue alterations associated with neurological diseases and their treatment. We recently pioneered quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM), a breakthrough in quantitative MRI. This technique allows for unique assessment of endogenous and exogenous magnetic particles in the human brain such as iron, calcium, myelin or contrast agents. The concept of QSM is fundamentally different from conventional MRI techniques as it involves solving for all imaging voxels simultaneously in large physically motivated equations, a so-called inverse problem. At the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC), we use QSM to explore whether brain iron may serve as an early biomarker for diseases of the central nervous system such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Other interesting applications of this technique we are investigating include differentiation between hemorrhages and calcifications, detection of demyelination and quantification of tissue oxygenation. I am fascinated by the synergies from combining physical expertise with high-level mathematical, numerical and engineering concepts to advance our understanding of the human brain. Consequently, my research activities are generally interdisciplinary and involve collaboration with clinicians, physicists, computer scientists, technicians and engineers. Student projects typically focus either on the application of techniques or on technical developments. Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral candidates from a variety of disciplines such as neuroscience, physics and mathematics work collaboratively in my lab.

Robert, Zivadinov
Zivadinov, Robert, MD, PhDProfessor of Neurology; Director, Translational Imaging Center at Clinical Translational Research Center; Director, Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center
Email: rz4@buffalo.edu
Phone: (716) 859-7040

Specialty/Research Focus:
Neurology; Neuroradiology - Radiology; Vascular and Interventional Radiology; Parkinson's; Multiple Sclerosis; Alzheimer Disease / Memory Disorders; Developmental Neurology; General Neurology; Neurodegenerative disorders; Neuroimaging

Research Summary:
I direct the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC) and have established the center as a world leader in performing quantitative MRI analysis in neurodegenerative disorders. I also direct the Translational Imaging Center at UB’s Clinical Translational Research Center (CTRC). I strive to extend the boundaries of current knowledge about neurological diseases and disorders through innovative imaging research techniques and the application of bioinformatics resources. My efforts are directed toward advancing technical, basic and translational research at UB which will, in turn, advance patient care. I have secured more than $30 million in research grants for collaborative research projects involving UB investigators as well as national and international collaborators. My research interests include structural and functional quantitative MRI analysis for humans and animals, including lesion/tumor identification and segmentation; perfusion and dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) mapping and quantification; fluid flow quantification; functional MRI analysis; diffusion tensor reconstruction and tractography; voxel-wise mapping and image-based group statistical analysis; longitudinal change analysis and tissue/pathology/structure volumetry. I study the application of these techniques in healthy individuals and in patients with various disease states such as multiple sclerosis (MS), stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, systemic lupus erythematosus and traumatic brain injury. I also concentrate on therapeutic interventions, including therapy directed toward assessing neuroprotective efforts in neurodegenerative disorders as well as the venous function, genetic and neuroepidemiology fields of these diseases. I direct the neurology resident research program. Over a period of two years, I guide third- and fourth-year medical residents through a rigorous assigned scientific research project that is a critical, required part of their training. In addition, I mentor and supervise undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students and MRI fellows. In this role, I help to educate these trainees on clinical MRI use as well as neuroimaging analysis. I also oversee students and fellows conducting research in neurological disorders. One of the most rewarding experiences in my career is helping young physicians and researchers start successful clinical or research careers.