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Faculty Profiles

David, Hojnacki
Hojnacki, David, MDAssistant Professor of Neurology
Email: hojnacki@buffalo.edu
Phone: (716) 859-7511

Specialty/Research Focus:
Neurology; Multiple Sclerosis; Neuroimaging

Research Summary:
After completing my Neurology residency at the University at Buffalo, I received the National Multiple Sclerosis fellowship in 2006 and trained at the Jacobs Neurological Institute, Baird MS Center. In 2007, I began fellowship training in Diagnostic Neuroimaging with William Kinkel, MD FAAN one of the founding members of the American Society of Neuroimaging. In 2008, I joined the University at Buffalo, Department of Neurology as an Assistant Professor of Neurology. I am board certified in Neurology with fellowship training in both Multiple Sclerosis/Neuroimmunology and Diagnostic Neuroimaging. In outpatient clinical practice, I evaluate for and treat conditions in neuroimmunology such as Multiple Sclerosis, Neuromyelitis optica (Devic’s Disease), Neurosarcoiodosis and Central Nervous System vasculitis. In addition to this, I provide diagnostic reports of brain and spine MRI’s for the Department of Neurology in the evaluation of all neurologic diseases. While on hospital service, I diagnose and treat all neurologic conditions as well as provide teaching to the neurology residents and medical students in training. My research interests include Multiple Sclerosis, its etiology and treatment, diagnostic neuroimaging and neuroimaging analysis as well as stem cell research. I am currently the site principal investigator for two emerging therapies in multiple sclerosis: Anti-LINGO, the first potential drug for remyelination of damaged nervous system tissue and daclizumab a once a month subcutaneous injection for multiple sclerosis. I also participate in numerous studies of all aspects of Multiple Sclerosis. In neuroimaging, I am involved in the development of advanced MRI techniques for many neurological conditions both for diagnosis and monitoring of disease progression.

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.