ASRT Foundation selects award recipients for international collaborative research grant

UK co-investigator joins US-based researcher for MRI study

Published: 09 November 2020 Researchers

Brian Johnson, PhD, RT(MR)(N), CNMT, and Christine Heales, PhD DCR(R), MSc (Medical Imaging), PgC (MRI), PgC (Academic Practice), PgC (MRI Reporting), have been selected as recipients of the ASRT Foundation’s International Collaborative Clinical Research Grant.

The ASRT Foundation is part of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. This first award pairs a US-based researcher with an international co-investigator to research the ability of a lesser known magnetic resonance imaging technique, intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) to assess multiple sclerosis lesions without the use of gadolinium-based contrast agents.

The study could benefit the multiple sclerosis community as MS patients require multiple follow-up scans. In addition, the procedure under investigation could result in increased patient safety. IVIM is a technique that can be acquired on most current clinical MRI scanners, enhancing the ability for clinical adoption.

Dr Johnson is a magnetic resonance national clinical service specialist at Philips, co-creator of ImagingU, an online MRI education resource, and a research associate at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

He received his undergraduate degree in radiologic sciences from Thomas Jefferson University and earned a doctorate in kinesiology with a concurrent master of science in bioengineering from Pennsylvania State University. Dr Johnson has more than 15 years of combined clinical and research experience utilizing advanced MR applications and ultra-high field MRI systems.

Dr Heales, an SoR member, specialises in MR at the University of Exeter, a public research university in Exeter, Devon, South West England. In addition to teaching and supporting research within the Exeter medical imaging programme, Dr Heales is a reviewer for the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) international journal ‘Radiography’, an approval and accreditation assessor for the College of Radiographers, as well as an external examiner in postgraduate CT and MRI for City University of London. She has a PhD in physics from the University of Exeter.

SCoR Director of Professional Policy Charlotte Beardmore said: ‘It’s excellent for the Society and College of Radiographers to be invited to collaborate with the ASRT on their first International Clinical Collaborative Research Grant  - this was a competitive process with researchers from the UK applying to partner a US researcher.

'We are really pleased that the grant application from SoR member Dr Christine Heales was selected and we look forward to hearing more about the collaboration and importantly the research outcomes when complete. The SCoR would like to thank the ASRT for their invitation and this important collaboration in this specific area of research.'

The ASRT Foundation’sInternational Collaborative Clinical Research Grant supports medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals aspiring to partner with an international colleague to conduct a clinically focused scientific research project in radiologic technology. 

Anticipated total grant funds for the US and UK researchers will not exceed $50,000. An initiative spearheaded by former ASRT President Melissa Jackowski, EdD, RT(R)(M), FASRT, the three-year programme is designed to foster international collaboration in the medical imaging and radiation therapy research communities.