Scan Times

Weblog of the Department of Radiology

December 2009

Radiology Rays Sweep the 2009 Division C Softball League Championship!


Created in 2006 and coached by Fred Chin, PhD, head of Cyclotron Radiochemistry, the Radiology Rays have just completed their fourth year of competing in the Stanford University Medical Center (SUMC) Softball League, which is comprised of about 25 teams. Over their past four seasons, the Radiology Rays have had more than 55 different players participate on their team, primarily from the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS) and the Radiological Sciences Laboratory (RSL). They have come a long way since their first season in 2006 when they finished . . .

Fred Chin, PhD, presents the Division C League Trophy to Stanford Radiology Chair, Dr. Glazer, at this year's MIPS/RSL/ISIS Annual Retreat.

24th out of 25 teams with a total of 30 runs, 1 win, and 7 losses. In 2007, the Radiology Rays improved, finishing 17th out of 24 teams with a total of 74 runs, 3 wins, and 5 losses. This past season, the Radiology Rays won their division, finishing the 2009 season as the Stanford University Medical Center Division C League champions after defeating their opponents, the “Traumatizers,” 21 to 17. In the postseason playoffs, they lost to the Division B Champions, who went on to play the Division A Champions in the overall SUMC Championship. At the conclusion of their season, Coach Fred Chin presented most valuable player awards to Kristin Granlund, graduate student in electrical engineering and radiology, and Tom Brosnan, PhD, research scientist.

Since 2006, the Radiology Rays have been supported by Gary M. Glazer, MD, Emma Pfeiffer Merner Professor in the Medical Sciences and chair of the Department of Radiology, and Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Radiology and Bioengineering; chief of the Nuclear Medicine Division; director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS); and head of the new Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection. The Radiology Rays are looking forward to the start of their fifth season in 2010, which will tentatively begin after Memorial Weekend next year. They welcome all players with varying levels of softball/baseball experience. Many of the current players had no experience with softball when they began playing, but ended up loving the sport! For a listing of present and past members of the Radiology Rays, please click here: Rays _Past Present Members.pdf. Please contact Fred Chin at if you are interested in playing next season.

For prior blog articles on the Radiology Rays, please access “Radiology Rays’ Second Season” and “Radiology Rays Take a Swing at Their Second Softball Season."

Stanford 3D Lab Emerges as Imaging Leader

The Stanford Radiology 3D Laboratory is featured in the December 9, 2009 RSNA News (vol. 19; no. 12) article, “Stanford Lab Emerges as 3D Imaging Leader,” which describes how the lab has “established itself as an international epicenter for developing and teaching the 3D image postprocessing techniques that are becoming increasingly critical to clinicians and researchers worldwide.” Since its inception in 1996, the Lab was among the “first to develop advanced visualization for CT colonoscopy as well as vascular visualization techniques.” A few of the many innovations produced by the 3D lab include several computer-aided detection (CAD) techniques for procedures, such as CT colonoscopy and lung nodule detection, as well as improvements in postprocessing speed. Clinically, the Lab processes almost 1,000 cases every month, improving patient care locally and setting an example globally. This level of productivity is the main reason for the Lab's recognition, and is made possible by Laura Pierce, the world's best and most experienced lab manager, and her incredible staff of technologists (Keshni Kumar, Will Johnsen, Linda Novello, Marc Sofilos, Shannon Walters, and Nancy Ware) and support personnel (Debra Frank, Kala Raman, and Keesha Winston).

To read the full article, please access

Awards and Honors: December 18, 2009

WangDavid_120.jpgDavid Wang, MD, fourth-year radiology resident, has won two awards: a Radiological Sciences of North America (RSNA) Travel Award for Young Investigators in Molecular Imaging and a World Molecular Imaging Conference Travel Stipend. David received these awards for his research on gene therapy using ultrasound and custom-made microbubbles, which serve as carrier vehicles for therapeutic delivery. He pursued this work in the laboratories of Drs. Juergen Willmann and Sanjiv Gambhir during a five-month sabbatical from his clinical training under the residency program's newly established research track. David's project was supported by a RSNA Research & Education Foundation/Toshiba America Medical Systems Research Resident Grant awarded to him last year.

Prior to residency, David received his medical degree from Stanford and was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow. As a medical student, he was the lead founder and first manager of Pacific Free Clinic, a volunteer-run health clinic that offers basic healthcare services to low-income immigrants in San Jose. The Clinic is currently in its sixth year of operation and has served thousands of patients. After residency, David plans to pursue a career in academic radiology.

For his prior blog posting, please access "Awards and Honors: June 12, 2008."

Pain Research by Drs. Sean Mackey, Chris deCharms, Gary Glover, and Colleagues Featured in Nature

In 2005, Dr. Mackey and colleagues demonstrated that people could be taught to manipulate the fMRI signal in brain regions that subserve pain perception, ultimately controlling their pain through feedback fMRI. In patients with chronic pain, an average reduction of 64% in pain levels was shown. Dr. Glover's contribution to this important study was the development of real-time image acquisition software. Results were published in an article entitled “Control Over Brain Activation and Pain Learned by Using Real-Time Functional MRI" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS) (2005 102:18626-18631; published online before print December 13, 2005, doi:10.1073/pnas.0505210102). Other Stanford colleagues included Fumiko Maeda, David Ludlow, John M. Pauly, Deepak Soneji, and John D. E. Gabrieli.

Their research was recently featured in an article by Erik Vance entitled "Neuroscience: Shooting Pain" published in Nature (461, 1194-1196 (28 October 2009) doi:10.1038/4611194a) regarding various attempts to commercialize the fMRI feedback they developed through their research. In the article, Dr. Glover expresses cautious optimism about the use of fMRI for pain therapy. To read the full article, please access

New Faculty Hires and Promotions: December 7, 2009

Levin_100.jpgCraig Levin, PhD, has been promoted to professor of radiology. Currently, he leads the Molecular Imaging Instrumentation Laboratory (MIIL) where his lab's main research interests are to advance instrumentation and signal processing algorithms for noninvasive imaging of basic cellular and molecular processes associated with disease. The new "cameras" developed by his lab image photon emissions from molecular contrast agents or "probes" designed to target specific cellular and molecular processes associated with disease in cells located deep within the tissues of living subjects. The technical goals of the instrumentation projects are to advance the photon detection efficiency as well as spatial, energy, and temporal resolutions. The algorithmic goals are to understand the physical system comprising the subject tissues, photon transport, and camera, and to realize the best available reconstructed image quality and quantitative accuracy. The work involves the design, development, and testing of novel position-sensitive photon sensors and systems; low-noise readout electronics; data acquisition electronics; computer modeling; computer graphics; tomographic image reconstruction algorithms; signal/image processing algorithms; and data/image analysis. Key goals of their research include . . .

incorporating these innovations into practical imaging devices and introducing these new in vivo imaging tools into the clinic as well as into preclinical research to advance studies of novel probes and molecular mechanisms of disease to aid the discovery and monitoring of novel treatments. If successful, these innovative tools will substantially enhance the visualization and quantification of subtle molecular signatures associated with disease, enabling molecular imaging to play an earlier role in disease management.

This work has been supported by grants from the NIH National Cancer Institute, NIH National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, California Breast Cancer Research Program, the Whitaker Foundation, GE Healthcare, and Philips Healthcare. Student and postdoctoral fellowships have been supported by the Stanford Bio-X Program, School of Medicine Dean’s Fellowship Program, Society of Nuclear Medicine, Belgian-American Education Foundation, AXA Foundation, and the Department of Defense. Since May of 2004 (when Dr. Levin arrived at Stanford) through December 2008, his research program has generated over 70 research articles in some of the premier journals of the field of imaging system technology advancement. Between May 2004 and December 2008, he and his lab have also delivered over 100 scientific conference presentations and 70 invited talks; garnered more than $8 million in research grants and $1 million in fellowship funds; and completed 16 patent applications. Since beginning at Stanford Radiology in 2004, Dr. Levin has also trained over 48 young scientists, including postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students.

Awards and Honors: December 7, 2009

Norbert-Pelc_25.jpgNorbert Pelc, ScD, professor of radiology and bioengineering, has been elected to the position of Third Vice President of the Radiological Society of North America.

For his prior blog posting, please see "Awards and Honors: March 26, 2008."

Our SHC Diagnostic Radiology Team

SHC Diag Rad Group 001_350.jpg
Bottom row: Avi, Cesar, Desiree, and Javier
Back Row: Isaias, Erica, Bonnie, Raenee, Gordon, Carol, Jeff, Christoph, and Edmond
(Avi, Cesar, Isaias, and Bonnie are second-year students from Foothill Community College.)

By Julie Ruiz, PhD

One of the oldest radiology sections at Stanford Hospital and Clinics (SHC), Diagnostic Radiology has grown to over 60 staff members who work in a wide variety of areas at SHC, including the Emergency Room; the Operating Room; the Gastrointestinal Unit; the Stanford Cancer Center; the new Endoscopy Suite; Vaden Student Health Center; Blake Wilbur; and the Arrillaga Sports Center.

Our Section is constantly growing and changing as technologists train in Diagnostic Radiology and transfer to other SHC areas such as CT, MRI, and the cath lab. Two years ago, the Section experienced tremendous growth when the Hospital Administration approved an increase in staffing, which allowed Diagnostic Radiology Supervisor Janis Troeger RT (R)(M)(MR) to hire 23 new staff members. Many of the technologists . . .

Ms. Troeger hires are new graduates from areas around the globe such as Australia, Europe, and South America.

To ensure the continual education of our Diagnostic Radiology team, we are developing a program, in conjunction with the clinical instructors, to provide continuing education credits to staff and to members of the surrounding community. Our free program will help technologists fulfill their requirement of completing 24 educational credits every 2 years. We also provide our technologists with motivational feedback to help advance their careers. In our Section, employees write compliments to each other on a regular basis on a “WOW” card, which is posted publicly; “WOW” comments are also written in the employee’s record. This is a great way to acknowledge each other’s hard work. Sometimes, these complimentary cards are completed by patients as well. Employees receiving a “WOW” card not only receive public recognition, but they are also given a free coffee card.

There is no typical day in the world of diagnostic radiology. Patients walk in to the Section unscheduled for their exams so things change very quickly from one minute to the next. Technologists must be very flexible and adaptive, because they rotate through all radiologic areas at SHC. Consequently, they must have an in-depth knowledge of how to set-up and operate the different modalities and protocols as well as establish the examination positioning for patients. In preparation, technologists must go through a minimum of two years at an X-ray school approved by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), and they must have a minimum of two licenses (state certification in X-ray and fluoroscopy). Most of our technologists have three to six licenses and complete two to three months of training once hired at SHC.

One of the most challenging aspects of working in Diagnostic Radiology is the physicality of the work, which involves lifting patients and carrying and manipulating equipment. However, this high level of patient interaction is also one of the most rewarding aspects. One of the first people a trauma patient will see is a technologist from Diagnostic Radiology. Most of these patients are experiencing a lot of pain, so they are challenging to X-ray. We get a high degree of satisfaction by making the exam as comfortable for them as possible. Because SHC is a research hospital, we also receive a higher volume of the most complicated surgical and pathological cases. This adds to the challenge and rewards of working in our Section while making Stanford Hospital and Clinics a really interesting place to work.

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