2019.02.08 - Yudai Suzuki presents at Society of Cardiovascular MR (SCMR) his research as SCMR Scholarship winner

Yudai Suzuki BS, an exchange student (IIT-BME summer 2018) from Gifu University, presented his work on a creative application of deep neural network algorithms in absence of high-quality training datasets.

Yudai was selected as a recipient of a $500 scholarship award. His work was presented at the Quick Fire Session (Basic Sciences).

2019.02.01 MRTD receives a 5-year $830,000 NIH Award

Professor Kawaji has received the NIH K25 award, a five-year $830,000 quantitative mentored research grant in the technical development and clinical translation of a potentially important biomarker to measure the amount of oxygen utility in the heart. The NIH K25 is a mechanism that allows faculties such as Dr. Kawaji to develop specific expertise while working with senior faculty colleagues. For the NIH K25, Drs. Tim Carroll PhD (UofC Radiology), Amit Patel MD (UofC Medicine - Cardiology), and Konstantinos Arfanakis (IIT BME) will serve as senior mentors.

Dr. Kawaji’s K25 committee additionally consists of: Drs. John Georgiadis PhD (IIT BME Chair), Roberto Lang MD (UofC Medicine - Cardiology), Takeyoshi Ota MD PhD (UofC Surgery - Cardiothoracic Surgery), John Blair MD (UofC Medicine - Cardiology), and Ajit Devaraj PhD (Philips, Senior Scientist).

2018.12.01 MRTD Lab team awarded AHA AIREA Grant

Professors Marcella Vaicik and Keigo Kawaji have received a two-year, $150,000 award from the American Heart Association (AIREA) for running a research and education program to develop future biomedical engineers in the discovery and validation of novel tissue biomarkers for diseases in the heart and the brain.

Through this award, the IIT-BME team will initiate the AHA Challenges - a one-year program for both undergraduate and graduate students to pursue research and develop technical skills in tissue model design, validation, and novel imaging technology development.

2018.08.18 MRTD Lab Updated! (Version 1.01) 

Our website has been updated!  Now we are at Version 1.01 (rev date 2018.08.18), with new lab members, summer research, and more!  

MRTD (re-) welcomes the following students into the group:

May 2018
Clinical Summer Immersion ENGR 499/599.
- Nanyque Sirkis (also continuing in 4+1 graduate program)
- Sze Lam Or (Primary Advisor: Dr. Kawaji)
- Eric Cunningham (Primary Advisor: Dr. Vaicik)
- Amreen Nasreen (Co-Advised by Drs. Kawaji and Vaicik)

Academic Writing Workshop (Faculty Innovation Grant with BMES+SWE)
- Akila Goel (Academic Writing Workshop Program Coordinator)

June 2018
Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)
- Asma Shuaibi (REU '18; from IIT-BME)
- Sarah Schroeder (REU '18; from Washington State University)
- Karolena Lein (REU '18; from Arizona State University)
- Madison Moucka (REU '18; from Texas A&M University)

Visiting Exchange
- Yudai Suzuki BS (Visiting Exchange; from Gifu University, Japan)

August 2018
Graduate Program
- Jacob Goes (MS-PhD Program; from Northern Illinois University)
- Austeja Staneviciute (returning from Summer Internship; Vaicik Lab Member)

Undergraduate Program
- Mark Dhom



2018.02.17 - Dr. K's Biomedical Engineering Department Seminar Presentation (Feb 23rd)

I am excited to give the BME department seminar series presentation on Friday February 23rd.  The title of my presentation is: "Discover your story – Episodes that Shape You in becoming a Biomedical Engineer"

With the primary objective of helping the primary BME student audience discover their moments that shape their conviction in becoming a biomedical engineer, I have decided to offer my own.  Here is a sneak preview of select presentation slides that I've prepared to emphasize the importance of mentorship in shaping who you are.


feb 23 workshop preview 1.JPG
feb 23 workshop preview 2.JPG

2018.02.10 - Announcing several Career Development Workshop Events (SASE and BMES)

Announcing several Professional Development Workshops here:

First, on Tuesday, February 13th 12:50 - 1:40pm in Perlstein Hall Auditorium, IIT's SASE Chapter is organizing the "How to Successfully get an Internship 101" workshop.  

Second, on Wednesday February 14th 12:50 - 1:40pm, IIT's BMES Chapter is organizing the "Career Development Workshop" on resume preparation.  


2018.02.06 - LaunchX Chicago Event on March 3rd

Dr. K is sharing the news that the LaunchX program is holding a regional Chicago event on March 3rd.  If any undergraduate or graduate student may be available on this date to check out this event in Downtown Chicago, I would highly recommend this!  


From the website description:

"LaunchX Clubs Midwest Regional Demo Day is an event hosted by teen entrepreneurs, for teen entrepreneurs. 

Demo Day is a event to celebrate the progress of high school startup founders, while providing these entrepreneurs with support to continue to grow their businesses. Students in the LaunchX Clubs program have  been building their companies since September, conducting market research, prototyping, seeking feedback, iterating, selling, and building their business operations. Demo Day is an opportunity for these innovative, out-of-the-box thinkers to come together from across the midwest to showcase their progress and build connections with like-minded entrepreneurs. We are excited to welcome teams from around the region who will present their ventures within our year's theme of environmental sustainability to a group of experienced professionals from the local business and entrepreneurship ecosystem. "


2018.02.01 - BMES IIT Chapter event on Academic Writing Bootcamp

It was nice meeting this year's BMES officers for the IIT chapter and the student members, and Dr. K thanks both the BMES organizers and the student members here for the opportunity to say hello and offer a short presentation on my research interestes.  

I am excited that many students had found some interest in my academic area of research.

I hope to next make a preliminary announcement regarding the upcoming Academic Writing Bootcamp (Date and Time TBA), expected within the next two weeks by February 14th.  


2018.01.31 - MRTD Lab Welcomes two new ARC PURE & MIND students!

Congratulations to Asma Shuaibi (BME `2020) and Neal (Nilkanth) Patel (BME `2018), who were respectively awarded the PURE (research) and MIND (design) awards from the Armour College of Engineering. They will spend the Spring 2018 semester working on their 10-week research and design projects.

Asma's PURE research project, entitled: "New Heart Tissue Biomarker Validation with Magnetic Resonance Imaging", will provide specific opportunities to gain initial research exposure to fundamental research methods, academic writing, and application of learned BME principles to conduct scientific experiments.  Her initial research focus will be on regional tissue measurement reproducibility, an important topic agreed by leading imaging experts as a priority task that warrants extensive validation.

Neal's MIND design project, entitled: "Extending Clinical Heart Tissue Scoring by Magnetic Resonance Imaging" will offer a BME software design experience that will eventually be used in the clinical hospital setting.  His project requires: learning concepts such as protected health information and anonymized data, how to handle imaging data, and developing a simple but robust software for physicians to better utilize and assess specific analysis features that has only been introduced on the newest of MRI scanner software system from the vendor Philips.

Again, congratulations to both Asma and Neal, and welcome to the MRTD Lab!


2018.01.23 - Lab receives $5000 NIH-NCATS CTSA Core Subsidy Award

We have just received a one-year CTSA Core Subsidy award for the project entitled: 

"Towards Deep Neural-Net Analysis of Clinical Cardiac MR Database" 

This award will help establish an initial 400-500 subject Cardiac MRI Database that consists of anonymized research MRI datasets that will allow our MRTD research team and collaborators to conduct emerging research studies that involve new analysis methods using Neural Networks.  


2017.12.21 - A new beginning next year

The old MRTD Lab at the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) is moving to the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)!

On January 1, 2018, the MRTD laboratory will complete its affiliation move from the UCMC to IIT’s Biomedical Engineering Department. As a BME laboratory that focuses in novel biomedical instrumentation on the MRI system, MRTD is transitioning its primary mission from its multi-Principal-Investigator clinical sciences support at the University of Chicago, to the development of human capita of the next generations of biomedical engineers at IIT who will serve key societal roles in bridging engineering and medicine.

Accordingly, the MRTD lab - while preserving its acronym - will be re-branded as the Magnetic Resonance Technology Discovery Lab upon its inception at IIT. 

Brief Timeline of the MRTD Laboratory (2014-2017) at UCMC

Following a ten-month period (Jan – Oct 2014) during which an engineering research infrastructure for MR technology development research was established in the Department of Medicine at UCMC; the MRTD, or Magnetic Resonance Technology Development Lab, was formally conceived in October of 2014 as an independent research entity with a $40,000 pilot research award from the Institute of Translational Medicine.

MRTD was one of the first staff-scientist led research laboratories within the University of Chicago (UofC)'s Biological Sciences Division, which followed the non-traditional laboratory model in “accomplishing large, creative and ambitious projects, including inventing the means to do so.” (From Article: Biology needs more staff scientists. Steven Hyman. Published in Nature, 16 May 2017). MRTD first served as a technical research wing of the Cardiac MRI program in the Cardiac Imaging Center at UofC, and gained grounds into key collaborations with UofC’s Neuro MRI program as its foundational engineering research infrastructure became an essential component for investigators who need new technology development on the MRI at the UCMC. 

There are a few notable contributions from the MRTD lab outside of the regular research space; these include: a) becoming one of the first Globus users for providing publicly available data, and b) successful participation in the innovation corps (i-Corps) program as MRTD, and c) establishing key industry collaborations towards building novel MRI systems technologies.