E. Mark Haacke is a pioneer of MR angiographic imaging, fast imaging, super-resolution image reconstruction, coronary artery imaging and Susceptibility Weighted Imaging (SWI). His research has focused on studying the role of magnetic field variations in the human body and applying the results to clinical translational research. MRA and SWI have both become powerful tools in the arsenal of MR methods. Super-resolution reconstruction may also prove an important concept in the more recent efforts of compressed sensing image reconstruction to allow for faster imaging. Dr. Haacke is also the author of Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Physical Principles and Sequence Design. He has trained more than 100 students, post-doctoral fellows, young faculty and researchers over the last 30 years. Despite the growth of MRI and its maturity, he remains as excited about its potential today as when he first started and refers to MRI as a field that is “SEMPER INCITARE” or “always exciting”.
Some of the key problems today in imaging relate to quantification.
Our interests lie in the use of susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI) to study neurovascular diseases such as dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and traumatic brain injury. SWI provides exquisite images of iron content in the form of deoxyhemoglobin, ferritin and microbleeds. However, it is not quantitative. Today a new approach that uses the phase from SWI data called quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) or susceptibility weighted imaging and mapping (SWIM) provides a practical way to quantify the iron content. Although SWI has been used successfully to image veins for nearly 20 years now, imaging arteries has not been possible because the arteries have a similar susceptibility to the surrounding tissue. However, by introducing an iron based contrast agent one could imagine effectively turning arteries into veins, thereby opening the door to unprecedented high resolution imaging of the arterial system.
We call this “Microvascular In-vivo Contrast Revealed Origins” of MICRO imaging for short. The ramifications would be a much better means to study the microvascular system and how its breakdown is inherent in different diseases. We also show that both SWI and MRA can be married into a single scan allowing for a more complete picture of the vasculature. Finally, marrying perfusion weighted imaging with SWI and SWIM allows for a full study of the brain’s hemodynamics. Methods like SWI which require high resolution in many cases are ideal candidates for applications to fast imaging methods such as data extrapolation, super-resolution and compressed sensing.