School of Medicine
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Physical Science Research Scientist, Rad/Radiological Sciences Laboratory
BioApproximately $635B is annually spent in managing nearly 40 million chronic pain patients in the U.S., but treatments are only effective 30% of the time. This unsuccessful pain-relief outcome is in part due to our inability to pinpoint peripheral pain generators. For example, structural abnormalities detected by conventional MRI or CT are often unrelated to pain, leading to unnecessary treatments and poor outcomes at a high medical expense. My current research aims to develop accurate imaging markers of musculoskeletal pain generators to provide reliable evidence for perioperative pain management. My current research projects include 1) the adoption of PET to track molecular processes directly associated with pain generation such as hypermetabolic inflammation or upregulated pain-signaling, 2) the development of high-resolution 3D quantitative MRI to visualize and characterize the myelin and axonal damage of peripheral nerves, and 3) the implementation of advanced MRI techniques to correct artifacts near metallic joint implants for facilitating the early detection of painful post-surgical complications.