Dr. Shim Named Crocker Family Chair in Cancer Innovation

Dr. Hyunsuk Shim, a Principal Investigator of the Brain Imaging Group, was named as the inaugural holder of the Crocker Family Chair in Cancer Innovation in the Department of Radiation Oncology. The Crocker Family Chair is named after a gift from Dr. Ian Crocker, a recently retired radiation oncologist and innovator at Emory University. His family’s contribution will continue to support the pioneering research that Dr. Shim and her colleagues do to improve outcomes for patients with glioblastoma.


The full Winship Cancer Institute press release can be viewed here.


Congratulations Dr. Shim!

Dr. Shim (second from left) received the endowed chair at a ceremony attended by the donors, the Crocker Family, and several others from the Emory administration. From left to right: Dr. Walter Curran, Director of Winship; Dr. Hyunsuk Shim; Dr. Vikas Sukhatme, Dean of the Emory School of Medicine; Mrs. and Dr. Ian Crocker; and Dr. Jon Lewin, CEO of Emory Healthcare.
From left to right: Scott Cordova, Dr. Jon Lewin, Dr. Hyunsuk Shim, Saumya Gurbani, Dr. Lee Cooper.


Showing off magnetism at the Atlanta Science Festival

On Saturday, March 26th, members and friends of the Brain Imaging Group taught hundreds of excited young scientists about the science behind magnetism and MRI! Our booth was one of several from Emory University and was entitled “What’s in your noggin? Using MRI to look at your brain.” It was a fantastic opportunity to reach out to this next generation of explorers, from youngsters in preschool through scholars in college. The Atlanta Science Festival is in its third year and featured over 100 exhibits from universities, high schools, and private corporations. We were delighted to be a part of this, and look forward to continuing to spread science in the years to come!

For more information, please contact Saumya Gurbani.

Willie Shim and Aditya Gurbani, friends of the lab, help prep the booth!
Willie Shim and Adi Gurbani, friends of the lab, help prep the booth!
Visiting graduate student Theresa Osl was excited to be talking about fluorescence imaging!
Visiting graduate student Theresa Osl was excited to be talking about fluorescence imaging!
We made a miniature MRI scanner to show how electromagnets work.
We made a miniature MRI scanner to show how electromagnets work.
Saumya Gurbani teaches these budding scientists about magnetic spin.
Saumya Gurbani teaches these budding scientists about magnetic spin.
It was quite the day!
It was quite the day!

Dr. Kleinberg speaks at Winship

Dr. Lawrence Kleinberg spoke at the Winship Cancer Institute’s Grand Rounds this morning, presenting a talk entitled “Radio Surgery for Brain Metastasis: Is there such a thing as too much?”. Dr. Kleinberg is a professor of radiation oncology at the Johns Hopkins University and Chairman of the Brain Tumor Working Group of ECOG-ACRIN, the national consortium of cancer researchers and clinicians. Dr. Kleinberg’s career has been full of many successes involving advancing the care of patients with brain tumors and the use of state-of-the-art stereotactic radiosurgery. For more information on Dr. Kleinberg, please visit his website at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

Researchers from the Brain Imaging Group met with Dr. Lawrence Kleinberg (left), a radiation oncologist at Johns Hopkins and chairman of the Brain Tumor Working Group of ECOG-ACRIN.
Researchers from the Brain Imaging Group met with Dr. Lawrence Kleinberg (left), a radiation oncologist at Johns Hopkins and chairman of the Brain Tumor Working Group of ECOG-ACRIN.

Atlanta Science Festival 2016

On Saturday, March 26, our MD/PhD student, Saumya Gurbani, will host an exhibit at the Atlanta Science Festival’s Exploration Expo. Gurbani’s application for his exhibit, titled “What’s in your noggin? A look at MRI of the Brain,” was recently approved by the Expo Committee. Hosted in Centennial Olympic Park, the annual Expo drew in over 17,000 people last year; it is deemed the “biggest interactive science event Atlanta has ever seen.” The Expo, an event free to the public, is full of exhibits that aim to get people of all ages interested in science and its broader applications by using engaging hands-on activities. As the date of the Expo approaches, Gurbani will be putting the finishing touches on his presentation and narrowing down the logistics of his participation in this volunteer event. Exposing the people of Emory’s locale, Atlanta, to some of the science we work on every day in our lab is not only rewarding, but it deepens a general appreciation for science in our community. Gurbani will be proudly representing Emory Brain Imaging Group in his exhibitor’s booth just a few weeks from now!

ASTRO Presentation on the Development of New MRI Technology

In mid-October, Dr. Hyunsuk Shim and Dr. Hui-Kuo Shu attended the annual meeting for the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in San Antonio, TX. ASTRO’s annual meeting is the most well-regarded radiation oncology event in the world, drawing in over 11,000 attendees. As our radiation oncologist, Dr. Shu presented our research on the development of a high-resolution, three-dimensional, whole-brain spectroscopic MRI and demonstrated its utility by histological correlation as well as predicting amazing recurrence patterns. The current technology used by most MRIs is limited in its ability to report the whole tumor. By comparing tumor recurrence patterns and histological correlation analysis, our prototypal MRI would be able to image the high risk area of brain tumor recurrence. Such images are necessary in order for oncologists to either predict recurrence or to detect it in its early stages, and then plan radiation therapy accordingly.


Scott Cordova Awarded “Trainee Research Prize” at RSNA

At the annual Radiological Society of North America (RNSA) annual meeting, our MD/PhD student, Scott Cordova, won a Medical Student award for the Trainee Research Prize. The RSNA Annual Meeting is the largest radiology meeting in the world, bringing in over 60,000 professional, exhibitor, and guest attendees each year. The Trainee Research Prize is awarded to select fellows, residents, and medical students to recognize their excellent research in the field of radiology. Cordova was the first author for our winning abstract on the analysis of spectroscopic MR imaging using a web-based evaluation platform. Although the RSNA meeting is held each December, the winners are notified months before to prepare presentations on their abstracts. Not only did Cordova win $1000, but he also captured the opportunity to share his work at Shim Lab at the widely-attended RNSA meeting.

Scott Cordova selected as Finalist for Young Investigator Award at WMIC

Early last month, our MD/PhD student, Scott Cordova, was selected as a Second Place finalist for the Young Investigator Award at the annual World Molecular Imaging Congress (WMIC) meeting. In August, Cordova was selected as a finalist to present on behalf of our abstract on improving brain tumor surgery by combining spectroscopic MR imaging and biomarker guidance. Cordova, who was the first author of the runner-up abstract, underwent a rigorous, multiple stage selection process in the highly-regarded competition before he was announced as a finalist. The selection process included an initial abstract review, an oral presentation to the review board, and a regularly-scheduled oral presentation at the WMIC conference in Honolulu. At their WMIC oral presentations, potential finalists were evaluated on basis of their science, slides, oration, and responses to questions from the audience. The WMIC is a truly international meeting at which over 3,000 attendees from all over the world meet annually, so Cordova’s selection as a finalist in competition with the best and brightest young researchers is an accomplishment well worth noting.


Saumya Gurbani named Finalist in Teaching Competition

Saumya Gurbani was selected as one of 8 finalists at the 2015 Emory University Medical School Teaching Competition on August 5th. The purpose of the competition is to teach a topic to an audience of medical students, faculty, and physicians, in 8 minutes. Saumya presented a talk on the basics of MRI, entitled “MRI and You Can Too.” The full video of his talk is embedded below.

5-ALA Work Selected as Highlight Talk for WMIC

The World Molecular Imaging Society is an international scientific society dedicated to the understanding of biology and medicine through multimodal in vivo imaging of cellular and molecular events involved in normal and pathologic processes and utilization of quantitative molecular imaging in patient care. There are thousands of attendees for its annual meeting, the World Molecular Imaging Congress (WMIC). Two years in a row, our abstract on improving brain tumor surgery by combining MR spectroscopic imaging and 5-ALA intraoperatieve fluorescence-guidance, was selected as a meeting highlihght. In addition, the first author, our MD/PhD student Scott Cordova, was awarded a travel award to present the research results during its annual meeting in Hawaii this year.


Glioblastoma (GBM) resection based on T1 contrast-enhanced MRI (T1CE) results in high rates of local recurrence (<2 cm from resection cavity), as infiltrating tumor is known to extend beyond contrast enhancement. Metabolite maps generated from MR spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) are thought to identify high-risk tumor infiltration zones outside of T1CE regions more specifically than T2/FLAIR. As such, coupling preoperative MRSI with real-time fluorescence-guided surgery (FGS) using 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) may facilitate safe removal of tumor tissue beyond the enhancing tumor margin. One-hundred percent of tissue samples from regions with MRSI abnormalities contained SOX2 positive cells (range: 3 – 96% of total cells). SOX2 positive tumor cells were even found in tissue devoid of T2/FLAIR abnormality. Cho/NAA, Cho/Cr, and tCho values showed strong, statistically significant correlation with the percentage of SOX2-positive tumor cells (Pearson correlation of 0.70, 0.66, and 0.60, respectively, p < 0.05). Intraoperative tumor fluorescence was confirmed ex vivo, and showed less pronounced yet statistically significant correlations with Cho/NAA and  tCho values (0.365 and 0.404, p<0.05). Median EOR in MRSI/5-ALA cases was found to be 97.5% whereas that found in a separate Phase II clinical trial utilizing 5-ALA only was found to be 94.2%. The trend MRSI metabolic abnormalities exhibit with histopathology and quantitative intraoperative fluorescence supports the use of MRSI for identifying regions of tumor infiltration outside of T1CE. MRSI metabolic profiling to allow preoperative prediction of tumor infiltration in terms of percent tumor histology is currently underway. We believe the combination of MRSI-neuronavigation with 5-ALA FGS in this trial will result in more complete resections and prolong both progression-free survival and overall survival.