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  • Ralph Weissleder, MD, PhD

  • Ralph Weissleder, MD, PhD, is a professor of radiology and systems biology at Harvard Medical School, director of the Center for Systems Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), director of the Center for Molecular Imaging Research in the Department of Radiology, and attending clinician in interventional radiology at MGH. Dr Weissleder is also a member of the Dana Farber Harvard Cancer Center, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and an associate member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.

    Dr Weissleder received his medical and doctorate degrees from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and completed his radiology residency training at MGH. He has been at MGH/Harvard Medical School since 1986.

    Dr Weissleder’s primary research interests are in the field of in vivo molecular imaging, specifically, development of novel molecular imaging tools to the study of complex human diseases. He has made fundamental discoveries in early disease detection, development of nanomaterials for sensing and systems analysis. These basic research interests go hand in hand with his clinical interests in abdominal and interventional radiology. Specific examples of his translational research that have led to advanced clinical trials include the development of novel nanomaterials for MR detection of lymph node metastases; development of enzyme activatable probes for the detection of early cancers by minimally invasive techniques such as laparoscopy; and clinical testing of long circulating polymers for angiogenesis imaging.

    Dr Weissleder has been a fully funded researcher for nearly 20 years. He is currently the principal investigator of several NIH grants, including R01, P01, U24, and U54 grants, a P50 center grant, and a U01 nanotechnology consortium grant. He has published over 400 original publications in peer-reviewed journals, over 90 review articles, has authored and co-authored several textbooks, and holds over 30 patents.

    As a mentor to 4–6 postdoctoral fellows per year, Dr Weissleder has produced over 150 molecular imaging experts, many of whom are already well known in the field. He is a highly coveted, world renowned keynote speaker, one of the few superstars whose presence is valued in many fields, most recently in the fields of cancer and metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.

    He is a founding member of the Society for Molecular Imaging Research and served as its president in 2002. He has unselfishly given his time and energy to RSNA to help launch its Molecular Imaging Committee and served as its inaugural chair.

    His work has been honored with numerous awards including the J. Taylor International Prize in Medicine, Millennium Pharmaceuticals Innovator Award, Association of University Radiologists (AUR) Memorial Award, American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) President's Award, Society for Molecular Imaging Lifetime Achievement Award and the Academy of Molecular Imaging 2006 Distinguished Basic Scientist Award.

    The impact of Dr Weissleder’s work is still to be felt as the field of molecular imaging is still young; however, he has taken radiology down important roads that will forever change the world of imaging sciences.

    “Dr Weissleder has been working on molecular imaging way before this term entered the consciousness of radiologists.”- King C. Li, MD, MBA, M. D. Anderson Foundation Distinguished Chair in Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Professor of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical College, Chair, Department of Radiology, Methodist Hospital Houston

    “I speak from my experience as the former chief of the Molecular Imaging Branch of the Cancer Imaging Program of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that Dr Weissleder is regarded as one of the most respected and accomplished imaging scientists in the world.”- John M. Hoffman, MD, Willard Snow Hansen Presidential Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, Professor of Radiology and Neurology, Director of Nuclear Medicine, Director: Molecular Imaging Program, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine

    “Dr Weissleder has taught the rest of us that a radiologist can conduct world-class research, produce highly practical results, and be taken very seriously by other disciplines.”- Peter L. Choyke, MD, Chief, Molecular Imaging Program, NCI.