Imaging Science Research


The University of Texas Houston Medical School Department of Radiology ranks high in the nation for funding in basic science research from the National Institutes of Health. Our research in MR imaging and in high resolution ultrasound techniques is world class. Below is a brief description of these programs along with our progressive clinical research areas.

Ponnada A. Narayana, Ph.D., M.Sc.

Ponnada A. Narayana, Ph.D., M.Sc.

Ponnada Narayana, Ph.D., DABR is a Professor of Radiology and the Director of Magnetic Resonance Research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He also holds adjunct appointments at Department of Biomedical Engineering (jointly run by UT-Austin, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, and UT-Houston), University of Texas-Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at University of Houston. He served on numerous NIH Study Sections. He serves on the Editorial Board of Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and is a reviewer for a number of major neuroscience journals. Dr. Narayana’s major research interests include Quantitative Magnetic Resonance of Central Nervous System, Development of Advanced Magnetic Resonance Techniques, and Image Processing with an emphasis on automatic analysis. Dr. Narayana directs a state-of-the-art 3T whole body MRI scanner and 7T animal-dedicated MRI scanner. He is currently funded by NIH to investigate the role of angiogenesis in experimental spinal cord injury using functional MRI and characterization of Multiple Sclerosis brain using advanced Magnetic Resonance and Image Processing techniques. He served as thesis advisor for more than 15 MS, PhD, and MD/PhD students. He has authored/coauthored more than 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals and numerous book chapters. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Radiology in Radiological Physics. He received the Presidential Scholar award in 2006.

He has been funded by NIH continuously for the last twenty years. He is the PI on the following grants:

  1. Automated MR Image Analysis in MS: Identification of a Surrogate (NIH)
  2. MRI of Angiogenesis in Spinal Cord Injury (NIH)
  3. Mission Connect Mild TBI Translational Research Consortium (DoD)
  4. Translational MR Imaging In Cocaine Pharmacotherapy Development

Dr. Narayana’s site


Jonathan Ophir, Ph.D.

Jonathan Ophir, Ph.D.

Jonathan Ophir, Ph.D. received his BSEE (Summa cum Laude), MSEE and Doctor of Engineering degrees from the University of Kansas, Lawrence Kansas in 1971, 1973 and 1977, respectively. His Doctoral dissertation describes an early implementation of Digital Scan Conversion techniques for diagnostic ultrasound imaging. During 1976-1977 he worked as a project engineer for Philips Ultrasound Inc. in California, where he developed a commercial version of their first real-time Digital Scan Converter. He then spent 3 years as an Assistant Professor of Radiology at the University of Kansas Medical School in Kansas City, Kansas, where he was involved in the development of prototype sonographic contrast agents, ultrasound phantoms and instrumentation for Ultrasonic Tissue Characterization with NIH support. In 1984-1985 he was a visiting Scientist at the University of California at Irvine. From 1980 until the present time, he has been with the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, where he is currently Professor of Radiology and Director of the Ultrasonics and Elastographics Laboratory. He is also Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Houston and at the University of Texas at Austin. His current field of research interest is Ultrasonic Tissue Characterization and Elastography, the imaging of the elastic properties of soft tissues using ultrasound.

Dr. Ophir has contributed more than 150 original articles and several invited review articles to peer reviewed scientific journals, and holds 27 United States and foreign patents in the area of ultrasound instrumentation and measurement techniques, some of which are licensed to major medical ultrasound companies. His teaching activities include courses in ultrasound physics given to student sonographers, radiology residents and graduate students. He has been a Visiting Professor and Invited Lecturer in universities, companies and government agencies in the US and overseas. He has served on National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and National Research Council of Canada study sections, and has been a consultant to several corporations and professional organizations. Dr. Ophir is a Fellow of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, past Chairman of the Technical Standards Committee and past Member of the Board of Governors. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (Elsevier), the Journal of Clinical Ultrasound (Wiley), and Reports on Medical Imaging (Dove Medical Press), and is Associate Editor of Ultrasonic Imaging (Dynamedia). In 1992 he was a co-recipient of the Terrance Matzuk Award from the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine for “distinction in innovative research in the development of ultrasonic instrumentation and technology”. In 1995 he was recognized as Inventor of the Year by the Houston Intellectual Property Law Association and by Mr. Bob Lanier, the Mayor of the City of Houston, Texas. In 1995 he also received an honorary commission as an Admiral in the Texas Navy by Texas Governor George W. Bush for his contributions to medical science. In 2001 Dr. Ophir received the Joseph H. Holmes Basic Science Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. From 1994-2007 he was Principal Investigator of an international Program Project Grant funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering to develop new elastographic methodologies for in-vivo applications. Dr. Ophir is a co-founder and organizer of the International Conference on the Ultrasonic Measurement and Imaging of Tissue Elasticity, which has been held annually since 2002.

Dr. Ophir’s Ultrasonics Laboratory webpage can be found at: http://elastography.com/.