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NIH Record - 75th Anniversary - National Institutes of Health

NICHD’s Basser Honored for Developing Imaging Techniques

Dr. Peter Basser

Dr. Peter Basser of NICHD

Dr. Peter Basser of NICHD is a co-recipient of the 2021 Technology Award from the Eduard Rhein Foundation. 

According to the award citation, Basser, who leads NICHD’s section on quantitative imaging and tissue science and Division of Translational Imaging and Genomic Integrity, was honored for developing diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DT-MRI), which has implications for planning surgery and radiotherapy, characterizing brain disorders and visualizing nerve fiber pathways (tractography). The technique allows researchers and clinicians to make detailed three-dimensional maps of brain pathways that could not be detected with earlier imaging techniques. 

With DT-MRI, radiologists can now diagnose and assess many diseases and disorders and help neurosurgeons better plan operations to target diseased tissue while sparing healthy tissue. 

Tractography provides a wiring diagram of the brain, allowing neuroscientists to study anatomical connections between different brain areas.

The Germany-based foundation was established in 1976 by Rhein, an inventor, publisher and author. Its goals are to promote scientific research, learning, arts and culture by granting awards for achievements in radio, television and information technology.

Basser shares the award with Dr. Denis LeBihan, who co-developed DT-MRI. The two will receive the award in November at a ceremony in the Hall of Fame Deutsches Museum in Munich.

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