June 1, 2021

Speaker: Rene Botnar. Synopsis: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is considered the gold standard for the assessment of cardiac anatomy, function and myocardial viability due to its excellent soft tissue contrast and high spatial resolution. Recent clinical research studies also have demonstrated its usefulness for myocardial tissue characterisation (T1 and T2 relaxation time mapping) and its ability to differentiate between healthy and diseased tissue. T1 mapping allows for detection of diffuse myocardial fibrosis while T2 mapping is more sensitive for oedema detection, both important biomarkers of remodelling and inflammation. In addition, MRI has shown great potential for coronary lumen, plaque and thrombus/haemorrhage visualisation but still suffers from lack of robustness and unpredictable scan times. Currently used clinical imaging protocols however provide limited non-isotropic spatial resolution and coverage making diagnosis often ambiguous and require patients to perform several (>30) breathholds, which can be challenging in very sick patients. To enable high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) cardiac imaging with isotropic resolution and to address the technical limitations of current CMR techniques we have developed motion corrected high-resolution free-breathing (no breathholds required) 3D cardiac imaging protocols with 100% scan efficiency for comprehensive assessment of 1) coronary integrity including coronary thrombus/haemorrhage and 2) cardiac anatomy, viability and tissue characterisation.

Biography: Professor Botnar received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the ETH Zurich. In 1997, he joined the Cardiac MR Center at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School where his research focus was on the development and clinical validation of novel MRI sequences and molecular contrast agents for the non-invasive detection of coronary artery disease.

In 2003, Dr. Botnar became the Scientific Director of the Cardiac MR Center at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and was appointed to Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. In 2005, Dr. Botnar accepted a Professorship of Biomedical Imaging at TUM and at the end of 2007, he joined King’s College London where he is Professor of Cardiovascular Imaging and where he set up a cardiac MR program with a special focus on pre-clinical and translational multi-modality imaging. He is also adjunct Professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile both in the Institute for Biological and Medical Engineering and the Department of Electrical Engineering. Dr. Botnar is a Fellow of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Medicine and the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance and co-chair of the ISMRM cardiac MR study group. He is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance and Molecular Imaging and Biology and has published more than 325 peer-reviewed original and review articles and holds 12 patents related to MRI technology.

His main research interests include the development of novel MRI technologies for comprehensive and non-invasive assessment of heart disease. One particular focus of his work has been the development of radiation and contrast agent free coronary MR angiography. He is also actively pursuing the development and validation of novel molecular contrast agents (elastin, collagen, albumin, fibrin and MPO) for the detection of high-risk plaque and heart muscle disease using MRI, PET or PET-MR.