UCSF Radiology Honors the Service and Extraordinary Career of A. James Barkovich, MD

Jim Barkovich, MD, professor in residence and chief of Pediatric Neuroradiology at the UC San Francisco Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and a renowned expert in the field of neuroradiology and pediatric neuroradiology, retired at the end of June 2020 after a long and successful career.

One of the world's foremost pediatric neuroradiologists, at the time Dr. Barkovich began his tenure at UCSF, in 1986, imaging of the pediatric brain was performed rarely and typically with invasive techniques. Uniting innovations in imaging technology at that time—MRI and CT scans—with his knowledge of brain development, Dr. Barkovich laid the foundation for what has now become the clinical standard for pediatric brain imaging and simultaneously opened new vistas into the science of brain development and maturation.

In addition to brain development, he has greatly informed the fields of neonatal brain injury, abnormal brain development, childhood epilepsy, and CSF fluid dynamics. His work has also set the standards for predicting outcome after a neonatal brain insult using advanced MR imaging parameters such as structural, diffusion, and spectroscopy. This work has been at the core for the Neonatal Brain Disorders Program at UCSF funded by the NIH-NINDS for the study of the mechanisms underlying hypoxic-ischemic damage to the developing brain for the past 25 years.

Dr. Barkovich is credited with being the "father" of the MR compatible incubator. This prototype developed in conjunction with technicians from General Electric, is now widely used around the world in the study of neonates with brain injuries.

Dr. Barkovich received his medical degree from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and completed his residency in Radiology at Letterman AMC, San Francisco in 1984. This was followed by a fellowship in Neuroradiology from Walter Reed AMC in 1986, before joining the faculty at UCSF Radiology in 1986.

Dr. Barkovich has received numerous commendations during his long career. He was a recipient of the Society for Pediatric Radiology (SPR) Presidential Recognition Award in 2019, acknowledging his impact and service to the profession. The Academy of Radiology Research awarded him with its Distinguished Investigator Award in 2013. In 2012 he was the recipient of both the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Outstanding Achievement in Research Award and the American Society of Neuroradiology (ASNR) Gold Medal. Dr. Barkovich was also president of the American Society of Neuroradiology (1998-1999) and secretary general of the World Federation of Neuroradiological Societies (2002-2006).

Dr. Barkovich has published over 400 peer-reviewed publications. Of particular note, he has designed a classification system of malformations of cortical development (based on embryology, genetics, and MR imaging) that is used internationally (Neuropediatrics, 1996; updated in Neurology, 2001, Neurology, 2005, and Brain, 2012). Collaborations with colleagues at UCSD and Harvard have explored the genetic underpinnings of the neurological disorders he has studied for years. In 2018, Dr. Barkovich's expertise as a pediatric neuroradiologist was featured in a New York Times story about a rare illness found in a pediatric patient.

While we will miss his full-time presence within the department, we are pleased that Dr. Barkovich will continue to be involved with the department as through an Emeritus role. On October 28, 2020, the department will host a special symposium in celebration of Dr. Barkovich and his extraordinary career. More details about the symposium including a full list of speakers will come at a later date. Please check our events page for updates..

Biography courtesy of the UCSF Academic Senate.