Abdominal Imaging Research

Imaging for Cancer - UCSF MedicalAbdominal imaging research at UCSF is focused on developing and testing new methods for diagnosing diseases of the organs, systems and tissues of the abdomen and pelvis. 

Clinical and preclinical research complements the clinical diagnostic efforts in the abdominal imaging subspecialty. Research questions are driven by clinical need and involve a multidisciplinary approach. Our abdominal imaging physicians actively publish papers on novel imaging methods and proper image interpretation—particularly for CT and MRI— and they routinely challenge myths regarding the significance of many commonly utilized diagnostic radiologic signs.

Collectively, our abdominal imaging physicians have published several hundred scientific papers, authored or co-authored multiple textbooks, and attracted more than $6 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Current activities cover:

CT Colonography Research

  • Reduced and non-cathartic preparation
  • Low radiation dose imaging
  • Extracolonic findings
  • Polyp characterization techniques
  • Stereoscopic 3D and virtual holography

CT Imaging Research

  • Patient-specific and disease-specific scan delays
  • Radiation dose reduction
  • Dual energy CT
  • Novel CT and MR contrast material synthesis and development
  • Novel contrast-enhanced imaging applications

Hepatic Research

  • Liver fibrosis imaging with MR diffusion weighted imaging, dynamic contrast enhanced (perfusion), and spectroscopy
  • Hepatic steatosis quantification with MR spectroscopy
  • Hepatic imaging with cholangiographic and hepatobiliary CT and MR contrast agents
  • Dual energy CT imaging

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) / MR Guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery (MRg-FUS)

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) (also known as MRg-FUS) at UCSF is an interdisciplinary effort that involves the active contribution of numerous interested investigators across multiple departments.

  • Pre-procedural imaging and follow-up of uterine fibroids
  • Prostate cancer ablation

MRg - FUS - UCSF Medical
Patient on ExAblate Treatment Table.

Genitourinary Research

  • Hyperpolarized carbon-13 for characterization of diffuse renal disease and tumor characterization
  • Development and applications of novel contrast media
  • Fetal MRI

Prostate Research

The UCSF Prostate Cancer Imaging Program is a NIH-funded research program that develops new anatomic and functional (metabolic, perfusion, and diffusion) methods to improve the assessment of individual prostate cancer patients. Since 1998, the program has received over $16 million in NIH funding and has applied advanced imaging techniques in close to 7,000 research and clinical exams.

MRI of the Prostate - UCSF Medical