Maria I Altbach

Maria I Altbach

Professor, Medical Imaging
Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Director, MRI Innovation
Vice Chair, Faculty Affairs
Member of the General Faculty
Member of the Graduate Faculty
Primary Department
Department Affiliations

Work Summary

My lab develops magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques with an emphasis on quantitative imaging to improve the diagnosis of early disease and the effect of treatment. Main areas of disease focus are cancer, cardiovascular, and metabolic disorders. A focus of our work is clinical translation, thus the methods that we developed provide high quality and accurate quantitative imaging within the time constraints of a clinical MRI scan. Support for our work is provided by the National Institutes of Health, the Arizona Biomedical research Centre, the American Heart Association, and industry and our technology is distributed worldwide.

Research Interest

Dr. Altbach is Professor in the Departments of Medical Imaging and Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Altbach has over 20 years of experience directing a lab that develops novel MRI technology for quantitative MRI. Her research focuses on the development of new quantitative biomarkers to assess early stages or risk of disease as well as to predict response to treatment with the goal of translating the novel technology to the clinic. To adhere to the time constraints of clinical MRI examinations, her work is based on the design of acquisition and reconstruction techniques that yield images and quantitative maps from significantly less data than conventional methods, thus improving imaging efficiency and patient comfort. Her team of basic scientists, engineers and clinicians work together with industry to optimize the novel techniques for human imaging. Dr. Altbach's work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the Arizona Biomedical Research Center and industry and technology developed in her lab is distributed worldwide. Current disease areas being investigated with the quantitative MRI technology developed in Dr. Altbach's lab are the detection and characterization of small abdominal lesions, deemed too-small-to-diagnose with current imaging modalities; early staging of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to prevent progression to liver cancer; and the characterization of the arterial wall in carotid artery disease to predict stroke.