Seattle, Washington, USA
6-12 May 2006


A New Course with a Special Call for Papers
Last updated 24 June 2008





Unsolved Problems and Unmet Needs in Magnetic Resonance

Call for Abstracts:

Submission Deadline: 9 December 2005

The submission deadline and procedure for these "unsolved problems" abstracts is separate from those of the regular ISMRM abstracts.  Please note that abstracts submitted for this course may not also be submitted for presentation in the regular scientific sessions.

We are pleased to announce a new initiative to be launched at the 2006 ISMRM meeting in Seattle, to highlight unsolved problems and unmet needs in magnetic resonance.  Online submissions on important problems and needs will be solicited, and approximately ten of these submissions will be selected for presentation over the course of four mornings.  The submission deadline and procedure for these “unsolved problems” abstracts will be separate from those of regular ISMRM abstracts

Background: The field of magnetic resonance is increasingly rich and diverse, spanning far too many areas of clinical and research activity for any one person or group to track effectively.  At the annual ISMRM meeting and in many of our professional interactions, we tend to focus on what we or others have recently accomplished in our areas of interest, or else we speculate together on current trends and promising future directions in MR research and practice.  In the midst of all this lively and topical activity, the less satisfying questions of what we cannot but would very much like to achieve with MR receive little concentrated, collective attention.  Discussions of unmet needs and research priorities are often left to funding organizations, which publish periodic “requests for proposals” and “roadmaps” to which many of us as researchers are encouraged to respond.  The process of assessing needs and formulating priorities, however, could very well benefit from broader participation by our MR community at large.  Collective brainstorming about unsolved problems and unmet needs would have the added benefit of promoting interactions between the disparate members of our community, and it might also serve to stimulate innovative solutions.

Objectives:  For all of these reasons, this new series of morning sessions is planned with the goal of  bringing together those with detailed knowledge of important needs (“If only I had X, then I could diagnose / monitor / treat Y”) and those who seek to characterize and extend the limits of MR capabilities (“If only I could measure / build / control Z, then I could accomplish X”).   The morning sessions will emphasize open discussion, in order to promote interactions and to foster innovation.  Since unsolved problems may often be controversial, the sessions will also be an opportunity for lively and reasoned debate.  In order to continue the discussion after the meeting, results from the morning sessions and from the abstract solicitation will be posted on the ISMRM Website, and an online list of unsolved problems and unmet needs will be maintained and updated thereafter, serving both as a resource for new entrants into the field and as an ongoing challenge for established investigators. 

Target audience: All members of the MR community, including both clinicians and basic scientists, both established investigators and students or young investigators, are encouraged to submit abstracts and attend the oral sessions.  The sessions are expected to be of particular value for students who may be looking for research problems of importance.  They are also targeted at clinicians and researchers interested in potential collaborations on high-impact problems.

Morning Session Plan: The top-rated abstracts (see review procedure to follow) will be selected for 15-minute oral presentations, according to the oral presentations, according to the following tentative schedule:

Day 1 (Tuesday): Introduction to the initiative followed by 2 presentations and discussion
Day 2 (Wednesday): 3 presentations and discussion
Day 3 (Thursday): 3 presentations and discussion
Day 4 (Friday): 2 presentations and discussion followed by a summary of topics covered and a description of plans for the ongoing Web list of problems/needs.

Guidelines and online submission and review:  Submission of an abstract represents a good way to bring attention to an area of particular interest to you. 

  • Abstracts should be no longer than one page, in single column format, with images optional. 
  • Abstract should include a 100-word summary with a clear statement of the problem or need. 
  • Remaining text may include a statement of background and significance (current limitations of MR technology or methodology, importance of the clinical or research problem to be answered, etc.), an accounting of existing alternative approaches, if any, and possibly criteria for a successful solution. 
  • Topics may include specific technical challenges (e.g. “Detect a single labeled molecule in vivo using MR”), clinical targets (e.g. “Diagnose X definitively using MR”), or even current controversies (e.g. “Establish the definitive physiologic or biochemical mechanism underlying Y”). 

Given the differences in content and review criteria from traditional ISMRM abstracts, the “unsolved problems” abstracts will be submitted and reviewed separately from regular ISMRM Scientific Meeting submissions.  This is a separate program from the regular ISMRM scientific abstract submission, and you should NOT use the regular abstract submission website.  

If you wish to submit an abstract for consideration for this course,
please send a two-page document in rtf. or .doc format (A4 or 8.5 x 11, with font 10pt or higher)
containing the following:

  • First page:  Author information, including first and last name, mailing address, telephone, and
    e-mail address. 
  • Second page:  One-page abstract containing the title, authors, affiliations, and the abstract, following the guidelines above.

E-mail this two-page document document to

Despite these differences from the traditional abstract submission process, every effort will be made to ensure impartiality of the review process for this new program.  Each abstract will be refereed by at least 3 referees, one or more of whom will be a member of the Annual Meeting Program Committee.  A scoring system similar to that used for construction of other oral scientific sessions will be employed.

Please note that abstracts submitted for this course may not also be submitted for presentation in the regular scientific sessions.

We welcome your participation in this new program, and look forward to lively discussions in Seattle and beyond.


Daniel K. Sodickson