Unsolved Problems and Unmet Needs in Magnetic Resonance
Call for Abstracts:
This program is now closed for applications as the deadline is past.

We are pleased to announce continuation of the initiative, launched at the ISMRM Seattle Meeting, to highlight unsolved problems and unmet needs in magnetic resonance. Online submissions on important problems and needs will be solicited, and a subset of these submissions will be selected for presentation over the course of two two-hour afternoon sessions. The submission deadline and procedure for these “unsolved problems” abstracts will be separate from those of regular ISMRM abstracts.

Submissions should be sent as attached PDF’s to:
This program is now closed for applications as the deadline is past.

Approximately five to ten submissions will be selected for presentation in two two-hour sessions.  Broad commentary on problems and needs in related clinical and technical areas will also be provided by invited faculty.

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.
For all of these reasons, a series of sessions on the topic of unsolved problems and unmet needs were held at the 2006 and 2007 ISMRM Meetings. The sessions covered a diverse range of topics, including prospects for imaging near metallic implants, assessments of the information content of radiofrequency fields, unresolved issues in diffusion and perfusion, the role of new contrast agents, and various valuable community resources and initiatives. Discussion, as expected, was lively and thought-provoking.

Objectives: Unsolved problems and unmet needs will again be addressed at the 2008 ISMRM meeting in Toronto. The afternoon sessions will once again 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 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.

For detailed information on prior submissions, survey, etc., please click here.

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. One explicit goal of the sessions will be to bring 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 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.

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. Please 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. Instead, we are providing a special email address and form for submission. 
Submissions should be sent as
attached PDF’s to:
This program is now closed for applications as the deadline is past.

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.

Note that traditional abstracts reporting on completed research will not be accepted for presentation in the unsolved problems sessions, and will not be able to be transferred after the fact to the pool of traditional ISMRM submissions. The purpose of this initiative is to explore what is UNsolved, in the hopes of making our way, collectively or individually, toward much-needed solutions.

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

Daniel K. Sodickson




Last updated 05 April 2009