Message from Margaret Hall-Craggs, M.D., Program Chair

As those of you who have visited will know, Hawai’i is a spectacular venue for a scientific meeting. The convention centre is a
perfect fit for our conference; it has generous sized meeting rooms, it is built to enjoy the ocean breezes that cool Honolulu, and it has delightful spacious open communal spaces and atria. All of this is within easy walking distance of the beaches, city and hotels. Our main problem will be keeping people inside the centre and working rather than enjoying the many, many attractions on offer around the islands.

The Annual Meeting Program Committee has been working hard since January of this year putting the Hawai’i meeting together. I am delighted to announce that Professor Robert Shulman and Professor Al Macovski, have accepted the invitation to be our Mansfield and Lauterbur lecturers for 2009. Both of these impressive scientists have the most distinguished careers that have encompassed a wide body of work. Professor Shulman is the Sterling Professor Emeritus of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University and has been instrumental in developing the use of MR spectroscopy in vivo for the investigation of metabolic pathways in animals and humans. He has measured the flow of substrates in muscle and brain, examined the storage pathways of glucose in skeletal muscle and the role of its regulation in diabetes, and examined energy production and usage in neurotransmission. He has recently co-edited ‘Metabolomics by In Vivo NMR’. Professor Macovski is the Canon Emeritus Professor of Electrical Engineering and Radiology at Stanford University. His career has spanned working on television to medical imaging. Apart from some fundamental work in real-time ultrasound and dual-energy CT, he has pioneered blood vessel imaging with MRI. Amongst their many accolades and awards, both our speakers have been recipients of the Gold Medal of the ISMRM and are members of the National Academy of Science. We are honoured to have them speak at our meeting.

The plenary sessions this year will cover diverse subjects bringing together the engineering, physics and clinical communities of our society. The topics include the role of MR in stroke, MR scanners in 2025, MR probe development in molecular imaging, the lessons learnt from NSF and a session on prostate cancer from biology through imaging to therapy.

Education is being led by Dan Sodickson this year, and we have a fabulous, diverse and exciting program of education offerings. At the weekend we have 8 parallel sessions on each of Saturday and Sunday. This is followed by 10 ‘sunrise’ education offerings each morning, and a further 24 education sessions scattered throughout Monday- Thursday.

Many of the popular courses have been retained but all of these have been reviewed and refreshed. Case-based teaching introduced last year will be continued but enhanced by the use of audience response buttons. These sessions have been extended to the physics community, and Mark Griswold will be leading an interactive case-based session on ‘Guess the Artifact’. In the light of continuing legislative and clinical issues, safety is again featuring in the education program and other extremely successful sessions such as ‘Grant Writing’- of interest to most scientists – will re-run.

There are many new courses in 2009 and these include such offerings as ‘The rise and fall of the brain’ (highlighting the developing and the aging brain in a pair of sessions), a practical primer on ‘Small animal imaging and spectroscopy’, an early morning course on ‘Mobile lipids in disease’, and daytime courses on ‘MR of engineered tissues’ and ‘Fat imaging and quantification’.

As part of an ongoing initiative to provide state-of-the-art education in clinical MRI, the 2009 meeting will include a five-day continuing medical education course which will serve as a focused introduction to the ISMRM meeting for clinicians new to our meeting and our Society. This course will combine existing educational offerings with additional tailored content to form an exciting program in musculoskeletal and body MR.

I am delighted to announce a new initiative aimed at linking the ISMRM with the local community. We intend to give local high school students interested in science the opportunity to see ‘Science at Work’. Groups of students will visit the meeting and observe poster presentations, visit the exhibits and join a scientific session. Thomas Ernst of the University of Hawaii has kindly agreed to lead this initiative.

Of course we then have the science, and the ‘call for papers’ has already opened up, indeed, we have already had our first submissions. This year the committee has identified three key areas in which we would like to encourage submissions. These special sessions will be on MRI studies on functional biomechanics and exercise physiology, time resolved MR angiography, and in-vivo MR with DNP-polarized compounds. The request for these abstracts is incorporated into the online submission process and has the same time line as conventional abstracts.

The successful integration of traditional and multi-media e-posters initiated in Toronto will be continued in Hawaii. The size of the files that can be loaded has been increased to 40MB in response to requests from the Toronto meeting, and we hope that this will be adequate to support all presentations.

‘Sounds and Visions of MR 2009- the Return of Aloha’ is returning to the meeting. Submission details are being announced, so all you MR musicians and artists- start preparing your material.

Honolulu is a lovely city, and there are many fabulous things to do on Oahu and the surrounding islands. The convention hotels are all within walking distance of the conference centre, and we have ensured that there is internet access in all of these. They will all give easy access to the town, the beaches, and the convention centre.

Further afield there are visits to the erupting volcano on the big island of Hawai’i , swimming with dolphins and turtles, walking the Na Pali coast, playing golf, surfing, or just relaxing on the beach with some sweet pineapple. This fantastic location is an excuse for a holiday - bring your friends and family and have fun.

April 2009 will soon be upon us and the committee and I look forward to welcoming you to ISMRM, Hawaii 2009.