E-news from the
International Society for Magnetic Resonance
in Medicine

Vol. 2, Issue 1, 3 Feb 2013

21st ISMRM Annual Meeting & Exhibition Update

Garry Gold, Chair
Derek Jones, Vice-Chair

Preparations are underway for the 21st annual meeting of the ISMRM will be held in Salt Lake City from April 20-26, 2013.  Over 5800 scientific abstracts were submitted in November, and the Annual Meeting Program Committee met on 18-20 January, with notification of results sent this week.  We would like to thank everyone for submitting your work to be presented at the ISMRM!

The theme this year is “Discovery, Innovation, and Application – Advancing MR for Improved Health”.  Our plenary lectures begin with a tour of the rich history of innovation in MRI, where prior gold-medal winners of the ISMRM will describe their moments of innovation that led to their biggest discoveries.  We will learn about the application of MRI in imaging cancer, and how MRI is transforming multi-center trials. Connectomics, a new field for assessing the microstructure of the brain is the focus of another plenary, and the powerful combination of MRI and PET (Mr. PET) will round out a spectacular and diverse field of talks.

We have three wonderful speakers giving our named lectures this year.  Klaas Prüssmann, PhD, ETH, Zurich, will deliver the Monday morning Lauterbur lecture entitled “Beyond Fourier encoding: The need, the challenges, and the rewards of breaking out of k-space.”  Richard Ehman, MD, Chair of Radiology at the Mayo Clinic and former President of the ISMRM, will deliver the Mansfield lecture, “MRI and Mechanobiology: Emerging Science at the Intersection of Engineering and Biology”, on Thursday morning. This year, an exciting new named lecture, the NIBIB New Horizons Lecture, will be given by Dr. Scott Reeder of the University of Wisconsin Madison, entitled “Frontiers in Body MRI: from Qualitative to Quantitative”.

We will continue the highly innovative and exciting meeting format pioneered by Jim Pipe at the Melbourne conference.  Our goal is to continue to increase the visibility and impact of traditional and electronic posters, and promote the personal interactions that help make our annual meeting so special.  The scientific sessions will include four special “translational” sessions that will pair innovations from our technical members with clinical applications.  The goal of these sessions is to get our diverse membership talking about the intersection of the engineering and clinical challenges we face.  The study group meetings will again take place during the daytime in two “study group lounge” areas, where all attendees can come and enjoy a less structured setting. 

Regarding the educational program, many of you will remember that we polled the ISMRM membership towards the end of 2011 to ask what aspects of the educational programme you felt were important, what formats worked best and so on.  The overwhelming response was that you liked and wanted more interactivity, with real practical guidance on aspects of MR. We have significantly expanded the use of the audience response system (ARS), to provide enhanced interactivity in more sessions and will pilot the use of Twitter to provide real-time interactivity during some of the sessions.

The ‘gameshow’ format, popularized in the ‘Guess that Artefact’ sessions of previous years, is being extended to a number of forums, including ‘Body MRI Artefacts’, ‘Game Show: Lower-Higher: The Transition from Low Field to High Field’, and ‘Revenge’ in which the MDs will be pitted against PhDs in a battle of knowledge over what can go wrong in MR.  As a new interactive innovation this year, you’ll find ‘chalk talk’ sessions where you can ‘ask the experts’ aided only by a white-board, those burning questions you’ve always wanted to ask. Look out for ‘Diffusion Goes Mad’ and ‘Emerging Techniques: Meet the Experts’, each of which has a stellar faculty.

In ‘RF Engineering – Coils’ weekend course, there will be a live demonstration of coil building. Another new and exciting innovation this year (with credit due to Robia Pautler for the idea) is the ‘Women in MRI - Networking & Panel Discussion’ that will provide an open forum for discussing the issues that women MRI scientists face and how they have dealt with and overcome some of these challenges.

We also listened to your feedback about increasing the number and diversity of educational course speakers.  To this end, we have made our goal that no speaker is giving more than one educational talk at the meeting.  Finally, we have eliminated the Friday morning sunrise session, making the sunrise weekday courses more compact.

The setting in Salt Lake City is spectacular, a clean and walkable city surrounded by snow-capped mountains.  The convention center is large with a great format for our meeting.  A host of excellent shops, bars, and restaurants are situated within walking distance of the convention center, providing an ideal setting for breaks during and after the day’s meeting. The nearby University of Utah is host to a spectacular natural history museum.  Skiing will likely be in season at the world-class resorts of Snowbird and Alta, just minutes outside of Salt Lake City.  The resort town of Park City is situated about 25 minutes from the convention center, and some of the most spectacular natural scenery on earth is found in the national parks of southern Utah (Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef National Parks).  You will find people happy to help you plan small or large adventures through our website and in the exhibition hall at the meeting. 

With all these changes, we’d love to get more feedback on what you think, and how we might improve the educational and scientific program. You can contact Garry Gold at  or Derek Jones at .  Finally, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the annual meeting program committee and the ISMRM staff for assembling the educational and scientific program, and in particular to the educational co-ordinators and scientific table chairs. See you in Salt Lake City!