NIH News Release
Office of the Director

Tuesday, May 7, 2002

NIH Communications Office
(301) 496-4461

Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., Named First Director,
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

Bethesda, Maryland — Ruth L. Kirschstein, M.D., acting director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced the appointment of Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., as the first director of the NIH's National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). Dr. Pettigrew is currently Professor of Radiology, Medicine (Cardiology) and Bioengineering and Director of the Emory Center for MR Research, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Pettigrew is expected to begin his appointment in late August or early September 2002.

"I am delighted that Dr. Pettigrew will be assuming the directorship of the NIH's newest institute," said Dr. Kirschstein. "The NIBIB is the only institute at NIH dedicated to biomedical technologies, and we believe that this new direction is truly a reflection of where science is today, and where it will take us tomorrow. Dr. Pettigrew, a recognized expert in the development and application of bioimaging techniques to patient care, will provide dynamic leadership in our efforts to apply the principles of engineering and imaging science to biological processes, disorders, and diseases."

Dr. Pettigrew will oversee the institute's federally-mandated budget for basic and applied research and training. The NIBIB was established in December 2000 by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Establishment Act (H.R. 1795). The NIBIB's mission is to improve health by supporting fundamental research in bioengineering and bioimaging science and transferring the results to medical applications. The NIBIB also coordinates ongoing efforts of NIH centers and institutes and exchanges information with other federal agencies. The NIBIB awarded its first grants in April 2002.

"I am honored and privileged to be joining the NIH at this important moment when the opportunity to develop new technologies in medicine has never been greater," said Dr. Pettigrew. "To combat disease more effectively, the hope is to develop new and emerging technologies that can detect the disease process at its earliest stage, when therapies are most efficacious. I and the NIBIB staff look forward to working with the other NIH institutes and centers, the research community, and the public to achieve this vision. Working together, we can increase the understanding of how advances in biomedical imaging and bioengineering can be applied to improve public health. We will use the technological advances and this knowledge to help conquer disease."

Dr. Pettigrew is known for his pioneering work at Emory University involving dynamic three-dimensional imaging of the heart using magnetic resonance (MRI). He also was co-developer of the first computer software package specifically designed for cardiac imaging using MRI.

Dr. Pettigrew graduated cum laude from Morehouse College with a B.S. in physics, where he was a Merrill Scholar; has an M.S. in nuclear medicine and engineering from Rennselear Polytechnic Institute; and a Ph.D. in applied radiation physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a Whitaker Harvard-MIT Health Science Scholar. After completing his Ph.D., he received an M.D. from the University of Miami School of Medicine in an accelerated two-year program. He did his internship and residency in internal medicine at Emory University and completed a residency in nuclear medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Pettigrew spent a year as a clinical research scientist with Picker International, the first manufacturer of MRI equipment. In 1985, he joined Emory as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow with an interest in non-invasive cardiac imaging.

Dr. Pettigrew, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Bennie Award (Benjamin E. Mays) for Achievement in 1989. Also in 1989, when the Radiological Society of North America celebrated its 75th Diamond anniversary scientific meeting, the largest medical meeting in the world, it selected Dr. Pettigrew to give the keynote Eugene P. Pendergrass New Horizons Lecture. In 1990, he was named the Most Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Miami. He has served as chairman of the Diagnostic Radiology Study Section, Center for Scientific Review, NIH, and has received multiple grants from the NIH for his research on cardiac imaging. He is on numerous editorial boards, scientific societies' Boards of Directors, and is a frequent invited lecturer at international scientific meetings. Dr. Pettigrew has also been elected a Fellow of the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

The NIBIB is one of 27 components of the National Institutes of Health, the premier federal agency for biomedical research. More information on NIBIB can be found at: