I joined Cleveland Clinic in August 2017 from the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California, San Francisco, where I directed the Arthritis Imaging Laboratory. My team’s multidisciplinary imaging research focuses on developing advanced imaging and image processing techniques to improve early diagnosis and treatment follow-up for significant musculoskeletal diseases including osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis, joint injury, and osteoporosis. For these studies, we develop sophisticated quantitative magnetic resonance (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRSI) imaging techniques (new pulse sequences, fast imaging with novel reconstruction) and image‑/data‑processing methodologies for detecting early cartilage degeneration and inflammation related abnormalities/lesions, quantifying bone shapes, linking MRI and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measures with molecular activities in tissues, quantifying bone marrow adiposity, and exploring the relationship with bone quantity/quality. More recently, we have also begun performing research in applying machine-learning/deep-learning techniques for novel reconstruction of accelerated MRI acquisition, automatic tissue segmentation and lesion detection, and automatic diagnostic grading using images. Our group is also committed to providing education and training for postdoctoral fellows, residents, students (medical students, graduate, undergraduate and high school students) and other researchers interested in musculoskeletal medical imaging.
In addition to the imaging laboratory in Biomedical Engineering, I am Founding Director of the newly established collaborative Program in Advanced Medical Imaging (PAMI), with Carl S. Winalski, MD, Diagnostic Radiology, as Clinical Director.
PAMI is conceived as bringing together a number of disciplines, within and outside Cleveland Clinic, to advance musculoskeletal imaging (especially quantitative imaging) for orthopaedics and rheumatology through technology development, translational research, and education. PAMI members will use a range of modalities: high-field whole-body MRI (3T, 7T) and animal MRI (7T), NMR spectrometry, micro-computed tomography (microCT), nuclear medicine (positron emission tomography [PET] and single-photon emission computed tomography [SPECT]), and PET/MR, as well as ultrasound. Novel imaging acquisition/processing and quantitative analysis methods will be developed to improve structural, biochemical, and functional assessment of musculoskeletal tissues, including bone, cartilage, tendon, ligament, muscle, and fat. We aim to establish the PAMI center as a robust resource for musculoskeletal imaging-based research, reaching out to the larger clinical and research community worldwide.
In other words ...
Our laboratory’s focus is on exploring and improving advanced musculoskeletal imaging techniques to be applied in a range of orthopaedic and rheumatologic disorders. Collaborations originating in my own laboratory and in the new Program in Advanced Medical Imaging (PAMI) will establish Cleveland Clinic as a source of advanced translational image acquisition, processing, and analysis with the aim of providing better healthcare to patients with musculoskeletal conditions.
Assessment of 3-month changes in bone microstructure under anti-TNFα therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis using high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT). Shimizu T, Choi HJ, Heilmeier U, Tanaka M, Burghardt AJ, Gong J, Chanchek N, Link TM, Graf J, Imboden JB, Li X. Arthritis Res Ther. 2017;19:222. doi: 10.1186/s13075-017-1430-x.
Evaluating radiocarpal cartilage matrix changes 3-months after anti-TNF treatment for rheumatoid arthritis using MR T1ρ imaging. Ku E, Pedoia V, Tanaka M, Heilmeier U, Imboden J, Graf J, Link T, Li X. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2017;45:1514-1522. doi: 10.1002/jmri.25448.
Vertebral bone marrow fat, bone mineral density and diabetes: The Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) study. Sheu Y, Amati F, Schwartz AV, Danielson ME, Li X, Boudreau R, Cauley JA; Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Research Group. Bone. 2017;97:299-305. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2017.02.001
Quantitative characterization of metacarpal and radial bone in rheumatoid arthritis using high resolution- peripheral quantitative computed tomography. Yang H, Yu A, Burghardt AJ, Virayavanich W, Link TM, Imboden JB, Li X. Int J Rheum Dis. 2017;20:353-362. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.12558.
In Vivo PET Imaging of the Activated Immune Environment in a Small Animal Model of Inflammatory Arthritis. Franc BL, Goth S, MacKenzie J, Li X, Blecha J, Lam T, Jivan S, Hawkins RA, VanBrocklin H. Mol Imaging. 2017;16:1536012117712638. doi: 10.1177/1536012117712638.
High-temporospatial-resolution dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) wrist MRI with variable-density pseudo-random circular Cartesian undersampling (CIRCUS) acquisition: evaluation of perfusion in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Liu J, Pedoia V, Heilmeier U, Ku E, Su F, Khanna S, Imboden J, Graf J, Link T, Li X. NMR Biomed. 2016;29:15-23. doi: 10.1002/nbm.3443.
Are There Sex Differences in Knee Cartilage Composition and Walking Mechanics in Healthy and Osteoarthritis Populations? Kumar D, Souza RB, Subburaj K, MacLeod TD, Singh J, Calixto NE, Nardo L, Link TM, Li X, Lane NE, Majumdar S. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2015;473:2548-58. doi: 10.1007/s11999-015-4212-2.
Abnormal tibial position is correlated to early degenerative changes one year following ACL reconstruction. Zaid M, Lansdown D, Su F, Pedoia V, Tufts L, Rizzo S, Souza RB, Li X, Ma CB. J Orthop Res. 2015;33:1079-86. doi: 10.1002/jor.22867.
Correlating high-resolution magic angle spinning NMR spectroscopy and gene analysis in osteoarthritic cartilage. Tufts L, Shet Vishnudas K, Fu E, Kurhanewicz J, Ries M, Alliston T, Li X. NMR Biomed. 2015;28:523-8. doi: 10.1002/nbm.3285.
Changes in MR relaxation times of the meniscus with acute loading: an in vivo pilot study in knee osteoarthritis. Subburaj K, Souza RB, Wyman BT, Le Graverand-Gastineau MP, Li X, Link TM, Majumdar S. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2015;41:536-43. doi: 10.1002/jmri.24546.
Physical activity and spatial differences in medial knee T1rho and t2 relaxation times in knee osteoarthritis. Kumar D, Souza RB, Singh J, Calixto NE, Nardo L, Link TM, Li X, Majumdar S. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2014;44:964-72. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2014.5523.
Quadriceps intramuscular fat fraction rather than muscle size is associated with knee osteoarthritis. Kumar D, Karampinos DC, MacLeod TD, Lin W, Nardo L, Li X, Link TM, Majumdar S, Souza RB. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2014;22:226-34. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2013.12.005.
Cartilage repair surgery: outcome evaluation by using noninvasive cartilage biomarkers based on quantitative MRI techniques? Jungmann PM, Baum T, Bauer JS, Karampinos DC, Erdle B, Link TM, Li X, Trattnig S, Rummeny EJ, Woertler K, Welsch GH. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:840170. doi: 10.1155/2014/840170.
Longitudinal evaluation of T1ρ and T2 spatial distribution in osteoarthritic and healthy medial knee cartilage. Schooler J, Kumar D, Nardo L, McCulloch C, Li X, Link TM, Majumdar S. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2014;22:51-62. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2013.10.014.