Weili Lin, PhD appointed Director, UNC Biomedical Research Imaging Center

This center and its facility enables advanced research in cancer, neuroscience, medical imaging, computer science, drug discovery, nanotechnology, and imaging instrumentation.

Weili Lin, PhD appointed Director, UNC Biomedical Research Imaging Center click to enlarge Weili Lin, PhD

Media contacts: Jennifer James, 919-966-7622, jjames@unch.unc.edu or Ellen de Graffenreid, 919-962-3405, edegraff@med.unc.edu

Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Weili Lin, PhD, has been appointed Director of the UNC Biomedical Research Imaging Center (BRIC)

Dr. Lin has been serving as interim director of the center since July 1, 2010.  His research focuses on innovative biomedical applications of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) including the use of nanotechnology, brain imaging in cases of cancer, stroke, early brain development and both genetic and developmental brain abnormalities.  He is a Professor in the Departments of Radiology, Neurology, and Biomedical Engineering at UNC and holds a joint appointment as Professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.  He is also a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and serves as the Vice Chair of Basic Research, Department of Radiology.

Dr. Lin earned his MS and PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University and joined the UNC faculty in 1999.  Currently, he is a member of the Editorial Board of Stroke, Translational Stroke Research, and Radiology Research and Practice.  He edited a special issue of the journal Nuclear Magnetic Resonance in Biomedicine focusing on functional MRI and served as associate editor of the journal Current Protocols in Magnetic Resonance Imaging.  He serves as an ad hoc member on multiple study sections and site visit teams at the National Institutes of Health and has been a member and an ad hoc member of multiple committees of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the NIH.   He has published more than 130 peer-reviewed papers, many of which appeared in high-impact journals.  He serves as principal investigator on three current NIH research project grants totaling more than $750,000 annually and as a co-investigator on several other NIH-funded projects focusing on cancer imaging, brain development, schizophrenia, muscular dystrophy and autism.

“The field of biomedical imaging has transformed the practice of medicine, but there are more breakthroughs on the horizon,” said Marschall Runge, MD, PhD, Executive Dean of the School of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Medicine.  “Dr. Lin’s leadership in the field, combined with his oversight of our outstanding new facility, will be an enormous asset in attracting and retaining faculty whose work will lead to new scientific and medical insights.”  Runge is also Director of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NCTraCS) Institute.

The BRIC was established in 2005 to serve the imaging needs of UNC-Chapel Hill biomedical researchers and to advance the rapidly developing science of biomedical imaging.  The center enables a better understanding of disease, including cancer and neurologic diseases and studies the effects of genetic changes on disease development and progression.  The center will develop new imaging technologies for a host of medical uses.  Advanced imaging will be a key factor in physicians’ ability to determine whether new therapies work, for example, does a new treatment stop cancer progression even before it shrinks the tumor or will a treatment limit brain damage from stroke.  The BRIC will also enable drug discovery and development for many diseases and track the success of nanotechnology in drug delivery.

“It is difficult to overstate the potential of the research programs that will utilize the state-of-the-art assets of the BRIC,” said William L. Roper, MD, MPH, Dean of the School of Medicine, Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs and Chief Executive Officer of the UNC Health Care System.  “Dr. Lin’s appointment as director provides stable leadership and the breadth of expertise necessary to realize the center’s tremendous potential.”

BRIC researchers are active across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, including psychiatry, neurology, pathology, oncology, physics, biology, rheumatology, cardiology, gastroenterology, public health, genetics, neuroscience, psychology, radiology, radiation oncology, nursing, dentistry, pharmacology, biomedical engineering, chemistry, bioinformatics, and others. 

The center’s new state-of-the-art facility, under construction adjacent to the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center building, will be the largest research building on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, with 343,000 square feet of space.  The center will house a comprehensive collection of state-of-the-art imaging systems, including 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner, a highly unique and innovative hybrid MRI/positron emission tomography (MR-PET), a 7T whole body MRI scanner, and a computed tomography/PET scanner for human imaging.  In addition, a 9.4T MR scanner, a PET/CT, SPECT/CT, ultrasound, CT, and optical imaging systems are also available for small animals.  Finally, a cyclotron facility, including a 16.5MeV cyclotron and the radiochemistry lab will also be housed in the center, which will substantially strengthen our ability to shed light on in vivo molecular events non-invasively.  Together, the BRIC aims to establish a premier imaging research program.

For more information, go to bric.unc.edu.

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