Maria I. Altbach, PhD

Vice Chair, Faculty Development
Professor, Medical Imaging
Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Co-Chair, Deans Research Council
Member of the Graduate Faculty

I am a Professor of Medical Imaging and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Arizona. My expertise is in the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques with an emphasis on abdominal imaging.  My research group develops novel radial MRI acquisition and reconstruction strategies that provide motion insensitive images with high spatial and temporal resolution to yield better tools for image interpretation. The overall goal of our research is to improve the diagnosis of disease.  We work with highly undersampled data allowing us to obtain images from significantly less data than conventional methods improving imaging efficiency and patient throughput and compliance. One of the goals of our research is to be able to derive parameters for the quantification of disease from data acquired within the time constraints of a clinical MRI examination. We have pioneered methods for high resolution parametric mapping from highly undersampled radial MRI data providing unique techniques for the quantitative characterization of disease. The idea is to complement the current qualitative approach of clinical radiology with a time efficient but quantitative or “parametric” approach. 

For over 20 years, I have directed a team at the University of Arizona on the development of novel MRI techniques to improve the diagnostic capabilities of the technology.  Our work has been supported by the NIH and the American Heart Association for the past 18 years, and thus I have extensive experience managing funded projects.

I have also extensive experience as a mentor. I have trained a total of 16 PhD and MSc students and 7 post-doctoral fellows (both basic and clinical scientists). Most of the trainees have continued into positions (or further training) at several academic and research institutions such as the Barrow Neurological Institute, University of Michigan, the Food and Drug Administration, University of Toronto, Harvard Medical School, Stony Brook University, and the University of Arizona.

PhD: Louisiana State University, 1988