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Molecular Biomedical Imaging Laboratory (MBIL)

David Bluemke, MD, PhD, MSB, FAHA, FACR
Lab Chief and Senior Investigator,
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
Director, Radiology and Imaging Sciences
Adjunct Investigator,

Building 10
Tel: 301-402-1854


Photo of Dr. David Bluemke

Academic Degrees

BS, University of Wisconsin-Madison
PhD, University of Chicago
MD, University of Chicago
MSB, Johns Hopkins University


Dr. Bluemke earned his medical degree at the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program, and his PhD from the University of Chicago's Department of Biophysics and Theoretical Biology, where he studied the evaluation of three-dimensional macromolecules using advanced computer modeling techniques. He also holds an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Science in business from Johns Hopkins University. His training includes a fellowship in cross-sectional imaging in diagnostic radiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is a fellow of the American Heart Association.

Before coming to the NIH Clinical Center, Dr. Bluemke was clinical director of the Division of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) at Johns Hopkins until 2008. Dr. Bluemke retains an adjunct position as professor of radiology and medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is a past member of the board of trustees for the Internal Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), board member of the North American Society of Cardiovascular Imaging, past chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Cardiac Accreditation Committee, and past program chair of the ISMRM Cardiac MR Study Group. He has been appointed to the American Heart Association Council on Radiology and Intervention, the ACR Committee on Standards for Body MRI, and the ACR Committee on Standards and Accreditation for Magnetic Resonance.

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Selected Publications

To date, Dr. Bluemke has co-authored more than 340 peer-reviewed publications, 300 scientific abstracts, and 27 book chapters and monographs.

Marcus FI, McKenna WJ, Sherrill D, Basso C, Bauce B, Bluemke DA, Calkins H, Corrado D, Cox MG, Daubert JP, Fontaine G, Gear K, Hauer R, Nava A, Picard MH, Protonotarios N, Saffitz JE, Sanborn DM, Steinberg JS, Tandri H, Thiene G, Towbin JA, Tsatsopoulou A, Wichter T, Zareba W. Diagnosis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia: proposed modification of the task force criteria. Circulation, Apr 6;121(13):1533-41. Epub 2010 Feb 19. PubMed PMID: 20172911; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2860804, 2010. 

Jain A, Tandri H, Dalal D, Chahal H, Soliman EZ, Prineas RJ, Folsom AR, Lima JA, Bluemke DA. Diagnostic and prognostic utility of electrocardiography for left ventricular hypertrophy defined by magnetic resonance imaging in relationship to ethnicity: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Am Heart J, Apr;159(4):652-8. PubMed PMID: 20362725; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2856691, 2010.

Brumback LC, Kronmal R, Heckbert SR, Ni H, Hundley WG, Lima JA, Bluemke DA. Body size adjustments for left ventricular mass by cardiovascular magnetic resonance and their impact on left ventricular hypertrophy classification. Int J Cardiovasc Imaging, Apr;26(4):459-68. Epub  Jan 27. PubMed PMID: 20107905, 2010. 

Liu CY, Redheuil A, Ouwerkerk R, Lima JA, Bluemke DA. Myocardial fat quantification in humans: Evaluation by two-point water-fat imaging and localized proton spectroscopy. Magn Reson Med, Apr; 63(4):892-901. PubMed PMID: 20373390, 2010. 

Jain A, Shehata ML, Stuber M, Berkowitz SJ, Calkins H, Lima JA, Bluemke DA, Tandri H. Prevalence of Left Ventricular Regional Dysfunction in Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia: A Tagged MRI Study. Circ Cardiovasc Imaging, Mar 2. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 20197508, 2010. 

Turkbey EB, McClelland RL, Kronmal RA, Burke GL, Bild DE, Tracy RP, Arai AE, Lima JA, Bluemke DA. The impact of obesity on the left ventricle: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). JACC Cardiovasc Imaging, Mar 3; (3):266-74. PubMed PMID: 20223423, 2010. 

Rodriguez CJ, Diez-Roux AV, Moran A, Jin Z, Kronmal RA, Lima J, Homma S, Bluemke DA, Barr RG. Left ventricular mass and ventricular remodeling among Hispanic subgroups compared with non-Hispanic blacks and whites: MESA (Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis). J Am Coll Cardiol, Jan 19; 55(3):234-42. PubMed PMID: 20117402; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2849669, 2010.

Vogel-Claussen J, Li D, Carr J, Liu K, Szklo M, Lima JA, Bluemke DA. Extracoronary abnormalities on coronary magnetic resonance angiography in the multiethnic study of atherosclerosis study: frequency and clinical significance. J Comput Assist Tomogr, Sep-Oct; 33(5):752-4, 2009. PubMed PMID: 19820506.

Turkbey EB, Jorgensen NW, Johnson C, Bertoni AG, Polak JF, Diez Roux AV, Tracy RP, Lima JA, Bluemke DA. Physical Activity and Physiologic Cardiac Remodeling in a Community Setting: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Heart, Oct 26; [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 19858139, 2009.

El Khouli RH, Macura KJ, Barker PB, Habba MR, Jacobs MA, Bluemke DA. Relationship of temporal resolution to diagnostic performance for dynamic contrast enhanced MRI of the breast. J Magn Reson Imaging, Nov; 30(5):999-1004. PubMed PMID: 19856413, 2009.

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Laboratory Description

Construction of the Molecular Biomedical Imaging Laboratory was completed in 2010, and measures approximately 1,500 sq. ft. IThe laboratory is adjacent to the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences clinical imaging facilities routinely used by MBIL staff . These include 1.5 and 3T MRI , dual source and volume (320 slice) multidetector CT scanners, and multislice integrated PET-CT. Our resources include multiple workstations with advanced image processing software for the analysis of biomedical images in both cancer and cardiovascular disease.

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Ongoing Research

Evaluation of myocardial fibrosis in patients with heart failure

More than 9% of American men, and close to 5% of women, aged 60 to 79 years, report a diagnosis of heart failure. Above the age of 80 years, these figures increase to 13.8% and 12.2%, respectively. Projection into the middle part of this century suggests that, as the population ages, the prevalence and cost of heart failure will continue to rise. The primary aim of this proposal is to investigate noninvasive imaging methods for quantifying diffuse myocardial fibrosis with cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) in heart failure patients. The secondary aims are to investigate the association between diffuse fibrosis detected by CMR with left ventricular function, and to examination the utility of MDCT in detecting diffusion myocardial fibrosis. (Protocol 10-CC-0153)

Randomized Trial of Imaging Versus Risk Factor Based Therapy for Plaque Regression

The overall aim of this proposal is to compare the effectiveness of an image-guided approach to lipid lowering to standard therapy guided by clinical risk factors and blood lipid levels. Men and women over age 55 who are candidates for statin therapy will be randomized to usual cholesterol lowering care, or to care guided by MRI images of the carotid arteries. Participants randomized to the second, imaging guided, group will be assigned to LDL cholesterol targets according to the degree of atherosclerosis seen by MRI. The study endpoints will be the total degree of plaque regression seen, the dosage of statin drugs required to achieve that reduction, and the rate of cardiovascular events.

Using Genetics for Early Phenotyping and Prevention of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

A unique opportunity presented by discovering the genetic basis of human heart disease is accurate prediction and prevention of disease. By identifying at-risk individuals prior to clinical diagnosis and developing novel therapies to delay, attenuate, or prevent phenotypic expression, genetic discoveries can change medicine. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) provides a paradigm for realizing this opportunity. HCM is caused by sarcomere gene mutations and is the most common genetic cardiovascular disorder. It is characterized clinically by left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), diastolic dysfunction, and increased risk for arrhythmias, sudden death, and heart failure. This protocol is a multicenter observational study to comprehensively characterize preclinical HCM, overt HCM (G+/LVH+= positive control population), and normal controls (G-/LVH-) in order to identify reliable phenotypes of early disease development and potential surrogate endpoints to monitor treatment response. Through these efforts, we will establish the prerequisites for effective translation of basic discoveries to anticipated future human clinical trials to prevent or modify the development of HCM. The MBIL will serve to coordinate and organize cardiovascular MRI aspects of the trial, including protocols, data base and analysis of patient studies. (Protocol OHSR #5125)

Evaluation of myocardial scar, tissue composition and ventricular function in multi-center trials: The Multi-Ethnic-Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) is a study of asymptomatic individuals recruited between July 2000 and August 2002. 6,814 men and women who identified themselves as white, African-American, Hispanic, or Chinese and were 45 to 84 years old and free of clinically apparent cardiovascular disease were evaluated at six US communities: Baltimore, Chicago, Forsyth County, North Carolina; Los Angeles County, California; Northern Manhattan and the Bronx, New York; and St. Paul, Minnesota. Participants underwent cardiovascular MRI, CT scan, carotid ultrasound, serologic and genetic testing at baseline. Participants will be studied over a 2 year period beginning in 2010 with similar tests, including cardiovascular MRI for myocardial fibrosis, LV function and structure as well as regional function. The MBIL will be participating with the primary reading center at Johns Hopkins (Dr. Joao Lima, MD PI) to design and implement the cardiovascular MRI protocol and to evaluate the MRI studies of approximately 4000 individuals in this study at the 6 field centers. The effort is part of the MBIL’s research in the structural and tissue evaluation of the myocardium. (Protocol OHSR #5170)

The Epidemiology of Diabetes Intervention and Complication (EDIC)

This study includes approximately 1000 individuals with type 1 diabetes at 28 centers in the United States. The MBI is working with the Johns Hopkins MRI reading center (Joao Lima, MD, PI) to evaluate the structure and function of the left ventricle in these patients. Current efforts involve the evaluation of cardiac MRI studies with particular emphasis on the relationship between myocardial tissue fibrosis and left ventricular function.

Evaluation of novel imaging techniques in breast cancer evaluation

Breast cancer affects approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States. Typical diagnosis consists of mammography, biopsy, and clinical breast evaluation. The MBIL is interested in novel methods to detect and characterize early breast cancer. In particular, MRI technology is commonly applied for evaluation of early disease. Our interests in diffusion imaging and spectroscopy complement current methods for 3-D dynamic contrast enhanced evaluation of breast tissue.

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MBIL Staff

Songtao Liu, MD, Staff Scientist
Chris Sibley, MD, Staff Clinician 

MBIL Selected Publications

Turkbey, E.B., McClelland, R.L., Kronmal, R.A., Burke, G.L., Bild, D.E., Tracy, R.P., Arai, A.E., Lima, J.A.C., Bluemke, D.A. The Impact of Obesity on the Left Ventricle. The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. (MESA) JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, 3(3), pp. 266-274, 2010.

Turkbey, E.B., Jorgensen, N.W., Johnson, W.C., Bertoni, A.G., Polak, J.F., Diez Roux, A.V., Tracy, R.P., Lima, J.A.C., Bluemke, D.A. Physical activity and physiological cardiac remodelling in a community setting: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) Heart, 96(1), pp. 42-48, 2010.

El Khouli, R.H., Macura, K.J., Barker, P.B., Habba, M.R., Jacobs, M.A., Bluemke, D.A. Relationship of temporal resolution to diagnostic performance for dynamic contrast enhanced MRI of the breast. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 30(5), pp. 999-1004, 2009.

El Khouli, R.H., Macura, K.J., Jacobs, M.A., Khalil, T.H., Kamel, I.R., Dwyer, A., Bluemke, D.A. Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI of the breast: Quantitative method for kinetic curve type assessment. American Journal of Roentgenology, 193(4), pp. W295-W300, 2009.

El Khouli, R.H., Macura, K.J., Barker, P.B., Elkady, L.M., Jacobs, M.A., Vogel-Claussen, J., Bluemke, D.A. MRI-guided vacuum-assisted breast biopsy: A phantom and patient evaluation of targeting accuracy. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 30(2), pp. 424-429, 2009.

El Khouli, R.H., Louie, A. Case of the Season: A Giant Fibroadenoma in the Guise of a Phyllodes Tumor; Characterization Role of MRI. Seminars in Roentgenology, 44(2), pp. 64-66, 2009.

Turkbey, E.B., Dombroski, D.A. Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Techniques and Clinical Applications. Seminars in Roentgenology, 44(2), pp. 67-83, 2009.

El Khouli, R.H., Jacobs, M.A., Bluemke, D.A. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Breast. Seminars in Roentgenology, 43(4), pp. 265-281, 2008.

El-Khouli, R.H., Geschwind, J.-F.H., Bluemke, D.A., Kamel, I.R. Solitary fibrous tumor of the liver: Magnetic resonance imaging evaluation and treatment with transarterial chemoembolization. Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography, 32(5), pp. 769-771, 2008.

Shehata, M.L., Turkbey, E.B., Vogel-Claussen, J., Bluemke, D.A. Role of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in assessment of nonischemic cardiomyopathiesel. Topics in Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 19 (1), pp. 43-57, 2008.

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Last Updated On 10/13/2011