Radiology Research

The Pediatric Imaging Research Center (PIRC) is an interdisciplinary research center operated by the Department of Pediatric Radiology at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. The center conducts research in and provides access to state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging technologies related to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in children and young adults.

The PIRC is staffed by pediatric radiologists, research technologists, research engineers, research nurses, research coordinators, systems administrators, research assistants, as well as graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and medical students.

The PIRC provides access to advanced imaging and image post-processing methods for collaborators involved in basic and clinical research at Children's Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine  for the purpose of advancing the research goals of both institutions. Fulfillment of this mission is guided by the following specific aims:

As a core research center, conduct original research in new methods and applications of diagnostic imaging modalities relating to children and young adults.

As a core resource center, provide consultation on and access to state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging techniques to researchers at Children's Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine on a collaborative basis.

The PIRC is divided into five major areas: 

(1) dose reduction and distraction techniques
(2) neuroimaging
(3) cardiac imaging
(4) molecular imaging
(5) interventional radiology

The dose reduction research includes Adaptive Statistical Iterative Reconstruction (ASIR), an adaptive reconstruction imaging technique that can lower dose for CT imaging; the distraction techniques include using a combination of visual and  auditory techniques to promote reduction in the use of sedation for cross-sectional imaging procedures. 

The neuroimaging research includes the application of advanced magnetic resonance (MR) techniques, including MR spectroscopy and diffusion tensor imaging, to study perinatal white matter injury in an NIH-funded study.  Research is also aimed at the development of special neonatal and pediatric coils, development of special MR sequences for pediatric use (i.e. arterial spin labeling perfusion imaging), and advanced MR post-processing techniques. The department also participates in an NCI- (National Cancer Institute–) funded Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium neuroimaging research. Other research efforts are aimed at using advanced MR neuroimaging techniques  to study brain injury related to pediatric stroke, trauma (both accidental and non-accidental), and cardiopulmonary arrest.

Cardiac imaging research is aimed at using advanced MR techniques in the evaluation of pre- and postoperative congenital heart disease, determining normative development ventricular volume and function in children, and using advanced cardiac CT imaging to study anomalous coronary arteries. 

Pediatric interventional research includes studying the use of Botox injections of salivary glands and in cerebral palsy patients, the development of a central venous access registry, and studying the effectiveness of antibiotic-coated catheter tips. 

The interventional research is also focused on the  use of high-resolution volume navigation ultrasound and advanced molecular imaging techniques to guide pediatric interventional procedures. The department also collaborates with the multi-modality micro-imaging center based at the John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center. The department provides collaborative efforts with multiple external clinical and basic science investigators and research projects within the Children's and UPMC community to foster pediatric imaging research.


  • Ashok Panigrahy, MD
  • Stefano Bartoletti, MD, FACR
  • A'Delbert Bowen, MD
  • John Crowley, MD
  • Lynda Flom, MD
  • Judith Joyce, MD
  • Erica Kar, MD, MPH
  • James Mountz, MD, PhD
  • Ashok Muthukrishnan, MD
  • Amisha Jignesh Shah, MD
  • Sameh Sami Ishac Tadros, MD, MSc
  • Kevin Vaughan, MD, PhD


  • Nicole Broda, RT(R) – Lead Interventional Radiology
  • Barbara Clayton, RT(R)(CT) – Lead CT Technologist
  • Michael Czachowski, MBA, CNMT, NCT, PET, ARRT(N), ASCP(N) Supervisor Molecular Imaging
  • Richard Faix, RDMS, RVT, BS – Lead Ultrasound
  • Dana Etzel Hardman, MSN, MBA, RN, CPN – Nursing Educator
  • Kathleen Kapsin, RT(R)(M), MS – Administrative Director
  • Mark Lenkner – Informatics
  • Kathleen Monteverde, BSN, MS – Manager
  • Deborah Salac, RN, BSN – Lead Radiology Nursing
  • Tom Sutcavage, MSIS, RT(R) – Informatics
  • Natalie Sten, MS, CCLS – Radiology Child Life
  • Stefanie Wilkinson, RT(R), BA – Supervisor Diagnostic Radiology
  • Dennis Willaman, RT(R)(MR) – Lead MRI Technologist

Clinical Studies

Epidemiology of Oral Diseases

The Relationship Between Poor Oral Health and Cognitive Impairment in Children and Adolescents Using a Twin Model

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MRI Evaluation Study

MR-Sequence Refining and Establishment of Normal Values by Magnetic Resonance

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MRI Heart Health Study

Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Assess Age-specific Biventricular Volumes and Function in Children without Cardiovascular Abnormalities

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Neonatal Neurocognitive Assessment

Correlation of Neonatal Brain Imaging and Neurocognitive Assessment

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