ORLANDO, Florida – April 25, 2022 – At this year’s Conference for Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (ENC), the Guenther Laukien Prize was awarded to Professor Michael Garwood of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Professor Garwood is probably best known for his contributions to the development of frequency-modulated (FM) pulses, which includes adiabatic pulses. Notably, he expanded the theory used to understand and derive new types of FM pulses, which has led to popular pulse shapes and to adiabatic pulses that enable any desired flip angle to be produced even when B1 is spatially nonuniform. The Guenther Laukien Prize is awarded annually at the Experimental NMR Conference (ENC) to recognize ‘cutting-edge magnetic resonance research with a high probability of enabling beneficial new applications’.
After obtaining bachelor’s degrees in biology and chemistry (with honors) in 1981 from the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), Garwood stayed on to obtain a PhD in chemistry. He did his PhD research in the laboratory of Prof. Thomas Schleich, who early on astutely recognized the emerging utility of NMR to non-destructively study metabolism and microstructure of intact tissues. The early 1980s were a time of excitement in Schleich’s lab, due to two recent breakthroughs: the invention of MRI (Lauterbur) and of surface coil probes (Ackerman et al.). As a graduate student, Garwood performed in vivo, spatially-localized MRS using a surface coil. Garwood then made improvements to Hoult’s rotating frame zeugmatography (RFZ) and developed an accelerated version of RFZ known as Fourier series window.
For the past 26 years, Professor Garwood and his team have focused on developing cutting-edge MRI and MR spectroscopy techniques and on exploiting them in studies of tissue function, metabolism, and microstructure. An emphasis has been on identifying and validating quantitative metrics to assess normal and disease states non-invasively with imaging, and on applying them to learn about metabolism, hemodynamics, and tissue micro-environment. Several methods from the Garwood team are currently in pre-clinical and clinical trials (lung, breast, and brain cancers; Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis) in collaboration with other faculty at the University of Minnesota and elsewhere.
Professor Garwood and his collaborators have a long track record of using advanced techniques to study brain, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases. In an international collaboration with 5 other laboratories, Professor Garwood is currently leading an effort to develop a high magnetic field, portable MRI scanner. The goal is to increase access of underserved populations to high field MRI, for improving human health and medical care worldwide. Professor Garwood has published over 200 scientific articles, reviews, and book chapters and is an inventor on 35 patents. Among his awards and honors, in 2007 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, and in 2016 he was inducted into the Academy of Medical Device Innovators, Institute of Engineering in Medicine, at the University of Minnesota.
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