Robert Lenkinski, PhD

  • Recruited to: The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Recruited from: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Award: Missing Links

Dr. Robert Lenkinski is a chemist by training. He received his B.Sc. from the University of Toronto in 1968 and completed his PhD in Chemistry in 1973 at the University of Houston. His thesis topic was the use of Lanthanide Chelates as Shift Reagents in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. Dr. Lenkinski was a post-doctoral fellow in the Isotope Department at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. After the completion of his postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Lenkinski began his independent academic research career by focusing on the use of NMR methods to determine the “solution” structures of small peptide hormones and anti-cancer antibiotics.  He was recruited to the faculty of the Department of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania 1986 as an Associate Professor. His research focus shifted to developing a program in clinical in vivo MR spectroscopy and integrating MR spectroscopy with MR imaging. The University of Pennsylvania had one of the first GE whole body 1.5T MR scanners. 

An early application of this integrated MRI/MRS program was in prostate cancer where Dr. Lenkinski was involved in the design and construction of the endo-rectal coil. This coil, which is now marketed by Medrad, has become the standard of care in prostate MR. Dr. Lenkinski also was involved in developing the RF coils and MR pulse sequences for MRI of the breast. This research, started in 1988, included the implementation and validation MRS of the breast. Dr. Lenkinski was promoted to Full-Professor in 1994. The Department of Radiology at Penn installed one of the first 4T whole body scanners in 1995. Dr. Lenkinski led the team that developed a number of 4T applications of MRI and MRS. In 1999, Dr. Lenkinski was recruited as a Full Professor to the Department of Radiology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Harvard Medical School.  At the BIDMC, Dr. Lenkinski headed a team of investigators who developed 3T MRI/MRS applications in body imaging from. Two of the major areas of research continued to be breast and prostate MRI at 3T.   Dr. Lenkinski was recruited to the Department of Radiology as the Vice-Chair for research and Professor of Radiology at UTSW. One of his major research interests continues to be the clinical applications of in vivo Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy.   

Dr. Lenkinski is also developing in vivo multinuclear MR imaging methods, primarily Na-23 at both 3T and 7T A more recent focus has been molecular imaging, involving the development of novel MR, radiotracer, and optical based imaging contrast agents. In this area Dr. Lenkinski has developed an agent that binds to hydroxyapatite, the form of micro-calcification that is predominantly present in human breast cancer.