A lot of things go on behind the scenes at Cincinnati Children’s to make it so successful. A Very Important Person involved in that process is our clinical MRI physicist, Jean Tkach, Ph.D. She is the “glue” that holds us together. Jean works closely with MRI manufacturers, technologists, and radiologists. She makes sure that our jobs run smoothly. She is a brilliant, humble scientist who translates complicated physics to technologists. She also fine-tunes sequences to adjust to how the radiologists would like to see the images. In moment’s notice, Jean is readily available to guide and support us.
Jean obtained her undergraduate degree in electrical/biomedical engineering from Duke University. She then furthered her education at Case Western Reserve University, earning her master of science degree and Ph.D. While there, Jean became passionate in signal processing (an area of electrical engineering). All of the stars aligned when Jean was able utilize her signal processing skills on a research project with an early pioneer in medical MRI, Mark Haake, Ph.D. Jean says she “had the opportunity to work with many of the luminaries in the field of medical MRI, gain some very unique experience and lifelong connections, and contribute to the early development of the application of MRI in medicine.”
We not only have the best equipment on the market, but the most experienced people for the job at Cincinnati Children’s. When new equipment is purchased, Jean is critical in implementing our scan techniques and processes to produce the best quality images for our pediatric population. She provides valuable insights on precise scan parameters and the proper use of MRI coils. Overall, Jean is a wealth of knowledge, and she is a gracious leader in the field of MRI.
When asked what she likes best about her job, she responded that she likes “the people and the mission. There is always something new to learn; it’s dynamic—not the same old thing.” She says that although she loves the technical/scientific side, she also loves the people and the value her ability brings to pediatrics to advance the understanding of diseases and therapies. Jean says her job is a perfect mix for her, as it enables her to stay connected to the science, but also allows her to apply methods to have a direct and immediate impact.
In her spare time, Jean claims that she is an “outdoor fanatic.” She enjoys hiking, black-and-white photography, and reading.
Jean is an instrumental asset in the success of our department. Her knowledge and abilities never cease to amaze us. When you bring your child to Cincinnati Children’s Radiology Department, you can be certain that your child will be in the best hands.