Hi, I’m Mary Kate Manhard and I recently joined the Imaging Research Center as an assistant professor. I grew up near the mountains of east Tennessee and earned my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering at Clemson University in South Carolina. I decided to come back to Tennessee for graduate school at Vanderbilt University, earning my Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering after researching new methods for quantifying bone fracture risk in patients using MRI. I spent a few years in Boston working as a postdoc at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging before moving to Cincinnati this past summer.
I am an engineer by training and was initially drawn to the medical field for the opportunity I saw to apply technical engineering skills to improve the healthcare of patients. Medical imaging in particular is an area where engineering can really advance the latest diagnostic capabilities, and my research focuses on both accelerated and quantitative MRI approaches. I believe quantitative MRI makes for better, more robust images and imaging metrics, and accelerated acquisitions allow for the flexibility of faster or higher resolution imaging scans. Higher spatial and/or temporal resolution can give more specific information, while faster MRI makes for a better patient experience. Having fast, motion-robust MRI scans is especially helpful in pediatric populations, and Cincinnati Children’s is a great place to move these types of innovations in research into clinical populations where they can really make a difference.
My latest research has been in neuroimaging applications, mostly working on accelerated multiband MRI acquisitions for quantitative perfusion imaging in brain tumors. More recently, we’ve been developing techniques for obtaining a rapid, whole-brain “screening” type acquisition of multiple MRI quantitative maps and image contrasts using a scan that only takes around a minute. This type of acquisition may be really useful when the patient cannot hold still for a long time!
In my free time, I like to get outside – biking, swimming, hiking, skiing, sporting events, you name it. Normally, I love traveling and visiting with my family, but during the pandemic, I have enjoyed spending time with my husband exploring the city or finding new projects around the house. And I’ve even developed a taste for chili with noodles!
I am excited to be joining the Cincinnati Children’s Radiology team!
Mary Kate Manhard, Ph.D., (author); Glenn Miñano, BFA, (editor); Meredith Towbin, (copy editor)