Dr. Joseph A. Helpern is leading a new biomedical imaging initiative at MUSC while also continuing his personal research activities, which focus mainly on using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to investigate neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, stroke, and ADHD.
Dr. Helpern has developed new brain imaging technology called Diffusional Kurtosis Imaging (DKI) to study the micro-architecture of the brain and water diffusion. Using DKI, disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD and epilepsy can be diagnosed in their early stages. Siemens Medical has licensed Dr. Helpern’s DKI technology.
Dr. Helpern has conducted pioneering work in the MRI field since its inception. He was part of a small group of scientists at Baylor College of Medicine who, in 1979, built the largest and most powerful MRI system to date. In 1990, he helped build the first version of the current state-of-the-art 3 Tesla MRI system. Dr. Helpern holds four patents related to imaging techniques. The National Institutes of Health is a major funder of his research.
Dr. Helpern is the North American Editor of NMR in Biomedicine, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Institute for the Study of Aging, the Treasurer of the Executive Committee of the Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference and has served on numerous NIH committees and study sections. He is a recipient of a Shannon Award from NIH in 1993 and the New York State Office of Mental Health Excellence in Research Award in 2000.