Prof. Mehmet Akçakaya has been named McKnight Land-Grant Professor for his work on “Transforming Healthcare and Biomedical Sciences with Fast High-Precision Magnetic Resonance Imaging.” He is one of nine recipients of the McKnight Land-Grant Professorship Program for 2018-20.
His research is inter-disciplinary in nature, and lies at the intersection of signal processing, computational imaging, machine learning and MRI physics. Prof. Akçakaya’s contributions to these fields include theoretical guarantees for sparse signal processing, new reconstruction methods that learn anatomy-specific structures in MRI, high-precision techniques for quantitative MRI, and subject-specific deep learning MRI reconstruction. His applications focus on heart and brain MRI, and he collaborates with scientists across multiple departments, including the Departments of Radiology, and Cardiology.
Prof. Akçakaya’s work aims to reduce the acquisition duration in MRI, improving patient comfort, allowing improved resolutions, and enabling the visualization of structures that cannot be characterized with the current technology. His lab develops high-precision imaging biomarkers for various anatomies and diseases to improve healthcare, and to answer fundamental questions in biomedical sciences. Undergirded by the philosophy of taking individual variability into account, Prof. Akçakaya’s techniques are well-suited for the era of precision medicine.
He is also a faculty member at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, which plays a leading role in multiple Human Connectome Projects that seek to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain in health and disease. The techniques that Prof. Akçakaya has developed have been used to image more than 300 patients in multiple centers, and his patents have been licensed by major MRI vendors. His research group has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).
The McKnight Land-Grant Professorship Program was established to advance the careers of new assistant professors at a crucial point in their professional lives. The designation of “McKnight Land-Grant Professor” is held by recipients for a two-year period.