MRI Pioneer Receives International Honor for Career Achievements
July 20, 2015
Dr. Dean Sherry
Dr. Dean Sherry, professor of chemistry and holder of the Cecil H. and Ida Green Distinguished Chair in Systems Biology at UT Dallas, recently received the Gold Medal Award from the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) for his career-long research contributions to the field of nuclear magnetic resonance.
One of UT Dallas’ most distinguished faculty members, Sherry is a pioneer in the development and use of molecules that can be used as tracers in the body to study physiology and diagnose disease. Used in conjunction with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), such molecules allow researchers and physicians to visualize tumors in the body or track biological processes.
“What I have accomplished in my career is a very small part of the advancement of the field,” Sherry said. “The success of MRI takes a lot of people making small contributions that add up to something big.”
Sherry said that the term “MRI” has become a pervasive part of society, and most people associate the term with advanced medical care. Instead of using X-rays to create an image of the body’s interior, magnetic resonance creates high-quality images through the combination of a strong magnetic field and radio waves.
“Magnetic resonance imaging is such a powerful tool. Magnet technology and techniques for imaging are getting better,” Sherry said. “As technology continues to improve, MRI will become more and more important in clinical medicine, and hopefully will become less expensive, so that more patients will have access to it and benefit from it.”
“The whole field has grown so much. To be recognized with the Gold Award from among such a large and diverse group of professionals is truly an honor.”
Sherry attended the first meeting of the predecessor society of the ISMRM in 1982 and has witnessed the growth of the organization over the years.
“At that time, MRI was just beginning to enter the clinics, and most people at that meeting were studying more fundamental processes,” he said.
Today, the ISMRM includes more than 8,000 professionals from 58 countries, including academics, researchers and clinicians, private practitioners, regulatory and governmental agencies, and representatives from related industries.
“The whole field has grown so much. To be recognized with the Gold Award from among such a large and diverse group of professionals is truly an honor,” Sherry said.
Sherry joined the UT Dallas faculty in 1972 and helped establish a new chemistry department on the young campus. In his 40-year career, he has published more than 400 research papers. He holds more than 30 patents and founded a UT Dallas spin-off company called Macrocyclics that produces specialized chemical compounds used in research. He also has mentored more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, and oversees the Green Fellows Program, which allows UT Dallas undergraduates to conduct laboratory research at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
In addition to his UT Dallas faculty appointment, Sherry is also a professor of radiology and director of the Advanced Imaging Research Center at UT Southwestern.