Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the safest and most effective diagnostic imaging modality today. Whether cancer, heart disease or mental disorders, there are few diseases that can’t benefit from diagnosis and therapy tracking using MRI. According to the World Health Organization, however, 90% of the world has no access to MRI. The reasons are related to the cost, complexity and dependency on modern infrastructure placing MRI beyond the reach of most of the world’s populations. In this lecture, the vision and the feasibility of a low cost and compact MRI imaging system will be shared in detail. The reinvention of the machine and imaging methods with the help of the NIH + NSF BRAIN Initiative in the USA will be presented. The future with such a MRI scanner system that is more accessible to the world will be pictured.


Professor Thomas Vaughan is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute in the University of Columbia. He is the Director of Magnetic Resonance Research in the university to launch a new university-wide initiative to develop and apply MR methods and technologies to advance biomedical research and clinical diagnostics in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, at the Zuckerman Mind, Brain, Behavior Institute, and at the Columbia University Medical Center.

Before joining the University of Columbia, Vaughan worked in the University of Minnesota where he held the Quist-Henline Chair in Biomedical Research, and was the Director of Engineering at the Center of Magnetic Resonance Research, with appointments in Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering.

Vaughan has enjoyed a thirty-year career in academic research at UT Southwestern, U. Alabama Birmingham, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard, and U. Minnesota.  In addition to the research centers he has helped to found and build at these institutions,his achievements are recorded in 120 articles, a number of books and chapters, and 45 patents.

Thomas Vaughan is a Fellow in IEEE and ISMRM societies, on the editorial board of NMR in Biomedicine, active in the NIH and journal peer review, and CTO of two small biotech businesses.