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Robert E. Lenkinski, Ph.D., is Professor of Radiology and Vice Chair of Radiology Research at UT Southwestern. He holds the Charles A. and Elizabeth Ann Sanders Chair in Translational Research, and the Jan and Bob Pickens Distinguished Professorship in Medical Science, in Memory of Jerry Knight Rymer and Annette Brannon Rymer and Mr. and Mrs. W.L. Pickens.

Born in a refugee camp in Germany in 1947, Dr. Lenkinski emigrated with his parents to Toronto, Canada, in 1950. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Toronto, and earned his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Houston. He then received advanced training at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel through a postdoctoral fellowship program in isotope research.

Before joining the faculty at UT Southwestern in 2011, Dr. Lenkinski served as Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School. Earlier academic appointments include Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Houston, Research Assistant Professor of Psychology and Biophysics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Guelph in Canada, and Associate Professor of Radiological Science at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he received his first appointment as Professor.

An array of research interests

A major focus of Dr. Lenkinski’s research involves developing, validating and applying magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRS) and multinuclear imaging methods for the study of human disease. He wants to understand how the metabolic information derived from these methods can aid in the diagnosis, staging and treatment of a variety of pathologies. Current applications involve brain tumors, breast cancer, prostate cancer and renal function.

Dr. Lenkinski is also investigating targeted molecular imaging agents, including lanthanide based MRI relaxation and shift reagents and their conjugation to low-molecular weight ligands and their analogous PET tracers. He wants to develop targeted agents for imaging of micro-calcifications in human breast cancer.

Additional research involves the development and validation of a number of quantitative MRI methods, including arterial spin labeling, dynamic contrast enhanced MRI, and diffusion weighted MRI, for the study of human disease.

A career characterized by innovation

As one of the four co-inventors of the endorectal coil for MR imaging of prostate disease, Dr. Lenkinski has seen it become the standard of care in prostate MR throughout the world. Other career accomplishments include building a multicoil array for MR imaging of breast cancer to improve the diagnostic accuracy of lesion characterization; implementing dynamic contrast enhanced MRI of the prostate to improve staging and detection of prostate cancer; demonstrating the potential for correlating genetic expression profiles with phenotypes of human prostate cancer; developing multimodality, targeted contrast agents for imaging malignant micro-calcifications in human breast cancer; establishing an interdisciplinary carbon-13 hyper-polarization NMR program for “pathway specific” metabolic imaging in oncology; launching an MRI program to characterize suspicious lung nodules; and initiating a multimodality (PET/MRI) preclinical imaging program.

Dr. Lenkinski is an active member of multiple professional societies, including the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, Radiological Society of North America, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Alpha Chi Sigma.

In addition to more than 210 original research articles, Dr. Lenkinski has contributed to 15 textbooks and serves as an editor for Academic Radiology and the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and as a reviewer for Radiology and Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

Personal note

Dr. Lenkinski enjoys playing golf, reading, listening to classical and contemporary music, and spending time with his family.


University of Toronto - Canada (1968), Chemistry
Graduate School
University of Houston-System A (1973), Chemistry

Research Interest

  • Related Publications by Dr. Lenkinski
  • Clinical applications of in vivo magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy
  • In vivo multinuclear MR imaging methods, primarily Na-23
  • Novel MR and optical based imaging contrast agents in molecular imaging


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Honors & Awards

  • CPRIT Cancer Scholar in Residence
    Missing Link Award (2011)
  • Luigi Mastroianni Clinical Innovator Award, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
    Award for the construction of the endo-rectal MR coil for prostate imaging (1999)
  • Fellow
    International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (1997)
  • Member Sigma Xi
    Honorary Scientific Organization (1971)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Alpha Chi Sigma
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
  • Radiological Society of North America