Robert F. Mattrey, M.D., is Professor of Radiology and the Advanced Imaging Research Center (AIRC) at UT Southwestern, whose clinical interests include extracting physiological data from clinical images, particularly when using ultrasound.

Our clinician-scientist program has 10 MDs with solid research background, six of whom are grant-funded — that's impressive.

After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo, Dr. Mattrey completed his residency training in diagnostic radiology at the University of California – San Diego (UCSD), where he served as chief resident. He received fellowship training in computed tomography, ultrasound and interventional radiology also at UCSD, and then joined the faculty in Body Imaging in 1982. He advanced through the ranks to become Professor of Radiology in 1991.

Dr. Mattrey began his research career while still a resident in 1979, and received his first National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 Research Project Grant award in July 1983 after he discovered that perfluorocarbon emulsions served as effective ultrasound contrast agents. He has been continually funded since that time, receiving 28 NIH grants as principal investigator (PI) or co-PI, including an NCI Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08). His research support peaked in 2010 at $2.6M/year on eight active awards, a rare accomplishment for a clinician-scientist in radiology.

He joined the faculty at UT Southwestern in July 2015. He was recruited to develop a translational ultrasound research program funded by a Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Established Investigator Award providing $6 million over five years. He recruited four basic scientists and is developing collaborations with other UT Southwestern basic and clinical scientists. The main focus of Dr. Mattrey’s research is contrast media in general and molecular imaging in particular, with emphasis on ultrasound solutions. Once tumors are detected, the use of specific ultrasound instrumentation can then take advantage of the presence of the contrast agent to treat tumors directly or by enhancing drug and/or gene delivery. Over the past 20 years, he has translated several agents from concept through preclinical validation to the clinic, including multicenter trials, with two of these receiving approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Leadership and service at a national level

Dr. Mattrey is an active member of numerous national and international societies, and has had a long record of service on various committees. Of particular note was his service as president of the Association of University Radiologists (AUR) in 1999. In 2001, he co-founded the Radiology Research Alliance (RRA) to promote the research mission of the AUR, and served as its president from 2002 to 2003. Both organizations subsequently recognized him with their highest honors, the AUR Gold Medal and the RRA Innovation and Leadership Award. His impactful contribution to science resulted in Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Society of Abdominal Radiology and the International Contrast Media Research group of academic and industrial scientists.

Dr. Mattrey is frequently invited to lecture at professional conferences, educational symposia and scientific meetings throughout the United States and around the world. In addition to authoring or co-authoring more than 130 peer-reviewed research articles, a textbook, and 65 book chapters and invited manuscripts, Dr. Mattrey also serves as a reviewer for an array of scientific journals, including Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, Arthritis & Rheumatism, Radiology, Cancer Research, Biomaterials, ACS-Nano, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Training a new generation of clinician-scientists

At UCSD, Dr. Mattrey developed a clinician-scientist training program in radiology that he directed for 12 years, and was awarded a T32 training grant to fund this effort with a successful competitive renewal in 2013. He is developing a similar program at UT Southwestern. He has also served as a primary advisor to graduate students and postdoctoral trainees in bioengineering, nanotechnology, and material science and was funded as the corresponding PI on an NIH-R25 to cross-train pre- and postdoctoral trainees in biological and physical sciences that was also renewed prior to leaving UCSD. He currently spends one day per week on the clinical ultrasound service and is mentoring residents and junior faculty. His continued clinical exposure has strengthened his position as a translational clinician scientist by continually refining his research objectives and has afforded him the opportunity to directly interact with residents and to serve as a role model for research-oriented residents.


Medical School
American Univ of Beirut School of Medicine (1976)
Medical School
State University of New York at Buffalo (1978)
University of California, San Diego (1981), Diagnostic Radiology
University of California, San Diego (1982), Ultrasound

Honors & Awards

  • Innovation and Leadership Award
    Radiology Research Alliance (2015)
  • Council of Distinguished Investigators
    Academy of Radiology Research (2014)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
    Society of Abdominal Radiology (2014)
  • A.E. James Lecturer
    Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (2009)
  • Gold Medal Award
    Association of University Radiologists (2007)
  • Harry Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award
    International Contrast Media Research (2007)
  • Herbert Stauffer Award
    Academic Radiology (2005)
  • Cum Laude Award for Scientific Exhibit
    Radiological Society of North America (2002)
  • Magna Cum Laude Award for Scientific Exhibit
    American Society of Neuroradiology (2002)
  • Career Development Award
    NIH Research (1998)
  • Cum Laude Award for Outstanding Scientific Paper
    Society of Computed Body Tomography/Magnetic Resonance Imaging (1998)
  • First Place
    European Society of Uroradiology (1996)
  • Resident Memorial Award for Outstanding Research
    Association of University Radiologists (1990)
  • Physician-Investigator Development Award
    National Institutes of Health (1984)
  • Resident Memorial Award for Outstanding Research
    Association of University Radiologists (1982)
  • Fellow
    American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine
  • Fellow
    Society of Uroradiology
  • Fellow
    Society of Abdominal Radiology

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine
  • Association of University Radiologists
  • Radiological Society of North America
  • San Diego Radiologic Society
  • Society of Abdominal Radiology
  • Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
  • Society of Molecular Imaging
  • Society of Uroradiology