You are here: Lenkinski Lab»Meet The PI

Meet The PI

Dr. Robert Lenkinski was born in a refugee camp in Germany in 1947. In 1950 his parents emigrated to Toronto Canada where he finished his elementary school, high school and University education. After graduation from the University of Toronto, he was trained as a chemist and performed his doctoral work at the University of Houston focusing on the use of lanthanide shift reagents in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). As part of this work, he determined the mechanism of how the paramagnetic lanthanides produced so-called lanthanide induced shifts in organic solution. During a post-doctoral fellowship at the Weizmann Institute of Science, he continued to study of the effects that lanthanide ions had in aqueous solution. Part of this work involved determining the mechanisms by which these lanthanides shortened NMR relaxation times of water and other ligands. Although this work was carried out between 1970 and 1975, the approaches and results are relevant to understanding the behavior of Gadolinium based contrast agents in MRI and the potential utility of PARACEST agents that are currently being developed in collaboration with Dean Sherry at UTSW. Dr. Lenkinski continued to work on lanthanides at the University of Alabama in Birmingham and at the University of Guelph in Canada.

In 1986, Dr. Lenkinski was recruited to the MRI section in the Department of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania, despite have no formal training in MRI. While the notion of me working in a Radiology Department seemed a bit odd a first, he recognized the potential to have impact through his science on a different level. Charged with a primary goal to create and implement in vivo MR spectroscopy of clinical whole body scanners, he developed a clinical MR neuro-spectroscopy program that resulted in a number of grants and publications in HIV, schizophrenia, head trauma, brain tumors, lead exposure and MS. His group was one of the first to apply proton MRS to the characterization of breast lesions. While the majority of this work was carried out at 1.5T, studies were also pursued at 4T, offering theoretical advantages for MRS studies, but requiring intense efforts for its optimization. As the group was one of the first to receive a whole body GE 4T scanner Dr. Lenkinski’s team also carried out early studies on Na-23 MR imaging . While at the University of Pennsylvania he was also fortunate to also participate in the development of several organ specific MR coils including an endo-rectal coil for imaging of the prostate, a multi-coil array for imaging of the shoulder, and a bilateral array for imaging breasts. This work lead to an ability to image organs and structures with spatial resolution that was previously impossible to achieve in reasonable scan times. In these pursuits he worked closely with many clinicians in establishing translational programs that applied technical advances in MRI and MRS to study human disease. In this respect, Dr. Lenkinski has served as a program builder who can provide expertise in the context of interdisciplinary teams, and, in the appropriate cases, lead these efforts.

In 1999, Dr. Lenkinski was recruited to the Department of Radiology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He assumed the position of Director of Experimental Radiology and the Director of a 3T MRI/MRS program. He worked closely with GE on the development of a 3T scanner that had the first commercial RF body coils at this field strength. He recruited a team of technical investigators who demonstrated that improved image quality could be obtained at 3T. This team in collaboration with GE scientists collected the clinical data used in an FDA submission for approval of body imaging at 3T. In 2000, Dr. Rofsky was recruited to the position of Director of MRI at the BIDMC with a key part of his mission to facilitate making 3T imaging a clinical reality. Dr. Lenkinski worked closely with Dr. Rofsky to accomplish that mission and during the 10 years working together they built an MRI division that spanned technical development, translational research, and first-rate clinical body MRI. Perhaps the best example of this effort is the interdisciplinary program in prostate MRI. Major accomplishments included developing an endo-rectal coil at 3T, implementing and assessing DCEMRI at 3T for the prostate, correlation of MRI/MRS with a whole mount pathology program and beginning a program for determining the relationship between gene-expression profiles and MR features of prostate cancer. In addition to these clinical/translational programs, Dr. Lenkinski, together with Dr. John V. Frangioni, established a small animal imaging facility ( and a molecular imaging program ( In building these three programs, he involved investigators from many diverse disciplines and departments.


Dr. Lenkinski pictured with the GE 3T Scanner.

In 2011, Dr. Lenkinski was recruited to the Department of Radiology at UTSW Medical Center. He assumed the position of Vice-chair of Research. Dr. Lenkinski was awarded a “Missing Link” award by CPRIT ( This award carries with it the designation of a CPRIT Cancer Scholar in Residence. He was named both the Charles A. and Elizabeth Ann Sanders Chair in Translational Researchand the Jan and Bob Pickens Distinguished Professorship in Medical Science. Dr. Lenkinski has initiated several new research projects at UTSW that are described under the research tab.

Outside the lab, Dr. Lenkinski enjoys golf, reading, classical and contemporary music, and spending time with his family. He is married to Yael, who is a licensed social worker. Bob and Yael have two daughters, Libby and Ori who are both adults. They also have a granddaughter named Louie (daughter of Ori) whose company they enjoy.

Dr. Lenkinski’s major achievements in include:

  1. Being one of the four co-inventors of the endo-rectal coil for MR imaging of prostate disease (1-4). This coil is currently marketed by Medrad and is the standard of care in prostate MR throughout the world.
  2. Building a multi-coil array for MR imaging of breast cancer. Using this coil for MR imaging and localized MR spectroscopy of breast lesions to improve the diagnostic accuracy of lesion characterization (5-9).
  3. Implementing dynamic contrast enhanced MRI of the prostate at 1.5 and 3T in order to improve staging and detection of prostate cancer (10-16).
  4. Showing the potential for correlating genetic expression profiles with phenotypes of human prostate cancer (17-21).
  5. Developing multi-modality, targeted contrast agents for imaging malignant micro-calcifications in human breast cancer (22-25).
  6. Establishing an interdisciplinary carbon-13 hyper-polarization NMR program at the BIDMC for “pathway specific” metabolic imaging in Oncology.
  7. Began MRI program in characterizing suspicious lung nodules (26,27).
  8. Initiated a multi-modality (PET/MRI) preclinical imaging program.

Ori Lenkinski’s daughter, the Lenkinski’s first grandchild, named Louie.


Dr. Lenkinski (middle) with his two daughters, Libby (left) and Ori (right).


Dr. Lenkinski’s wife Yael (middle) and two daughters. Ori (younger, left) and Libby (older, right). Ori lives in Tel Aviv Israel, with her husband and daughter. Libby lives in New York.



  1. Lenkinski RE, Pollack HM, Schnall MD, Kressel HY. Inflatable Intracavitary Coil For High-Resolution Mr Imaging Of The Prostate – Preliminary Experience. American Journal of Roentgenology. 1988 Jul;151(1):209-.
  2. Schnall MD, Lenkinski RE, Pollack HM, Imai Y, Kressel HY. Prostate – Mr Imaging With An Endorectal Surface Coil. Radiology. 1989 Aug;172(2):570-4.
  3. Schnall MD, Imai Y, Tomaszewski J, Pollack HM, Lenkinski RE, Kressel HY. Prostate-Cancer – Local Staging With Endorectal Surface Coil Mr Imaging. Radiology. 1991 Mar;178(3):797-802.
  4. Schiebler ML, Schnall MD, Pollack HM, Lenkinski RE, Tomaszewski JE, Wein AJ, Whittington R, Rauschning W, Kressel HY. Current Role Of Mr-Imaging In The Staging Of Adenocarcinoma Of The Prostate. Radiology. 1993 Nov;189(2):339-52.
  5. Greenman RL, Schnall MD, Connick TJ, Lenkinski RE, Foo TK. Bilateral Breast Imaging With Separate Interleaved 3d Volumes And Dynamically Switched Multiple Receiver Coils. Radiology. 1995 Nov;197:288-.
  6. Greenman RL, Lenkinski RE, Schnall MD. Bilateral imaging using separate interleaved 3D volumes and dynamically switched multiple receive coil arrays. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 1998 Jan;39(1):108-15.
  7. Roebuck JR, Cecil KM, Schnall MD, Lenkinski RE. Human breast lesions: Characterization with proton MR spectroscopy. Radiology. 1998 Oct;209(1):269-75.
  8. Cecil KM, Schnall MD, Siegelman ES, Lenkinski RE. The evaluation of human breast lesions with magnetic resonance imaging and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 2001 Jul;68(1):45-54.
  9. Katz-Brull R, Lavin PT, Lenkinski RE. Clinical utility of proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in characterizing breast lesions. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2002 Aug;94(16):1197-203.
  10. Sosna J, Lenkinski RE, Mahallati H, Rofsky NM. Initial experience with torso phased array 3-Tesla imaging of the prostate. Radiology. 2002 Nov;225:351-.
  11. Bloch BN, Rofsky NM, Baroni RH, Marquis RP, Pedrosa I, Lenkinski RE. 3 Tesla magnetic resonance Imaging of the prostate with combined pelvic phased-array and endorectal coils: Initial experience. Academic Radiology. 2004 Aug;11(8):863-7.
  12. Sosna J, Pedrosa I, Dewolf WC, Mahallati H, Lenkinski RE, Rofsky NM. MR imaging of the prostate at 3 Tesla: Comparison of an external phased-array coil to imaging with an endorectal coil at 1.5 Tesla. Academic Radiology. 2004 Aug;11(8):857-62.
  13. Bloch BN, Furman-Haran E, Helbich TH, Lenkinski RE, Degani H, Kratzik C, Susani M, Haitel A, Jaromi S, Ngo L, Rofsky NM. Prostate cancer: Accurate determination of extracapsular extension with high-spatial-resolution dynamic contrast-enhanced and T2-weighted MR imaging – Initial results. Radiology. 2007 Oct;245(1):176-85.
  14. Bloch BN, Lenkinski RE, Rofsky NM. The role of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in prostate cancer imaging and staging at 1.5 and 3 Tesla: The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) approach. Cancer Biomarkers. 2008;4(4-5):251-62.
  15. McMahon CJ, Bloch BN, Lenkinski RE, Rofsky NM. Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced MR Imaging in the Evaluation of Patients with Prostate Cancer. Magnetic Resonance Imaging Clinics of North America. 2009 May;17(2):363-+.
  16. Eyal E, Bloch BN, Rofsky NM, Furman-Haran E, Genega EM, Lenkinski RE, Degani H. Principal Component Analysis of Dynamic Contrast Enhanced MRI in Human Prostate Cancer. Investigative Radiology. 2010 Apr;45(4):174-81.
  17. Gaston SM, Soares M, Brice M, Vu D, Upton M, Rosen S, Genega E, Lenkinski RE, Dewolf WC. Prostate capsule tissue prints detect a collagen fragment fingerprint that is positively correlated with the gleason grade of the tumor beneath the capsule. Journal of Urology. 2003 Apr;169(4):1141.
  18. Gaston SM, Rogg JG, Vu D, Lee JM, Goldner DL, Genega EM, Lenkinski RE, De Wolf WC. Gene expression profiles that underlie the biological events visualized by magnetic resonance spectra (MRS) of human prostate cancer: Choline kinase. Journal of Urology. 2004 Apr;171(4):221-2.
  19. Gaston SM, Soares MA, Siddiqui MM, Vu D, Lee JM, Goldner DL, Brice MJ, Shih JC, Upton MP, Perides G, Baptista J, Lavin PT, Bloch BN, Genega EM, Rubin MA, Lenkinski RE. Tissue-print and print-phoresis as platform technologies for the molecular analysis of human surgical specimens: mapping tumor invasion of the prostate capsule. Nature Medicine. 2005 Jan;11(1):95-101.
  20. Gaston SM, Bloch BN, Rofsky NM, Guerra AL, Trejo G, Rubin MA, Lenkinski RE. MRI-visible phenotypes of human prostate cancer: Gene expression profiles of DCE-MRI positive tumors. Journal of Urology. 2007 Apr;177(4):563-.
  21. Lenkinski RE, Bloch BN, Liu F, Frangioni JV, Perner S, Rubin MA, Genega EM, Rofsky NM, Gaston SM. An illustration of the potential for mapping MRI/MRS parameters with genetic over-expression profiles in human prostate cancer. Magnetic Resonance Materials in Physics Biology and Medicine. 2008 Nov;21(6):411-21.
  22. Lenkinski RE, Ahmed M, Zaheer A, Frangioni JV, Goldberg SN. Near-infrared fluorescence imaging of microcalcification in an animal model of breast cancer. Academic Radiology. 2003 Oct;10(10):1159-64.
  23. Bhushan KR, Misra P, Liu F, Mathur S, Lenkinski RE, Frangioni JV. Detection of Breast Cancer Microcalcifications Using a Dual-modality SPECT/NIR Fluorescent Probe. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2008 Dec;130(52):17648-17650.
  24. Liu FB, Bloch N, Bhushan KR, De Grand AM, Tanaka E, Solazzo S, Mertyna PM, Goldberg N, Frangioni JV, Lenkinski RE. Humoral Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2 Is Sufficient for Inducing Breast Cancer Microcalcification. Molecular Imaging. 2008 Jul-Aug;7(4):175-86.
  25. Liu FB, Misra P, Lunsford EP, Vannah JT, Liu YX, Lenkinski RE, Frangioni JV. A dose- and time-controllable syngeneic animal model of breast cancer microcalcification. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 2010 Jul;122(1):87-94.
  26. Tokuda J, Mamata H, Gill RR, Hata N, Kikinis R, Padera RF, Jr., Lenkinski RE, Sugarbaker DJ, Hatabu H. Impact of nonrigid motion correction technique on pixel-wise pharmacokinetic analysis of free-breathing pulmonary dynamic contrast-enhanced MR imaging. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2011; 33(4):968-73.
  27. Mamata H, Tokuda J, Gill RR, Padera RF, Lenkinski RE, Sugarbaker DJ, Butler JP, Hatabu H. Clinical application of pharmacokinetic analysis as a biomarker of solitary pulmonary nodules: Dynamic contrast-enhanced MR imaging. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2012;68(5):1614-22.