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Section of Neuroradiology Head & Neck





Donald Schomer, M.D.
Section Chief, Professor

Neuroradiology is an integral part of the Division of Diagnostic Imaging and supports all the Multidisciplinary Care Centers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The section of Neuroradiology in partnership with the Brain and Spine Center, the Head and Neck Center, the Brain Tumor Center and Experimental Diagnostic Imaging delivers the highest quality patient care available. Our neuroradiologists participate actively in the clinical oncologic program, as well as collaborate in neurosciences research. A thriving translational research program exists in Neuroradiology in collaboration with the Brain Tumor Center and the Department of Experimental Diagnostic Imaging.

MD Anderson’s Neurosurgery Department is considered one of the best neurosurgical programs in the country with patients from all over the world. Our Neurosurgeons perform on average over 1700 brain and spine surgeries a year. The Neuroradiology section plays a key role in diagnosing a variety of brain tumors that are referred to our Neurosurgeons. Our neuroradiologist also assist the neurosurgeons in preoperative surgical planning of brain tumors, particularly in the Brain Suite.

The 16 neuroradiologists at MD Anderson interpreted 68,316 procedures in 2014. This represents an increase of 11,749 procedures, compared to the 56,567 procedures performed in 2010.

We provide diagnostic and therapeutic services pertaining to the brain, spine, and head and neck. The scope of our responsibilities encompasses diagnostic and interventional procedures using MRI, CT, ultrasound, PET/CT, intra-operative and functional MR imaging. The Computational Neuroimaging Laboratory provides post-image processing and advanced analysis for clinicians throughout MD Anderson.

Neurointerventional Ultrasound (NIR US) Clinic

  • The NIR US Clinic has developed imaging of the soft tissues of the neck to a high level that sets the standard, both nationally and internationally, and includes several diagnostic innovations developed at MD Anderson.
  • Currently, the faculty and staff at the NIR US Clinic perform 11,000 ultrasounds of the soft tissues of the neck and almost 3,000 US guided FNA/CORE biopsies each year. To our knowledge, this is the highest number of ultrasound procedures of the neck done annually compared to other institutions within the United States of America.

Head and Neck Radiology

  • The Head and Neck Radiology program at MD Anderson is unique because of the scope and excellence of our Head and Neck Oncology program. At present, the Head and Neck Cancer program, which integrates Head and Neck Radiation Oncology, Medical Oncology, Speech and Voice, basic science research and Diagnostic Imaging, sees approximately 60-70 new patients each week, spanning the entire gamut of head and neck malignancy. Our  many experienced neuroradiologists participate in all phases of diagnosis and imaging modalities including MRI, CT and PET/CT.
  • We have established a CT imaging criteria to diagnose parathyroid tumors that other institutions are now using as a guideline. In the neuroradiology section, we have leading experts to diagnose tiny parathyroid tumors from the vast experience they have gained having interpreted over 1,000 parathyroid studies over the past years.

Neuroradiology Head & Neck Faculty

Donald Schomer, M.D. - Section Chief of Neuroradiology, Vice Chair of Clinical Operations, Special Assistant to the Chair, Professor
Research Interests: Brain Tumor Imaging, Healthcare Economics

Salmaan Ahmed, M.D. - Associate Professor
Research Interests: Thyroid nodule evaluation, Thyroid cancer imaging, Neck ultrasound and Biopsy, Imaging of Head and Neck cancer

T. Linda Chi, M.D. - Professor
Research Interests: Advanced brain tumor imaging and orbital imaging; vascular diseases; MR and CT imaging quality improvement.

Rivka R. Colen, M.D. - Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Imaging, Imaging genomics, Radiomics, Radiogenomics, Imaging biomarkers, Quantitative analysis, Cancer imaging, Imaging and –omics , Imaging and big data, advanced brain tumor imaging, molecular imaging

J. Matthew Debnam, M.D. - Associate Professor
Research Interests: Ultrasound, CT and MR imaging of the brain, spine and the head and neck, including orbits.

Beth Edeiken-Monroe, M.D. - Professor
Research Interests: Intraoperative ultrasound-guided needle localization for deep soft tissue tumors, transoral sonography using an endocavitary transducer

Lawrence Ginsberg, M.D. - Professor
Research Interests: My research interests center on imaging following treatment of head and neck cancer, including efficacy, diagnosis of recurrences, and treatment-related complications. I am also interested in imaging of perineural tumor spread, and pitfalls in the imaging of head and neck malignancy.

Nandita Guha-Thakurta, M.D. - Associate Professor
Research Interests: Evaluation and investigation of brain, spine, and neck pathology.

Jason Johnson, M.D. - Assistant Professor
Research Interests: PET/CT, advanced CT applications and Translational MRI research

Leena Ketonen, M.D., Ph.D. - Professor
Research Interests: MRI Neuroimaging, use of MRI for pediatric neuroimaging, MRI and anatomy correlation

Ashok J. Kumar, M.D. - Professor
Research Interests: Role of Advanced Brain tumor Imaging in differentiating recurrent Glioma from therapy induced necrosis, Advanced Brain Tumor Imaging for pre- operative surgical planning of Glioma surgery, Imaging features of Metastasis to the Brain treated by Gamma knife radiosurgery, Diffusion Tensor Imaging of the white matter tracts within the brain : Role in Glioma spread, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the brain, role in pre -operative surgical planning, Advanced Tumor Imaging to differentiate recurrent head-neck carcinoma from radiation effect .

Vinodh Kumar, M.D. - Associate Professor
Research Interests: Pre-operative and intra-operative brain tumor mapping, Research related to head and neck tumor imaging

Michael Kwon, M.D., Ph.D. - Associate Professor
Research Interests: Utilizing ultrasound for early detection of primary oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma and lymph node metastasis in patients who have been exposed to human papilloma virus (HPV 16 and 18). Utilizing ultrasound for detecting intra-thyroid parathyroid adenoma.

Dawid Schellingerhout, M.D. - Associate Professor
Research Interests: Molecular Imaging of novel gene and cell based therapies, particularly for Central Nervous System (CNS) conditions, Non-invasive mapping of therapeutic gene delivery, Assessment of therapeutic gene expression by imaging, Pharmacological manipulation of gene therapy vector distribution, Focused ultrasound for the disruption of the blood brain barrier, Assessment of PET agents for the delineation of brain tumors

Komal Shah, M.D. - Associate Professor
Research Interests: Pituitary hypophysitis, adenoma, carcinoma, intra-operative MRI, skull base tumors, thermal ablation for brain pathology

Thinh Vu, M.D.- Associate Professor
Research Interests: Evaluating localization of parathyroid adenomas by 4DCT and combination of SPECT-CT and 4DCT, Ultrasound diagnosis of intrathyroiddal parathyroid adenomas, Intraoperative ultrasound biopsy in the head and neck cancer patients

Bing Wang, M.D. - Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Neurovascular and stroke imaging, Pediatric neuro-oncologic imaging, including brain, spine, and head and neck


The mission of the Neuroradiology Head & Neck section is to provide the best diagnostic service to patients with brain, spine, and head-neck tumors. Our primary focus is to improve patient care with collaborative research and train future leaders through a unique Oncologic Neuroradiology/Head & Neck Fellowship program offered at MD Anderson.

Current Research

Rivka R. Colen, M.D.
Imaging Genomics and Radiome Sequencing and Big Data, Biomarker Development and Validation, Image Guided Therapy and Preclinical Imaging Genomic

Dr. Colen’s research is comprised of both clinical-translational and preclinical-translational research with the overarching goal to help cause a significant dent in the cure for patients and improve patient outcomes by “helping cure cancer using imaging”. On the clinical-translational side, our research focuses on imaging genomics, where the power of imaging and genomics converge to non-invasively visualize the tumor heterogeneity in total and connect it with the underlying molecular heterogeneity, and radiomics, high dimensional automated feature extraction of images, to improve patient outcomes. We are developing, validating and integrating novel robust quantitative, reproducible imaging and imaging genomic biomarkers into the oncological therapeutic pipeline, using standard conventional imaging as well as using advanced imaging techniques such as perfusion, diffusion and spectroscopy. We are developing radiomic and other imaging software platforms  as well as imaging genomic informatics pipelines (predictive modeling, machine learning, among other) that can be integrated into automated imaging analysis platforms as well as integration of imaging and imaging software into the Big Data and –omics project pipelines. On the preclinical-translational side, we are focused on the validation of genomic targets identified in our imaging genomic screens, a novel approach to target discovery pioneered in our laboratory, and developing animal models with specific imaging features for use in preclinical studies and co-clinical trials.

Dawid Schellingerhout, M.D.
Numerous research endeavors

Dr. Schellingerhout has grants supporting work in the molecular imaging of nerve transport and the imaging characterization of brain tumors with advanced imaging. This work is applicable in the care and prevention of neuropathy and patients with brain tumors.

Education & Training

Neuroradiology Head & Neck Fellowship

This educational program is for the neuroradiologist interested in a comprehensive program of imaging for brain, spine, head and neck tumors, with a focus on advanced imaging techniques. The fellow rotates on a weekly basis through a wide variety of clinical experiences in the hospital and outpatient settings, attends numerous conferences and participates in research.

Lectures and Conferences

Six weekly multidisciplinary conferences provide collaboration with Neuro Surgery, Neuro-Oncology, Neuropathology, Head and Neck Surgery, Medical-Oncology, Radiation-Oncology, Endocrinology, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, and Stereotactic Radiosurgery team. These meetings give faculty members opportunity to fulfill their scientific, intellectual and educational goals in addition to providing expert clinical service.

Neuroradiology Head & Neck Contact Information

Referring physicians may contact the section's operations manager, Nena Fairbanks for scheduling guidance at 713-745-8180.

Physical Address

Department of Diagnostic Radiology 
Neuroradiology Head & Neck Section
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1400 Pressler Street, Unit 1482
Houston, TX 77030
(713) 792-8133

Mailing Address

Department of Diagnostic Radiology 
Neuroradiology Head & Neck Section
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Unit 1482
PO Box 301402
Houston, TX 77030

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center