President’s Corner #21: Welcome Spring, Welcome ISMRM Annual Meeting


We are already in May, and spring has arrived even to Sweden, at least during the past weeks, though questionable today with snow in parts of the country – even here in the south of Sweden (figure 1-3).

Regardless if spring weather or not I am very grateful for the hard work done by the Central Office, under the lead of our CEO Roberta Kravitz, to make our Annual meeting in Montreal, Canada, 11-16 May, another highlight in the history of ISMRM. I am sure most of you have registered, booked your flights and accommodation, but if not, do not hesitate to register as well as book transport and accommodation. For program and information, please check and the ISMRM newsletter. Do not forget to download our mobile app to be on track with the program. Keep green by bringing your own water bottle to refill.

I urge those of you that are Chairs of departments or responsible for the money to think one extra time if there is not an MD, MR physicist, Engineer or Radiographer that you could surprise by offering the possibility to go to the ISMRM. You will make them happy, and you will be generous and feel good. The same goes for all of us with research funding who have trainees, PhD students, and post-docs – dig in your grant pocket and see you can make it happen – surprise somebody and give them a chance to join maybe their first ISMRM.

I think the significant value of collaboration and interaction between members of ISMRM are well described in the recent Presidents Corner #20 where Larry and I express our views of the value of collaboration and interaction. I hope you have had time to read despite final preparations before you leave for Montreal.

Appointment of an Ad-hoc Committee for Sustainability

As each annual meeting approaches, questions arise about climate change and our carbon footprint. I would like to ensure all our ISMRM members that the leadership takes these discussions seriously, have already taken some steps to reduce our impact, and are making additional plans for the future.  We have supported and encouraged our Central Office’s efforts to improve our sustainability over the years through actions such as the minimization of printed material (and its accompanying shipping impact), through elimination of the program book, minimizing the conference bag, and most recently, moving to digital posters. Additionally, we now prioritize the use of venues that are environmentally accredited (e.g. thru the LEEDs certification program) and carefully consider staff travel needs.

Nevertheless we need to continue to improve and find further solutions for the Society. It is, therefore, my pleasure to announce that our vice-president, Larry Wald, and I have jointly created an Ad Hoc Committee on Sustainability. This ad hoc committee will look into different topics associated with sustainability related to each of the Society’s different activities and give suggestions and recommendations to the Board of Trustees. We feel fortunate that Professor Christopher Hess has undertaken the role of chairing this committee and initiating the arduous task of finding solutions to these important and difficult problems. You will hear more about this in the near future as the committee forms and finalizes the basic guidelines for their work.

I just would like to point out some many highlights in the ISMRM Annual Meeting in Montreal

Equity Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) Forum

I am proud to announce the ISMRM inaugural Equity Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) Forum that to be held in Montreal. The forum will focus on cross-cutting topics that are relevant to all of our members: accessibility to Society activities, equity in research dissemination and the importance of studying diverse populations in MR research. We hope the audience will personally identify with each topic, while also gaining an understanding of how these issues manifest in different ways across the ISMRM and SMRT. Importantly, the forum will include panelists from the ISMRM leadership, and will focus on actionable changes that the ISMRM could tackle. We strongly encourage attendees from across the entire membership to contribute to the forum on Wednesday evening, and join us for refreshments and further informal discussion afterward. I, personally hope that you all take this lovely opportunity to contribute, listen and reflect by attending the EDI Forum on Wednesday, 15 May at 19:00.

Do not miss the opportunity to listen and enjoy our Campfire with a Legend. A new element and format we are introducing to this year’s Annual Meeting is a series of “Pioneer Campfire” sessions. Conceived by this year’s Scientific Program Committee, and organized by the Historical Archives Committee, the Campfires will feature the presence of selected “Pioneers,” gathered according to themes, such as “Pioneers of fMRI.” The Campfires are intended to provide live, personal and informal mixing time amongst meeting attendees of all generations and geographies. During times when live sessions are not occurring, the Campfire spot will show video segments from the ISMRM archive collection. Location and session schedule information will be available during Registration. I urge you not miss the opportunity to participate in these electrifying meetings with the Pioneers of the Society.

Visit the Exhibition Hall

I encourage all of you to take time and visit the Exhibition Hall, and take the opportunity to meet our vendors and our sponsors. A personal thank you for their support of our Society is never wrong. In addition, several of our Gold, Silver and Bronze Sponsors are hosting midday and early evening symposiums, so take the chance to attend.

This year the Junior Fellows Symposium will focus on the MR from a Global Perspective: The Underrepresented Part of the MR Spectrum. In addition, just as last year, there are several member-initiated sessions, and do not forget our Secret Sessions. Monitor the social media channels, check the mobile app or see one of the staff at the front desk… they will let you in on the secret!

Awards Ceremony – hail and salute our awardees

I hope to see as many of you as possible at the awards ceremony on Monday morning at 10.30 when I present our new junior and senior fellows, and our Distinguished Service and Gold medalists.  I urge you to be there to hail and salute them.

Enjoy our named keynote speakers

As the president, I have the opportunity to select the speaker for the Presidential Lecture. I am very happy to introduce Prof. Håkan Arheden, a colleague with many skills. I have known Håkan since medical school, and he has always impressed me for his coaching and guidance not only of his own research team but also of professional leaders in the academy, the medical and in the business environment. He has an amazing way of make you reflect on what you express in different situations and how to act, get ideas, and find solutions to a problem. He is worth listening too, and I am sure he will give you some new insights about the danger of stress on Wednesday, 15 May, at the plenary session.

Dr Seung Hong Choi this year will give the NIBIB New Horizon lecture on Tuesday, 14 May, on “Translational Research for MR Application of Nanotechnology: Beyond Imaging.”

Finally I hope to see you all at the opening Ceremony, with a little surprise, followed by the Lauterbur Lecture given by Prof Peter van Zijl one of the big contributors in the field of MRI. The opening ceremony will be followed by the opening reception in the Exhibition Hall, where I hope to see you all there to mingle, network and met old and new friends.

Every fun moment will have to come to an end and this year we will close the annual meeting with the Mansfield lecture by Prof. Christiane Kuhl, highly recognized for her work in non-invasive breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

We will end this 2019 Annual Meeting with the big closing party with entertainment and, of course, great music. My knee has rested, and I am ready for new steps on the dancing floor. I hope to see all of you there.

I wish you all SAFE travel. I am looking forward to see you all in Montreal in a few days.


Figure 1. Still early spring – the view from my summerhouse located in a bay at the west coast of south Sweden. Picture taken over the Easter weekend.

Figure 2: The same evening the beautiful sunset that I love to watch.

Figure 3: The view of the moon is not bad either.

Figure 4: At my recent visit to Antwerp, Belgium, I visit the Chocolate Museum and I hope you understand why. Dark Belgium chocolate is the best. However, in my world the words eat chocolate can easily be replaced with enjoy ISMRM.