Kathleen Schmainda, PhDKathleen M. Schmainda, PhD

Robert C. Olson, MD, Professor in Radiology
Section of Imaging Research, Division of Imaging Sciences
Secondary appointment: Biophysics

Medical College of Wisconsin since 1996

Research Interests

A primary focus of our laboratory is the development of MRI methods to assess brain tumor angiogenesis and invasion. Angiogenesis is the process of new vessel formation that enables tumors to grow and spread. Invasion describes the process whereby tumor cells enter and spread to other parts of the brain, making brain tumors very difficult to treat.

The methods developed in our laboratory can provide information about the normal brain and the vascular structure of tumors, the amount of blood volume in the brain and tumor (cerebral blood volume [CBV]), and the perfusion or delivery of blood to the tumor (cerebral blood flow [CB]). In addition, by using MRI methods capable of measuring the micromolecular movement of tissue water (i.e., diffusion), we have demonstrated the potential to track tumor progression and, possibly, invasion.

These vascular and diffusion parameters provide information about tumor biology that is not currently available with standard MRI used in clinical practice. Measurement of these parameters holds promise for providing a more complete assessment of the primary tumor and tumor spread, and for evaluating novel (e.g., anti-angiogenic) therapies. Studies performed in our laboratory address issues ranging from characterizing the basic biophysical relationships between the MRI signal and tumor biology to translating these methods to the clinical setting.

Education and Training
  • Marquette University,Milwaukee, WI, BSE, Biomedical Engineering, 1986
  • MIT, Cambridge, MA, MSEE, Electrical Engineering, 1989
  • Harvard-MIT, Cambridge, MA, PhD, Medical Engineering, 1993
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, MA, Postdoctoral Fellowship in MRI, 1993-1995
Research Team
  • Mona Al-Gizawiy, PhD – Research Scientist I
  • Cathy Marszalkowski – Clinical Research Coordinator II
  • Melissa Prah – Engineer II
  • Robert Wujek - Engineer I
  • Jose Palomares - Medical Student
Open AllClose All
  More about Dr. Schmainda

Honors and Awards
• 1989-1990 - Gillette Fellow, Medical Engineering and Medical Physics, Harvard-MIT, Cambridge, MA
• 1993-1994 - Sterling Winthrop Fellow, Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard-MIT, Cambridge, MA
• 1998 - Featured in Milwaukee Business Journal's "40 Under 40"
• 1999 - American Society of Neuroradiology Meeting, Magna Cum Laude, awarded to "Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging in stroke: A comparison of spin-echo and FLAIR spin echo diffusion sensitive techniques," JL Ulmer, AT Olson, LL Latour, OB Nordling, KM Donahue
• 2001 - 101st Annual Scientific Meeting of American Roentgen Ray Society, Seattle, Washington, Scientific Exhibit Gold Medal awarded to "Physiologic magnetic resonance imaging of the brain: A conceptual approach to contrast mechanisms and measureable physiologic parameters," JL Ulmer, JM Strottmann, RW Prost, KM Schmainda, BB Biswal, LP Mark, DL Daniels
• 2004 - International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine Meeting, Young Investigator Moore Award, awarded to "Intravoxel distribution of DWI decay rates reveals C6 glioma invasion in rat brain," *KM Bennett, JS Hyde, SD Rand, R Bennett, HGJ Krouwer, KJ Rebro, KM Schmainda
• 2004 - International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine Meeting, First Place Poster Award, Cancer Imaging and Spectroscopy, awarded to "The anti-angiogenic drug, SU11657 decreases brain tumor size and normalizes perfusion as indicated by DSC-MRI perfusion parameters," *CC Quarles, FC Wu, M Darpolor, SD Rand, HGJ Krouwer, KM Schmainda
• 2004 - American Society of Neuroradiology Meeting, Summa Cum Laude, awarded to "Lesion-induced neurovascular uncoupling can mimic cortical reorganization by BOLD fMRI," JL Ulmer, L Hacein-Bey, VP Mathews, EA DeYoe, RW Prost, KM Schmainda, WM Mueller, HGJ Krouwer

*Student of Dr. Kathleen Schmainda

Research Support
• MRI Contrast Agent Methods to Assess Tumor Angiogenesis is a five-year award from the National Cancer Institute. The objective of this work is to develop and validate contrast agent MRI methods for the evaluation of tumor angiogenesis and anti-angiogenic therapies. (Dr. Alan Bloom, PI) is a one-year award from the MCW Cancer Center's State of Wisconsin Tax Check-Off Program and the New Initiative in Breast Cancer Research. The primary goal of this grant is to evaluate with functional imaging the cognitive effects of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients.
• Diffusion MRI to Detect Glioma Invasion is a two-year award from the National Cancer Institute. The objective of this work is to develop and validate diffusion-based MRI methods to detect invading glioma cells.
• Effects of Chemotherapy on Cognition and Brain Function in Breast Cancer Patients

Completed Research Support
• Development of an MRI Method to Measure Breast Tumor Blood Volume: A Sensitive and Specific Indicator of Breast Cancer was a two-year award from the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse. The primary goal of this grant was to evaluate the feasibility and utility of dynamic susceptibility contrast agent methods to measure breast tumor blood volume.
Facilitating Discovery with Multi-Parameter Physiologic Imaging of Brain Tumors is a two-year award from the Medical College of Wisconsin's Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin program. The primary goal of this grant was to facilitate the translation of advanced, multifunctional brain tumor MRI tools into the clinic through the development of a brain-tumor imaging platform.
Analysis of rCBV Data (Berlex Laboratories) supported the analysis and collection of rCBV data for purposes of designing a phase III clinical trial of a new contrast agent.
• Mito-Q Attentuates DOX-Induced Cardiotoxicity and Potentiates Antitumor Effects: MR imaging and Echocardiography Studies (Dr. Balaraman Kalyanaraman, PI) is a two-year award from the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse. The primary goal of this grant was to evaluate with imaging the effects of Mito-Q.