University of California, San Francisco Radiology Matthew Barkovich, MD T32 Program

University of California, San Francisco Radiology Matthew Barkovich, MD T32 Program

October 13, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


My name is Matt Barkovich. I’m a radiology resident and a T32 fellow in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging here at UCSF. The T32 training grant program at UCSF is unique in that it’s a pre-existing, funded research opportunity for trainees that we know we have available to us if we’re interested during our residency. There’s the program leadership. Dr. Thomas Link heads the program and he’s a established
researcher with a pedigree of conducting successful funded research. If I ever need advice
about logistics, funding, those sorts of things,
he’s there to support me. It also sets me up with
both a senior mentor and more direct research mentor. So I’m interested in figuring out how the brain works by looking
at how it develops, both normally and abnormally. So what we’re doing specifically with neurofibromatosis is we’re looking at MRI’s of the brain that are obtained on children who have these diseases. And we’re looking at the different regions of the brain and then we can compare the volumes of different
areas of the brain. So we can see, okay,
what are the differences in the brain of a patient
with neurofibromatosis and a normal child? Do the things that we know about the genetics suggest might be the cause of those differences? How do those differences change throughout development, and how do those differences correlate with the various manifestations of the disease that I was
talking about earlier? If we can look at someones brain when they’re say four or five years old, and they have neurofibromatosis, and we predict this is
someone who’s more likely to have cognitive
difficulties, then we can make sure that they get
appropriate intervention, they can extra help in
school, they sort of get through school with that problem identified ahead of time, as opposed to waiting until they’re already behind and then you intervene,
but you’re catching up. The thing about this
disease, in particular, neurofibromatosis, is that it looks like in many cases, cognitive difficulties they have during childhood
resolve by the time they reach early adulthood,
but by that point, you’ve already ended up behind. So if can help get them
through that period, they might be able to
have a much easier time in school and subsequent life.