History - The Kurt Rossman Laboratories

A major accomplishment of Robert Moseley's chairmanship was the establishment of a center for basic medical-image research in 1967. This center was headed initially by the late Kurt Rossmann, who had been recruited from the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratories. Early outstanding members of the center's faculty were Kunio Doi and Charles Metz, both of whom joined the department in 1969. Doi had played a key role in establishing the use of modulation transfer function (MTF) analysis and Wiener spectrum analysis for the evaluation and optimization of technical image quality in radiography, and he subsequently became a world leader in developing image-based techniques for computer-aided diagnosis. Metz is now recognized internationally for his pioneering work in developing receiver operating characteristic (ROC) methodology for medical applications, which he began at Chicago in the early 1970s in collaboration with Lee B. Lusted and David Goodenough. Also active in the department's radiographic research program at that time were Irving A. Lerch and Arthur Haus, who were among the first to analyze X-ray spectra for the optimization of technical factors in angiography and mammography.

This center, which was named the Kurt Rossmann Laboratories for Radiologic Image Research after Dr. Rossmann's tragic early death in 1976, has flourished and expanded under the direction of Kunio Doi. The central theme of research in the Rossmann Laboratories was, and remains, the improvement of diagnostic accuracy of radiologic imaging and minimization of patients' exposure during radiographic examinations. This work has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, The Whitaker Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Army, as well as by generous support from numerous colleagues in industry around the world.

Highlights of research performed in the Rossmann Laboratories in the late 1970s include high-resolution skeletal imaging techniques based on optical and radiographic magnification that were carried out by Doi and Harry Genant, M.D. Working with Eugene Duda, Doi also developed a stereoscopic angiography technique using the longitudinal magnification effect and a small focal spot that became commonly used in some countries. Basic imaging properties of rare-earth screen-film systems were investigated by Gunnila Holje and Yoshie Kodera; these systems subsequently were adopted for routine use in many radiology departments. Heang-Ping Chan carried out extensive Monte Carlo simulation studies for the analysis of scattered radiation, absorbed dose, and anti-scatter grid performance in diagnostic radiology, which led to the development of high-strip-density anti-scatter grids. Leh-Nien Loo, working with Professors Doi and Metz, investigated the relationship between physical image quality indices and observer performance in the radiographic detection of simple test objects, and established the importance of signal detection theory in the optimization of observer performance in radiologic imaging. During the 1980s, Maryellen Lissak Giger investigated fundamental imaging properties in digital radiography and provided the basis for determining and interpreting the MTFs, noise Wiener spectra, and signal-to-noise ratios of digital radiographic systems by taking digital sampling effects into account. Extensive observer performance studies were carried out by Heber MacMahon and colleagues to investigate the effects of pixel size, image processing techniques, data compression, and CRT display on the detection of pulmonary lesions on digital images of the chest. Recent research in the Kurt Rossmann Laboratories has focused primarily on the development of computer-aided diagnostic techniques in chest radiography, mammography, angiography, and bone radiography.