Robert C. McKinstry, MD, PhD

Professor of Radiology

Washington University in St. Louis (WU)

Imaging the developing brain and its response to injury: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows for noninvasive evaluation of brain development. Most studies performed to date have been descriptive in nature and focused on clinical image interpretation. Recent advances in the speed of image acquisition and image contrast have presented an opportunity to re-evaluate human brain development using controlled, quantitative methods.
Dr. McKinstry combines his clinical interest in pediatric neuroradiology with his expertise in MRI for four ongoing studies at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and in the Biomedical MR Laboratory at Mallinckrodt Institute’s East Building research facility. “Pediatric Study Center for MRI Study of Normal Brain Development” is a multicenter effort to establish a quantitative brain development database, “Evaluation of neonatal brain injury via water diffusion,” seeks to improve our understanding of the mechanism underlying and the timing of newborn brain injury, the ”Silent Infarct Transfusion Trial,” is a multicenter study which seeks to limit brain damage in children with sickle cell disease and “Prefrontally-mediated memory in phenylketonuria,” is a multicenter effort investigating the cognitive abilities of children with PKU.
Future efforts will combine anatomical MR methods, DTI, and functional MRI to improve the understanding of the relationship between structural and functional brain development. Furthermore, Dr. McKinstry hopes to investigate neuroprotection schemes that may help limit the sequelae of newborn brain injury. Members of this laboratory develop MRI protocols and use image-processing software to test hypotheses regarding brain development and brain injury. The lab’s research team shares interests in medical imaging and neuroscience.