2013: Rajarshi Banerjee
I studied medicine at Oxford, graduating in 2002 before moving to London to complete my general medical training and begin a specialist registrar rotation in general medicine and cardiology.
During the first two years of my general medical training, I became interested in acquired heart and liver disease. ‘At the coalface’ in medical admission units and cardiology wards there was an alarming rise in the prevalence of coexistent cardiovascular and liver disease, driven by obesity and alcohol use. I visited Oxford to meet Stefan Neubauer and Oliver Rider to formulate a research plan to study the pathophysiology of obesity, and was awarded a BHF Clinical Research Training Fellowship 8 months later.
A key finding was that in obese and overweight adults and children, intracardiac lipid content rises linearly, but hepatic fat rises exponentially. Technically, we could now measure intrahepatic lipid content quickly and easily in patients and in clinical in vivo studies, enabling large clinical studies into the role of hepatic fat in human metabolism and obesity, in collaboration with the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism (OCDEM).
In 2011, using new MR techniques developed in and patented by the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance (OCMR), I began the Rapid Imaging in Liver Disease (RIAL) study in collaboration with the Translational Gastroenterology Unit, to see if advances in MR could allow us to diagnose and stage liver disease, using liver biopsy as a reference standard. The study showed that we had a high diagnostic accuracy for each of liver fat, fibrosis and iron content.
I will continue to work in translational medicine and am immensely thankful to all the friends, collaborators, patients, doctors and academics who have made this such a rewarding experience.
The images show MR T1 maps from patients with no liver fibrosis on biopsy (F0; A) and cirrhosis (B) and MR T2* maps from patients with no excess iron (C) and grade 1 haemosiderosis (D). T1 and T2* times are translated into colours according to the pre-specified colour scales. For steatosis, MR spectra from a patient with grade 0 (E), and grade 3 (F) are shown.