Utilization Review Process

The Utilization Review Process and The Utilization Review Committee
The Research Imaging Institute

Revised: Jan, 2016

Amy Garrett, Ph.D., Colin Sauder, Ph.D. and Peter Fox, MD


The Purpose of the Utilization Review Process

The Research Imaging Institute (RII) consists of state of the art imaging equipment, image processing equipment, a staff of experts, and an organizational structure designed to ensure that the entire center operates as a team. The RII is truly a unique and outstanding facility that can provide research opportunities for everyone in the scientific community.

The purpose of the protocol review process is to ensure that resources at the RII are used optimally. Specifically, the process ensures that :

  1. the scientific questions being asked are appropriate for the RII resources
  2. the experiments are designed to use the equipment optimally
  3. the data are analyzed using appropriate methods
  4. the RII functions cooperatively

The Utilization Review Process

The phases of the utilization review process are:

  1. discuss the project with the senior scientists at the RII to help in designing the project
  2. find a RII senior scientist to sponsor the project
  3. fill out the RII Utilization Review Form
  4. present the Utilization Review Form to the appropriate RII division chiefs and request sponsorship of your proposal
  5. submit the protocol to the protocol review secretary (currently Debbie Espinoza (espinozad@uthscsa.edu), 567-8115 in room 1.944 McDermott Building)
  6. the proposal is presented by the principal investigator at the Utilization Review Committee meeting (every third Friday of the month at 10:00am or on as needed basis)
  7. get the protocol approved by other committees such as the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and radiation safety

This process gradually moves from the informal to the formal. The order of steps 1-3 can be interchanged.

The format of the Friday presentation is flexible. One hour is allotted for the presentation, but the presentation need not be an hour long. The presentation can range from a formal talk with questions at the end to an interactive brain storming session.

The time it takes for a protocol to be reviewed is highly variable. Currently, the Utilization Review Committee meets monthly. The amount of time for the protocol review process is on the order of one to two weeks. However, some protocols can take longer than this. Protocols must be submitted 2 weeks prior to the meeting.

What a Protocol Should Contain

A protocol should contain all of the elements of a good scientific proposal. The scientific question should be well defined and the relevance of the question should be stated. The proposed methodology should be presented, with particular emphasis on how the resources of the RII fit into this methodology. The quantity of RII resources to be used, such as machine time, technician time etc. should be estimated. The Utilization Review Form will help you do this. The protocol should discuss funding of the project. The RII does not have money to grant for projects, but it can give grants in the form of instrument/scan time, etc. If you would like such a grant you must request it in your proposal. Finally, if the protocol has other non-scientific objectives, such as teaching, this should be stated.

Warning: Existing funding for a protocol does not insure that the protocol will be approved by the Utilization Review Committee. Please get your protocol approved by the Utilization Review Committee before you apply for funding.

Who's Who:

RII Utilization Review Committee

Peter Fox, Chairman

Amy Garrett, Co-chair

Colin Sauder, Co-chair

Geoffrey Clarke

Paul Jerabek

Jack Lancaster

Qiang Shen

Laura Watts


Potential Protocol Sponsors:

Geoffrey Clarke

Cardiovascular Imaging Physics including magnetic resonance imaging of coronary flow and flow reserve, regional myocardial blood volume, left ventricular function, myocardial perfusion, epicardial fat, and vascular imaging agents
In-vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy including phosphorus-31 MRS in skeletal muscle, hydrogen-1 MRS of lipids in skeletal muscle, myocardial muscle, and liver
Magnetic resonance imaging physics - design of RF coils, MRI pulse programming; clinical MRI quality control tests & standards
PET of heart and skeletal muscle

Imaging methods:  PET, MRI, SPECT, planar x-ray, x-ray CT, ultrasound, planar nuclear medicine, fluoroscopy

Peter Fox

Neuroimaging, neural networks, default networks, human brain mapping, normal mapping, psychiatric disorders; emphasis on novel, analytic methods; Meta-analysis

Imaging methods:  MRI, PET, TMS

Amy Garrett

Pediatric neuroimaging
Neuroimaging of Psychiatric Interventions in Children and Adults
Functional MRI paradigms for studying emotion processing

Imaging methods: MRI: structural, functional, DTI

Paul Jerebek

Human or animal research, radiopharmaceutical

Imaging methods: PET

Jack Lancaster

Image processing – all imaging modalities
Physiological modeling as applied to imaging
Database work in imaging
Brain map database
Nuclear medicine/Physics background

Imaging methods:  MRI & PET

Wei Li

MRI physics with intense interest in developing and applying novel MRI methods for the study of various neurological diseases. Experiences using phase imaging, quantitative susceptibility mapping, susceptibility tensor imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, DCE-MRI to study cerebral micro-bleeds, iron deposition, white matter   alterations, blood brain barrier damages in brain development and ageing, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury in both clinical and pre-clinical settings.

Eric Muir

Animal imaging of the brain and eye, mice and rats

Imaging methods: MRI, structural and functional

Colin Sauder

Pediatric Neuroimaging


Neuropsychological and Diagnostic Assessment of Children and Adults

fMRI and EEG measures of motivation and reward processing

Imaging methods: MRI (functional & structural), event-related potential, elctromyography, EEG

Qiang Shen

Developing and applying magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study anatomy, physiology and function of the central nervous system in normal and diseased states in animal models.  Specific interests are: 1) stroke imaging, imaging biomarkers for early detection, longitudinal monitoring, and prediction of tissue fate of ischemic stroke; 2) novel MRI methodologies to dynamically measure blood flow, tissue oxygen tension, blood volume; 3) high-resolution functional MRI techniques for mapping layer-specific and columnar organization.

Imaging methods: anatomical imaging, cASL (blood flow), diffusion tension imaging, functional MRI

Laura Watts

Stroke and traumatic brain injury in rodents

Imaging methods: MRI