Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Radiology

Cardiovascular Imaging Fellowships

Based at the downtown Northwestern Memorial Hospital, a 600-bed tertiary referral center for the greater Chicago area, the cardiovascular imaging fellowship program offers training in all aspects of cardiovascular imaging, including Cardiac MRI, MR angiography (MRA), Cardiac CT and CT angiography. The goal of the fellowship is to provide training and education in all technical and clinical aspects of cardiovascular MRIand CT. Fellows will also receive instruction in research methodology through mentored support of projects in cardiovascular MRI and CT and will receive dedicated academic time for that purpose.

The clinical activities of the cardiovascular imaging fellow are primarily based in MRI and CT at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The department of Radiology has 10 MRI scanners (Siemens Avanto, Espree, Quantum and Symphony) based at the in-patient facility of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the adjoining outpatient imaging facility. All of the cardiac MRI studies are carried out on the 1.5T Siemens Avanto scanners. The volume of cardiovascular MRI studies has grown exponentially in recent years resulting in an average of 7 cardiac MRI studies being carried out daily. The department of Radiology currently has one dual source Siemens Sensation CT scanner, one 64-slice, three 16-slice Siemens Sensation scanners and 3 four slice scanners. All of the cardiac CT and coronary CT angiography studies are carried out on the dual source scanner, which is located beside the MRI scanners.

The cardiovascular imaging (CVI) fellows divide clinical time between MRI and CT, spending 40 percent of the time in cardiovascular MRI and 40 percent of the time in cardiovascular CT. The remaining 20 percent of the time is spent doing research. Fellows are also permitted elective time in other disciplines. The cardiovascular imaging fellow is responsible for protocoling and supervising all cardiovascular MRI and CT studies. Studies are read out each afternoon in the dedicated cardiovascular readout area, which has two PACS workstations, a Leonardo workstation, Vitrea and Tera Recon workstations. The fellow is assisted by a radiology resident, who rotates through the cardiovascular imaging section.

The cardiovascular imaging fellow spends one day every two weeks in the affiliated department of Radiology at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago (Lurie Children's). The department of Radiology at Lurie Children's performs cardiac MRIs under general anesthesia one day per week. This experience is invaluable for the cardiovascular imaging fellow as it demonstrates the complexity of pediatric congenital heart disease as well as introducing the obstacles confronted when scanning the pediatric population. The fellow also gains experience in pediatric cardiovascular CT during this rotation. 

The cardiovascular imaging fellow receives didactic lectures on clinical and technical aspects of cardiovascular MRI and CT from faculty members of the section of cardiovascular imaging. The lectures are given two per week for the first month and thereafter one per week. Fellows also receive hands-on training in cardiac MRI techniques by scanning at the dedicated CAMRI research facility of the department of Radiology.

There are a number of clinical inter-disciplinary conferences that the cardiovascular imaging fellow is expected to attend. There are weekly cardiac catheterization and vascular surgery conferences. There is a twice-monthly cardiovascular imaging conference, attended by faculty from different specialties, where cases from all modalities are presented. One of the objectives of this conference is to highlight discrepant findings using the different modalities. There is a quarterly inter-institution cardiovascular imaging conference attended by physicians from different hospitals in Chicago: Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Evanston Northshore and Children’s Memorial Hospital. There is also an “interesting case” conference twice per month where cardiovascular MR and CT cases are presented.

A secondary objective of the fellowship is to provide detailed instruction about research methodology through mentored support of research projects in cardiovascular MRI and CT. Fellows are expected to conduct and complete research projects during the one-year fellowship. These will be carried out under the guidance and mentorship of a scientific adviser and will be carried out in accordance with institutional review board (IRB) guidelines.

At the end of the one-year program, the fellow should have acquired the knowledge and discipline required to successfully bring a research project to fruition. With this experience and training, the fellow will be able to embark upon a successful career in cardiovascular imaging and help further expand this growing field through innovative thought and direction.

The department of Radiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has a large cardiovascular imaging research group, composed of physician and PhD faculty. This group collaborates closely with researchers from cardiology and cardiac surgery and is supported by Siemens Medical Systems, who maintain four senior PhD scientists on site at the hospital campus. Over the last six years, the group has produced numerous seminal publications in novel techniques (1-48) and applications for cardiac MRI and includes many renowned researchers in the field in its ranks. Much of the cardiovascular MRI research is carried out at the CAMRI facility.

The cardiovascular imaging research group has office space at 737 North Michigan Ave., which is located on the downtown university campus, about two blocks from the hospital itself. The Siemens scientists along with Physician and PhD faculty and their students are all based at this facility. The facility also contains several workstations, which can be used for post-processing and analysis of data. The fellow will have office space at this facility, which will be located beside the office of the scientific adviser. It is tremendously beneficial and enriching for the cardiovascular imaging fellow to work directly with senior university and industry PhD scientists and post-doctoral students. All of the previous fellows have found this extremely educational. The center is also supported by administrative staff, a university statistician, and has a full-time research coordinator.

The cardiovascular imaging research group has a number of ongoing projects, from which the fellow can choose. These include: development of cardiac MRI techniques at 3T, ultrafast cardiac MRI techniques using parallel imaging, stress myocardial perfusion at 1.5T and 3T, Time-resolved MR angiography, MR angiography at 3T, MR-guided catheter-based angiography of the coronary arteries, high-resolution CT angiography of the coronary arteries, calcium detection on replaced cardiac valves using gated CT, functional assessment of the heart using gated-CT. The fellow receives at least one dedicated research day per week. There is a research meeting one day per week, during which research personnel meet to discuss progress on the various projects.

Application Requirements

We are currently accepting applications for two open position to begin July 1, 2021. This fellowship program is non-ACGME and does not participate in the match.

Qualifications:  Completion of a radiology residency or cardiology fellowship, USMLE steps 1-3, and ECFMG certification are prerequisites for acceptance. 

If you are interested in applying to this fellowship program, please send the following materials to the fellowship coordinator.



Program Director

James Carr
James C. Carr, MD

Contact Us

Roksana Birkos

Office 312-695-4074

Learn More

For more information about cardiovascular imaging, visit the CVI website.

Housestaff Research Portal

Feinberg has the infrastructure and resources to assist McGaw trainees interested in conducting scientific research. Visit our Housestaff Research Portal to learn more.