American Heart Association Recognizes UCSF Distinguished Scientist

Charles Higgins, professor of radiology at UCSF, is widely considered to be the foremost international expert on noninvasive cardiac imaging for both children and adults.

The American Heart Association will recognize Charles Higgins, MD, professor of radiology and an expert in cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging at UCSF Medical Center, as one of six distinguished scientists at scientific sessions in November 2012.

The distinguished scientists will join the ranks of 70 other eminent scientists and researchers whose significant, original and sustained scientific contributions have advanced the association’s mission: Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The scientific sessions will be held November 3 through 7 in Los Angeles.

Charles Higgins, MD, FAHA

Charles Higgins, MD, FAHA

Higgins is a world-renowned leader in cardiac imaging and is widely viewed as one of the founding fathers and current leaders of cardiac MRI. He specializes in congenital heart disease, ischemic heart disease, acquired heart disease, thoracic aortic disease, and contrast media.

He was one of the first individuals to recognize the uptake of gadolinium-based MRI contrast agents into infracted myocardial tissue (2001) and to suggest its diagnostic benefit.

Higgins also was one of the earliest researchers in flow quantification techniques, applying them to human subjects to assess extent of shunt in patients with atrial and septal ventricular defects (1987), and extent of valvular regurgitation (1988). Higgins is also likely the first individual to suggest that CT images could be acquired so that they could be made into a cine to assess myocardial function (1996).

Higgins earned a medical degree from Jefferson Medical College. He completed residencies at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, San Diego, and he completed a fellowship in cardiovascular radiology at Stanford University.

Higgins has received the RSNA Research and Education Foundation Outstanding Research Award as well as the Fisher Award from the Contrast Media Research Group. He has served on the board of the Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance since 2000 and recently served as its president.

Photos by Marco Sanchez, DMM, UCSF