Ferenc A. Jolesz, MD was Vice Chairman for Research and Director of the Division of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Image Guided Therapy Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston). Dr. Jolesz achieved international recognition as one of the great innovators and leaders in radiological research. Indeed, he continued to distinguish himself with ongoing, cutting-edge research in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and image-guided therapy and was largely responsible for pioneering minimally-invasive surgery as the surgical approach of the future.
Dr. Jolesz was a native of Budapest, Hungary, where he completed his medical training (including a residency in neurosurgery) before he moved to the United States in 1979. Upon arrival in Boston, he served as a Research Fellow in Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and in Physiology at Harvard Medical School. By 1985, he had completed a residency in Diagnostic Radiology and a fellowship in Neuroradiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
In 1998, Dr. Jolesz was appointed A.B. Leonard Holman Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School and Vice Chairman for Research, Department of Radiology, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2000. He was Director of the Division of Magnetic Resonance Imaging since 1988. In 1993, Dr. Jolesz established the Image-Guided Therapy Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which includes such centers of groundbreaking therapeutic technology development as an internationally recognized intraoperative MRI facility, the Surgical Planning Laboratory, and the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Laboratory. In 2002, Dr. Jolesz was appointed Director of the Neuroimaging Core of the Harvard Center for Neurodegeneration and Repair. In 2011, he founded the first of its kind MRI intraoperative laboratory for minimally invasive surgery (AMIGO).
Dr. Jolesz maintained a research focus in basic and clinical neurosciences, MRI, and image-guided therapy. Along with a highly trained and dedicated research staff of over 100, Dr. Jolesz spearheaded the development and implementation of innovative image-processing methods and had brought several minimally invasive therapies into successful clinical application. Dr. Jolesz was also credited with developing, refining, and introducing into clinical practice the idea of direct, real-time, MRI-guided surgical interventions. In collaboration with key industrial partners, he drove the development of various image-guided therapy delivery systems currently in use in several sites around the world. Among these, interventional and intraoperative MRI, MRI-guided laser, cryoablation and brachytherapy are the most significant. Dr. Jolesz was further recognized for perfecting the use of high-intensity focused ultrasound as a tissue ablation tool and integrating it with MRI guidance systems. Dr. Jolesz’s pioneering research in image-guided brain surgery in particular has had a transformational impact on the fields of modern radiology and neurosurgery. Indeed, his contributions were widely acknowledged in literature and medical curricula throughout the world.
Dr. Jolesz’s substantial research support came from a variety of public and private sources, including several NIH research grants of which he was the Principal Investigator, corporate-sponsored clinical trials, and industry-supported research efforts. Dr. Jolesz belonged to several professional societies and served on the editorial boards of prestigious peer-reviewed journals. Commensurate with his prolific research, Dr. Jolesz published more than 300 articles in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals and contributed many chapters and review articles in the fields of surgery, computer science, neurology, neurosurgery, and radiology.
In 1995, Dr. Jolesz was further distinguished by election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He was also the 2002 recipient of the Outstanding Researcher Award presented by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and of the Gold Medal awarded by the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
For more information regarding Dr Jolesz’s life and legacy, please click here.