Neil Rofsky, M.D.

Neil Rofsky, M.D.

Chair, Department of Radiology

  • Radiology - MRI


Neil Rofsky, M.D., is Professor and Chair of UT Southwestern’s Department of Radiology and the Effie and Wofford Cain Distinguished Chair in Diagnostic Imaging. Dr. Rofsky also serves as Co-Director of Translational Research for the Advanced Imaging Research Center (AIRC), a collaboration of UT Southwestern and the University of Texas at Dallas. As Chair of Radiology, he also leads efforts to rapidly bring the benefits of new technologies, including some developed at the AIRC, into clinical practice.

A native of New York, Dr. Rofsky received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Maryland and his medical degree from New York Medical College. He then completed an internship in internal medicine at Middlesex University Hospital; a fellowship in nuclear medicine at the University of Utah Medical Center; a residency in radiology at the New York University Medical Center; and fellowships in abdominal imaging and magnetic resonance imaging at New York University Medical Center, where he was mentored by Morton Bosniak, Alec Megibow, and Jeffrey Weinreb.

Before joining the faculty of UT Southwestern, Dr. Rofsky served as Chief of MRI at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, and as Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Rofsky concentrates his research on translating innovations in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy into clinical practice. His current studies emphasize developing MRI techniques to improve detection and evaluation of prostate cancer and to better guide treatment.

In his research, Dr. Rofsky seeks to apply MRI techniques such as arterial spin labeling (ASL) to measure blood flow in prostate and renal cell carcinomas. Since blood flow can reflect the viability of a tumor, these measurements can offer valuable insights into the potential aggressiveness of tumors and the effectiveness of treatments.

Dr. Rofsky and his collaborators have also pioneered the use of rapid contrast-agent-enhanced three-dimensional diagnostic imaging of the abdomen. Such rapid imaging is important because it enables clinicians to obtain high-resolution 3-D images during the brief time that a patient can hold a single breath, reducing the artifacts from respiratory and other motions.

Dr. Rofsky serves as an active member of the Board of Trustees of the Society of Computed Body Tomography and Magnetic Resonance (SCBTMR) and recently finished serving on the Board of Trustees of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM). He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, several textbooks, and presents regularly at such medical societies as the Radiological Society of North America, the ISMRM and the SCBTMR.  Just recently he delivered a plenary lecture to the ISMRM entitled, The Evolution of the MR Biomarker.

Trained as a classical musician, Dr. Rofsky is an oboist who appreciates the art and science of shaping the instrument’s reeds, which give it its unique sound. He also enjoys playing guitar, including numerous acoustic and electric instruments, and is the proud owner of a Steinway Model A Grand Piano built in 1884.

Meet Dr. Rofsky

Chair of the Department of Radiology

For Neil Rofsky, M.D., Chair of Radiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, scientific discovery is a creative discipline a lot like music performance. Dr. Rofsky is quite at home in both worlds. A trained oboist, he reflects on the experimentation required to shape the reeds that produce the instrument’s unique sound.

“I always had a compelling interest in science, but I also relished the thought that I could make a difference in people’s lives. It’s a privilege to be a physician – I absolutely love it.”

“There is no prescription for success,” he says. “You scrape, you play. You scrape, you play, until you get the best sound and stability. It’s an iterative process. Experimentation in science also works this way.”

Dr. Rofsky is also Director of Translational Research for UT Southwestern’s Advanced Imaging Research Center (AIRC). He is continuing his career-long efforts toward developing novel approaches to detecting and monitoring prostate, liver, and renal cancers through the use of high-spatial-resolution and physiologic-based magnetic resonance imaging techniques.

“In a certain percentage of our work, the critical skill lies in how good we are at generating an image that reveals very small areas of diseased tissue,” he says, “because if you can’t demonstrate it, you can’t find it. There’s an aesthetic element, too, and when the generated image comes out well, you often feel in awe, and more importantly, you’ve created an image that enables important observations. Then, patients can receive the most targeted and effective treatments.”

Imaging has become a mainstay in a physician’s diagnostic tool kit. Thus, Dr. Rofsky recruits radiologists who work across every specialty in UT Southwestern’s hospitals and clinics. Their mission is to ensure that patients receive the best quality diagnoses and image-guided therapies along with genuine caring about their conditions and quality of life.

Dr. Rofsky and his team are also key members in multidisciplinary teams pooling their expertise and talents to “translate” basic science discoveries into positive changes in standards of care for patients. For him, the real success is when discovery brings about meaningful help for patients.

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Honors & Awards
  • Mortan A. Bosniak Lecture 2004, Angiogenesis and Imaging of Renal Masses
  • Outstanding Teacher Award 2006, ISMRM 2006 14th Annual Meeting
  • Editor’s Recognition for Special Distinction in Reviewing 2008, Radiology Reviewer award
  • Cum Laude Research Award - SCBT/MR 2008, MR Prompted Biopsies: Increased Positive Yield in Men with Prior Negative Biopsy Hist
  • The Robert Lenkinski Mentorship Award 2010, Teaching Award from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Ctr
  • Moreton Lecture 2011, Texas Radiological Society
  • Appreciation Award 2011, Texas Radiological Society, TRS 98th Annual Scientific Mtg
Books & Publications
  • Radiology-Pathology Correlations
  • Prostate Cancer
  • MRI Techniques for Body Imaging