Xiaojuan Li, PhD, Named Inaugural Bonutti Family Endowed Chair for Musculoskeletal Research

Cleveland Clinic Alumnus Endows Chair

Xiaojuan Li, PhD, Director of the Program for Advanced Medical Imaging, has been appointed the inaugural Bonutti Family Endowed Chair for Musculoskeletal Research. Dr. Li holds several Staff appointments at Cleveland Clinic, in both the Imaging and Orthopaedics & Rheumatology Institutes, as well as in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the Lerner Research Institute. This endowment illustrates both Lerner Research Institute’s robust musculoskeletal imaging program and the translational and bidirectional nature of research at Cleveland Clinic. 

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Rapid clinical translation of novel imaging techniques

“At Cleveland Clinic, there are opportunities for rapid clinical translation of novel quantitative imaging techniques into clinical practice,” states Dr. Li. “The ultimate goal is to improve clinical care for patients with musculoskeletal disorders.”

This gift was generously established to support advanced imaging programs within Cleveland Clinic’s Musculoskeletal Research Center. As a center member, Dr. Li’s research focuses on the use of biomedical imaging to diagnose disease and study treatment approaches, with particular interest in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.

Dr. Li states that, over the next few years, she will work to “establish and foster multidisciplinary and inter-institutional collaborations between researchers and clinicians, and establish the Program for Advanced Medical Imaging as a significant and unique resource for musculoskeletal imaging-based research within Cleveland Clinic and larger clinical and research communities.”

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The smart eyes of medicine

By developing fast, high-resolution, reliable and quantitative imaging techniques, Dr. Li envisions modern medical imaging as the ‘smart eyes’ of medicine that provide unprecedented comprehensive 3D information, molecular and functional evaluations beyond morphological evaluations with conventional imaging, and quantitative measures that will help with clinical decision making. She is also keen on combining quantitative imaging techniques with advanced data analysis methodologies, including big data analysis and machine learning techniques. In close collaborations with clinicians and researchers with multidisciplinary and complementary expertise, Dr. Li and her team will provide powerful tools for improving early diagnosis, staging and phenotyping diseases, and monitoring treatment response and predicting patient outcomes. Her ultimate goal is to transform patient care for musculoskeletal diseases with quantitative radiology in the era of precision medicine.

Dr. Li has been well-funded by the National Institutes of Health, private foundations and industry. She is the co-author on over 130 publications and several book chapters. Dr. Li has been honored with numerous awards for her work, including the 2015 Distinguished Investigator Award from the Academy of Radiology Research. She was recently elected to the 2019 American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows, which represents the top 2% of researchers in the field of medical and biological Engineering.

Before being recruited to Cleveland Clinic in 2017, Dr. Li was a Professor in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She earned her BS from Tsinghua University, China, and her PhD in bioengineering from University of California, Berkley and UCSF.

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Cleveland Clinic Alumnus Endows Chair

The generosity of Peter Bonutti, MD, made this award possible. Dr. Bonutti is an esteemed orthopedic surgeon practicing at The Bonutti Clinic in Effingham, Illinois, and associate clinical professor at University of Arkansas, with deep ties to Cleveland. He is from the city and completed surgical training and a research fellowship at Cleveland Clinic. In addition to providing innovative musculoskeletal care for national and international patients, he has patented a number of commercial products and led new, minimally invasive surgical techniques.