The holy grail in my research field would be to develop a noninvasive strategy based on imaging that would reduce or alleviate the need for liver biopsy in patients with nonalcoholic fatty or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis“, says Dr. An Tang.

As an abdominal radiologist working in a liver transplant center, he has seen occasional but dramatic complications of liver biopsies. As a clinical researcher, he has envisioned using ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based techniques for characterization of three hallmark features of fatty liver disease: fat, inflammation, and fibrosis. This has prompted him to collaborate with acoustical engineers to develop quantitative ultrasound techniques and physicists or mechanical engineers for MRI techniques. “While liver biopsy is feasible to establish a definitive diagnosis, it is not conceivable to use it on a wide scale for screening or for monitoring the severity of liver disease over time”, he explains. Over time, he anticipates that imaging-based techniques will become the standard for diagnosis of liver disease in patients at risk for metabolic syndrome such as those with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Dr Tang is an Associate Professor at Radiology Departmen of University of Montreal, and Chercheur boursier du FRQ-S. Contact: