Dr. Pickens assumes his new role following the retirement of former section chief, professor emeritus Ronald Price, Ph.D., earlier this year.
“Dr. Price was chief of the Section of Radiological Sciences for many years,” said Dr. Pickens. “As most people who have been around the department for a while are aware, these are big shoes to fill. That being said, I am gratified to move into this position to help direct our efforts to provide educational and clinical medical physics services in diagnostic imaging to the department and the Medical Center.”
The section, which consists of physicists, biomedical engineers, radiobiologists and chemists, contributes to basic research and teaches the principles of medical imaging to residents, medical students, graduate students and those in allied health professions.
In his role as Section Chief, Dr. Pickens will be responsible for supervising the educational and clinical services provided by the medical and health physicist faculty members in the department. In addition, he will work closely with colleagues in radiology and across the Medical Center to ensure the department’s imaging systems exceed the performance standards that have been set for compliance with federal and state regulations, and for accreditation by national agencies.
“I look forward to interacting more with physicians and technologists to ensure we provide the best possible imaging results and the greatest safety for our patients, and of course, working closely with colleagues and medical physics residents to provide them with the best service,” added Dr. Pickens.
Prior to joining Vanderbilt Radiology as faculty in 1981, Dr. Pickens earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. He has since authored more than 90 publications, books and book chapters and has presented at more than 230 conferences and scientific meetings. His research interests are primarily focused on X-ray imaging using phase contrast models. He has also been involved in a variety of projects using different imaging techniques, including the development of software testing tools for fMRI.