Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

2019 PECASE - Kathryn Keenan

Headshot of Kathryn Keenan

For transforming magnetic resonance imaging into a quantitative tool to diagnose and treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases through the development of a world-first standard suite, providing leadership in the medical and scientific community, and through technology transfer and mentoring.

Dr. Keenan has helped transform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) into a diagnostic medical tool by pioneering a suite of calibration standards that for the first time enable MRI images to be compared across machines and over time. Although the U.S. spends approximately $30B annually on magnetic resonance imaging, without quantitative standards for benchmarking the scanners, there is no definitive way to correlate information, e.g., tumor size, from even two images of the same object. Dr. Keenan provided the technical underpinning for the first-ever MRI standards to provide quantifiable and traceable data to diagnose and treat conditions including traumatic brain injury, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer, and personally led the development of standards specifically targeted for treating breast cancer. She then used her extensive network of collaborators to transfer the production of those standards to the private sector to accelerate their adoption and broaden their impact.

Created July 26, 2019, Updated December 2, 2021