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Academy Fellows // Marcus E. Raichle, M.D.
Marcus E. Raichle, M.D.
Marcus E. Raichle, M.D.
Professor of Radiology and Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine Co-director, Division of Radiological Sciences, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology.

Heads pioneering team investigating brain function using positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to map with great precision functional organization of the human brain, esp. brain regions responsible for language and thought processing.

Dr. Raichle is known for his pioneering research in the development and use of an imaging technique called positron emission tomography (PET) to map specific brain areas used in tasks such as seeing, hearing, reading and remembering as well as emotion. Raichle was a member of the team that developed PET at Washington University during the 1970's. The technique, equivalent to tissue autoradiography but done safely in vivo, allows researchers to safely and non-invasively study the living human brain and track and record its function in health and disease.

Raichle’s most recent research has helped in the development of a much better understanding of those areas of the normal human brain responsible for language, thought processing and emotion. By using PET to monitor blood flow and metabolism in the human brain, Raichle and his collaborators have shown how the brain responds when a subject is asked to perform tasks as diverse as memorizing words or anticipating an unpleasant experience. In addition, they have mapped areas involved in attention, analyzed chemical receptors in the brain, investigated the physiology of major depression and anxiety and evaluated patients at risk for stroke.

Parallel work by Raichle and his colleagues evaluated the relationship between blood flow, metabolism and neuronal activity in the human brain. This work uncovered the fact that blood flow exceeds the brain’s oxygen requirements normally during increased neuronal activity. This fact provides the physiological basis for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). fMRI is now the primary technique used in mapping the functional architecture of the human brain.

Raichle, a neurologist, joined the faculty at Washington University as a research instructor in Neurology and Radiology in 1971. He became a professor of neurology in 1978 and a professor of radiology in 1979. He received a bachelor’s and medical degrees from University of Washington in Seattle. His honors include election to the Institute of Medicine in 1991 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 1996. Most recently, he has received the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience Research.

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The Seal of the Academy of Science - St. Louis The Fellows of the Academy of Science-St. Louis is a prestigious association of St. Louis area scientists and engineers of national reputation. Many Academy Fellows are recipients of the Outstanding St. Louis Scientists Awards, including the Peter H. Raven Lifetime Achievement, Eads, Trustees', and Academy Fellows Awards.