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Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. Professorship

School of Medicine

Established in 2020 by Drs. Elias and Nadia Zerhouni, alumni, faculty and colleagues

ELIAS A. ZERHOUNI, M.D., joined the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science after earning his medical degree at the University of Algiers School Of Medicine in 1975. After completing his residency in diagnostic radiology at Johns Hopkins in 1978 and serving as chief-resident, he became an assistant professor before moving on to a position in the department of radiology at Eastern Virginia Medical School and its affiliated DePaul Hospital from 1981 to 1985. While there, he developed new methods of CT densitometry and high-resolution CT imaging of the lung while his wife Nadia completed her pediatric residency at the same institution.

Dr. Zerhouni returned to Johns Hopkins as co-director of body CT and MRI and was promoted to associate professor in 1985.In 1988 he was appointed as Director of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Division in 1988.  In this role, he transformed the Division into a center of international excellence by ushering a multidisciplinary approach combining physical, biological and radiological sciences, which made the division a leader in the field with major NIH funding by developing novel techniques and quickly translating them into tools used to improve patient care.  He contributed to developing fast MRI methods to image multiple pathologies such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. He redefined functional cardiac imaging by developing a non-invasive tagging method for evaluating the motion of the beating heart.  This effort brought together the skills and abilities of individuals across the Institution—from the basic scientists in biomedical, electrical and mechanical engineering to his clinical colleagues in cardiology.

In 1992, Dr. Zerhouni was promoted to the rank of professor. He was named the Martin Donner Professor and Chairman of the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science at Johns Hopkins in 1996.  In this role, he quickly identified areas of synergy between the basic sciences, clinical medicine and imaging.  He facilitated the development of numerous areas of excellence in the Department—including CT, MRI, functional neuroimaging, endovascular imaging, molecular imaging and minimal invasive interventions. He reinvigorated the nuclear medicine division and the entire research base of the department. He also led the creation of a regional Radiology system, which allowed Hopkins Radiology to enter the outpatient imaging services across the region.  He also transformed the management of the department emphasizing quantitation and alignment of risk, reward and control encouraging faculty to adopt modern management methods by delegating more responsibilities to the divisions of the department thus encouraging the development of multiple faculty members who have then taken leadership roles around the country.

While Chair of the Department, Dr. Zerhouni held concurrent leadership roles at Johns Hopkins, including Executive Vice Dean, President of the Clinical Practice Association and Vice Dean for Research under Dean Miller.  In each role, his vision and ability to bring together new insights and strategies with the best of the best was manifested.  He directed the reconfiguration of the Clinical Practice Association incorporating new management with novel strategies that enhanced performance of all the clinical departments. Dr. Zerhouni also helped create a multidisciplinary Institute for Cell Engineering in which the treatment of disease is being completely redefined and encouraged the formation of interdepartmental institutes such as the Basic Sciences Institute and the Genomic Medicine Institute to reflect the profound changes in the way research was conducted. He strived to remove barriers to collaboration between all departments across the university form the physical to the biomedical sciences.

In 2002, Dr. Zerhouni left Hopkins to take a national leadership role in when he was appointed as the 15th Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by President George W. Bush.  During his tenure from 2002 to 2008, Dr. Zerhouni applied his learnings from Johns Hopkins and embarked on a profound reform of the way research was conducted and funded in the country by launching a “Roadmap for Medical Research in the 21st Century” in 2003 identifying opportunities and gaps in biomedical research that no single institute at NIH could undertake but that the entire NIH needed to address.  He created new grant mechanisms to support more creative research especially for young investigators such as the Pioneer and New Innovator Awards. His novel approach received bi-partisan support in the US Congress, which led to the passing of the NIH Reform Act of 2006 that institutionalized his approach that still governs how the NIH functions today. In 2009, he became a senior fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation for global health research and concurrently served as one of the country’s first presidential science envoys under the Obama administration to foster scientific and technological collaboration with other nations. Starting in 2011, he held the position of President for Global Research and Development at French pharmaceutical company Sanofi, until his retirement in 2018.

Dr. Zerhouni has received numerous marks of recognition and multiple awards. He is a member of the Academy of Medicine and the Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Zerhouni is married to Nadia A. Zerhouni, M.D., a retired Pediatric Endocrinologist who served on the Johns Hopkins faculty until 2016. They have three children: William, Yasmin, and Adam.


Held by Hanzhang Lu

HANZHANG LU, PH.D. is the inaugural recipient of The Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. Professorship in the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is a Professor of Radiology and serves as the Chief of Neurofunction Section in the Division of MR Research. Dr. Lu also holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Dr. Lu received his undergraduate degree in Biomedical engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China.  He received his doctoral degree in Biomedical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, and was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Radiology at New York University. He was on the faculty of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from 2005 to 2014 and returned to Johns Hopkins in 2015. Dr. Lu was promoted to Professor in 2016.

Dr. Lu is an internationally recognized leader in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of brain function and physiology. Dr. Lu’s research is focused on the development of novel MRI techniques to evaluate the brain’s vascular physiology, metabolism, and function, as well as their clinical applications. Dr. Lu is a Fellow of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and Distinguished Investigator of the Academy for Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Research (ARBIR). Since 2006, Dr. Lu’s research program has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Lu has given more than 100 invited lectures at international and national conferences, at major research institutions, and for MRI-related industries.  Dr. Lu has been an expert reviewer for more than 30 different journals and conferences, and serves on the editorial boards of NMR in Biomedicine, Neuroimage, and Frontiers in Neuroscience.  Dr. Lu served as a charter member of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) review panel Medical Imaging (MEDI) and was a Chair of several NIH study sections including Biomedical Imaging Technology (BMIT) and high-end instrumentation (HIE).

Dr. Lu is an active leader in the MRI community.  He served on the executive committee of the Perfusion Study Group and fMRI Study Group of the ISMRM, the Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC), and Trainee Stipend Committee of the ISMRM. Dr. Lu organized ISMRM-sponsored workshops, a Plenary Session at an ISMRM Annual Meeting, and an Imaging Cerebral Physiology (ICP) Symposium.