RAI Labs Duke


The Carl E. Ravin Advanced Imaging Laboratories (RAI Labs) is a coalition of inter-dependent laboratories pursuing research in translational and quantitative imaging and other related advanced imaging applications. The group is characterized by projects having rigorous quantitative components and well-defined clinical ends to ensure scientific rigor and a robust clinical outcome for optimal patient care. The research pursued by the group has a comprehensive scope that encompasses several key aspects of medical imaging from bench to bedside:

     (i) imaging physics,

     (ii) image formation,

     (iii) image display and performance metrology,

     (iv) computerized image analysis,

     (v) and medical imaging informatics.


The projects include the development of novel imaging modalities, optimization using advanced patient modeling algorithms, clinical trials of new imaging methods, development of innovative image analysis algorithms to quantitatively characterize the structure and function of organs of interest, and development of image based decision support systems for disease detection, diagnosis, treatment planning, and prognosis. One of the unique assets of the group is its integrated identity, which enables the pursuit of independent projects while drawing from a close resource infrastructure of expertise and equipment. Through its efforts, RAI Labs is committed to advancing scientific knowledge in quantitative medical imaging, enabling its clinical translation, and maximizing its clinical impact.

  • See RESEARCH for details about the group's research projects.


Established in 1991, the group consists of over 30 faculty, staff, and research assistants affiliated with the Departments of Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Physics at Duke University, Duke University Medical Center, and the Duke Medical Physics Graduate Program. The research initiatives of RAI Labs are primarily supported by federal grants from the National Institutes of Health. The group has also active collaboration with major medical imaging companies. The group prides itself in its focus on quality research with high clinical relevance toward effective medical imaging techniques with lasting clinical impact. To date, the research undertaken by the group has been the basis of over 500 scientific papers, hundreds of conference presentations, and multiple patents.


Dr. Ravin makes a point during a RAI Labs
weekly faculty meeting, June 2009.



RAI Labs is part of Duke's Medical Physics Program, established in 2005, and CAMPEP accredited in 2008. Duke Hospital, one of the largest private hospitals in the United States, is part of Duke University Health System and currently is licensed for over 1000 beds. The division of breast imaging in the Department of Radiology performs over 450,000 exams each year, approximately 1000 of which are sent to biopsy each year.  RAILabs occupies over 7000 square feet of laboratory and office space. Computer facilities include a variety of workstations, which are connected through a high speed dedicated network to all of the radiology department's clinical image acquisition systems, such as digital chest radiography, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, and computed tomography.  This network also includes radiographic film digitizers and printers, and a state of the art image archiving and retrieval system.


The RAI Labs logo is based on the "histogram" of the Duke Chapel,the most prominentsymbol of Duke University situated at the heart of the campus. The histogram is modified with added uncorrelated noise with a signal to noise ratio (SNR) of 5. Assuming Rose model, a SNR threshold of 3-5 is required to detect a radiographic lesion in a noisy background. A SNR value at the high end of this range was chosen for the logo to preserve some of the architectural features of the chapel.

Prototype breast tomosynthesis system allows for 3D mammography imaging.

Dr. Lo is taking scatter fraction measurements on a digital chest radiography system.