Roderic Ivan Pettigrew, PhD, MD, serves as CEO of Engineering Health and executive dean for Engineering Medicine at Texas A&M and Houston Methodist Hospital. Pettigrew also holds the endowed Robert A. Welch Chair in Medical Science. He was the founding director of the U.S. National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the NIH from 2002 to 2017 and is credited with building it into the signature NIH institute for emerging medical technologies. Of note, under Pettigrew’s leadership, NIBIB produced more patents per appropriated dollar than any other institute or federal agency returning $30 per each $1 invested in research, or 3000%.
His newest undertaking is EnHealth, the world’s first initiative to holistically integrate engineering into all of the colleges of a university that are a part of the health care enterprise. EnMed is the first constituent initiative, creating a new school that integrates engineering into medical training to develop a new kind of engineering-minded physician, or physcianeer, who invents solutions to healthcare problems.
Pettigrew is an internationally recognized physician, physical scientist and bioengineer with expertise in health technologies emerging from the convergence of the life sciences, the physical sciences and engineering. As the founding director of NIBIB, he oversaw all governance operations, chaired its National Advisory Board and managed a composite budget of $5 billion. Under his guidance, NIBIB became internationally recognized for its global leadership in developing and accelerating the application of transformative health care technologies. Prior to his appointment at the NIH, Pettigrew was a professor of radiology and medicine (cardiology) at Emory University, professor of bioengineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and director of the Emory Center for Magnetic Resonance Research at the Emory University School of Medicine. In 2017, he was recruited from the NIH to the Texas Medical Center in Houston as part of the Governor’s University Research Initiative to lead the bold new joint Houston-based Texas A&M and Houston Methodist Hospital effort to transform healthcare.
An MIT graduate who finished his medical training at UCSD, he is known internationally for his pioneering work involving four-dimensional imaging of the cardiovascular system using magnetic resonance imaging. His knowledge base includes advanced biomedical imaging across all biological scales, nanotechnology, regenerative medicine/organs on a chip, immunoengineering and point-of-care technologies. He co-chaired the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-NIH Point-of-Care task force from its inception until his NIH departure. Pettigrew’s current research focuses on integrated imaging, predictive modeling of coronary atherosclerotic disease with a goal of developing screening technologies to eliminate stroke and heart attacks.
Pettigrew is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the U.S. National Academy of Inventors. He has also been elected as a foreign member to the National Academy of Sciences, India. Other awards include Phi Beta Kappa, the Bennie (Benjamin E Mays) Award for Achievement, Morehouse College, the Pritzker Distinguished Achievement Award of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Distinguished Service Award of the National Medical Association, the Pierre Galletti Award of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, the Distinguished Service Medal of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, the Spirit of the Heart Award for Health Promotion of the Association of Black Cardiologists, the Inaugural Gold Medal of the Academy of Radiology Research and the Gold Medal of the Radiological Society of North America. He has received the Honorary Member Award of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.