SSR Researcher Spotlight

SSR Researcher Spotlight

Majid Chalian, MD
SSR Member since 2019


Professional Background

      • Medical School: Iran University of Medical Sciences
      • Residency: Case Western Reserve University
      • Fellowship: University of Virginia
      • Current Practice: Assistant Professor of Radiology, University of Washington
      • In practice since 2017


My Research – Sponsored by RSNA




We diagnose cartilage pathology when it is often too late. This has changed our conception of osteoarthritis to a purely degenerative disease that we need to follow and deal with until it is time for surgery. However, imaging has a lot more to contribute and could diagnose osteoarthritis at a pre-structural phase. This “special report” is one step towards:


        • Introducing RSNA Quantitative Imaging Biomarker Alliance (QIBA) activities on compositional cartilage imaging
        • Proposing claims for reliable and reproducible quantitative compositional cartilage imaging
        • Highlighting the importance of diagnosis of osteoarthritis at a pre-structural phase and its importance for clinical trials
I learned that improving the reliability of quantitative imaging is NOT easy and takes a whole village to address. 
My favorite part was our monthly meetings when we were discussing the claims of this Profile and addressing comments from the other society members. I found it very engaging and appealing.


My Research – Winner of the SSR Young Investigator Travel Award













Osteoarthritis- We are or will directly or indirectly deal with it at some point in our life. Better do something for it. We attempted to develop a CNN model to grade knee osteoarthritis, based on the KL (Kellgren-Lawrence) and IKDC (International Knee Documentation Committee) score. Some notes I learned:

      • I believe radiographs are very suboptimal for the diagnosis and grading of osteoarthritis, but this is the standard of care for now!
      • I favor IKDC based on my literature search over KL, however, KL is more popular and widely adapted.
      • AI could contribute a lot in the OA field from diagnosis to outcome prediction.

AI was new for me. Many different terms and methods. I learned that I don’t need to be an AI expert to have related research. Collaboration is the key! 

Thank you SSR for supporting this research and the opportunity to present. I learned a lot from wonderful discussion with other MSK radiologists, on this matter and others. 


My Research – RSNA Certificate of Merit






The CT component of PET/CT is underutilized. There is not enough literature on how to use CT to narrow down differentials for skeletal neoplasms. PET/CT could add metabolic information to anatomic findings and narrow down differentials. In this research we:

  • Described complex behavior of common benign and malignant skeletal lesions on PET/CT
  • Provided information on how to use the CT component of PET/CT to narrow down differentials
  • Described recommended imaging guidelines for common skeletal neoplasms

It was not easy covering a wide variety of pathologies and formulate them into a reasonable easy-to-follow approach, but our super-star resident (Hoiwan Cheung, first author) nailed it!


My favorite part was brainstorming sessions with our nuclear medicine colleagues. I found it very informative and enjoyed the breadth and depth of their knowledge. Putting pieces together from different literature was very satisfying.



Who am I outside of work?
I am a husband, a son, and a brother. I love gardening and hiking. I enjoy interacting with smart people. Change is something that makes me feel better.
Rattlesnake is my favorite easy hike.

From left to right:

      • Twin brother (Hamid), Cardiothoracic imager
      • Sister-in-law (Pegah), Radiology resident
      • Wife (Bahar), Abdominal imager
      • Myself, MSK imager

All enjoying life in beautiful Seattle and working at UW




My “Two Cents”

To residents:

Academic life is just fantastic. Don’t make a big deal out of research expectations. The only thing you need is to stay curious. You will be offered dedicated time for that. You cannot find anything more respectful than this in the world!

To other researchers:

  • Research is a marathon, not a sprint. It may go slow, and it is not a big deal. Keep pushing forward. 
  • Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t get disappointed by rejections. It is all a fun journey. Enjoy the ride!