SSR Researcher Spotlight

SSR Researcher Spotlight

Connie Y. Chang
SSR Member since 2015

 

Professional Background

 

My Research – Funded by the SSR Seed Grant

Most bones are not evaluated by MSK radiologists! Chest, abdomen, and pelvis CTs are far more common than MSK MRIs. This realization spurred the dream of developing a “diagnostic aid” for body and general radiologists, to:

    • Help “double check” the scan for lesions
    • Triage lesions to a “next step” (e.g. leave alone, follow-up, additional imaging, biopsy)

This project is the first step towards realizing this dream.

I learned that developing AI algorithms for radiology is NOT easy– but it is very rewarding and fascinating. My favorite part is trying to understand the reason behind the algorithm’s mistakes and how we can “teach” it to perform more accurately. 

 

My Research – Winner of the SSR Young Investigator Travel Award

 

Cortical bone is the most dense form of bone. Enostoses are cortical bone, and therefore, untreated metastatic disease should be distinguishable from enostoses by CT density. We showed this in an earlier project.
 
Chemotherapy or other treatment causes reactive bone formation, which can become as dense as cortical bone – a previously known observation that had not been systematically proven.
 
These projects show that care must be taken to not overuse or overgeneralize the conclusions – which can be dangerous!

 

My Research – Recipient of the SSR Ad Hoc Award “Taenia in Austin”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Is more tissue better/necessary when performing a spine biopsy for discitis”? This is an important question because the procedure is targeting a high-risk area (spine), and it may surprise you to hear that prior to this paper, there was no data out there addressing this question!
 
This kind of practical question is the type that I love to address – something that I can use immediately in my day-to-day practice.
 
The second senior author on this paper is an ID physician with special interest in bone. If you are interested in a topic, try to engage a specialist – you will learn a lot, and it will make your project stronger!
 
Side note! I’ve heard some of the most creative, interesting, and engaging talks at SSR, which is a society that encourages and rewards unique presentations. Keep that in mind when you’re preparing your SSR talks! :)

Thank you to SSR for the huge role it has played in my career – through research support, for allowing me to present, and by creating a wonderful environment to meet other skeletal radiologists and to HAVE FUN! :)

 

Myself

    • In my previous life I was an avid hiker and traveler.

 

    • Now my life’s focus is my beautiful daughter, who brings me light and joy every day.

My “Two (or Five) Cents”

It’s totally fine to explore! My projects cover a range of topics, but there are two commonalities:
    • They are topics that interest ME. Things that pique your interest will also interest others.
    • Nearly all my ideas came from reading cases or attending clinical conferences, and I couldn’t find existing literature with answers – so I went in search of finding those answers myself.
Eventually it does help to focus, especially if you are looking for any type of grant funding. My primary interests are in tumors and infections, especially interventions related to these topics.
 
Not all grants have to be big! Look for small grants, even within your institution, to get a little lift off the ground. Every bit helps!
 
Don’t be discouraged if your projects fail. For every successful paper I’ve written there are several ideas that fizzled out at different stages of implementation. Enjoy the process!
 
Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. Working with others is fun, and we can get much further when we put our heads together!