MIR Milestones

For nearly a century, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology has been integral to the advancement of radiology. A true pioneer with a respected legacy of innovation and too many “first in the field” breakthroughs to count. Here are just a few notable milestones that form the building blocks for an illustrious history.

1930s

1931
Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology (MIR) officially opens with a staff of four radiologists and one physicist.

1933
MIR’s first residents, Allan B. Phillips and William Y. Burton, are accepted.

1937
The first laminograph (developed in 1936 at MIR) is used to examine World Series Champion pitcher Paul “Daffy” Dean. This is considered the earliest recorded example of sectional imaging used to assess a sports-related musculoskeletal injury.

1940s

1941
The cyclotron constructed on Washington University’s undergraduate campus is the first dedicated to producing isotopes for medical and biological research.

1942
The U.S. government commandeers the cyclotron to produce some of the world’s first plutonium. In the end, half of the Manhattan Project’s plutonium comes from Washington University.

1950s

1950
Then director Hugh Wilson appoints radiophysicist and future PET pioneer Michel Ter-Pogossian, forever changing the history of MIR.

1954
The first pediatric radiology program is established at MIR.

1960s

1963
MIR builds the first cyclotron on a U.S. medical campus and second in the world dedicated to medical research.

1964
Newly appointed MIR director and neuroradiologist Juan Taveras establishes MIR’s first official subspecialties by dividing faculty into six groups based on local anatomy.

1970s

1970s
PET is invented by MIR researchers Michael Welch and Michel Ter-Pogossian.

1972
Neuroradiology and Ben Mayes come together to create MIR’s first fellowship.

1974
MIR acquires one of the first six CT scanners in the U.S.

1976
One of the first five mammography units in the U.S. arrives at MIR.

1980s

1983
Along with two colleagues, MIR radiologist Michael Vannier publishes the first 3D reconstruction of single CT slices of the human head.

1984
MIR researchers develop fluoroestradiol (FES), the first radioactive form of estrogen used as a PET imaging agent for detecting breast cancer.

1990s

1990s
MIR develops widely adopted criteria for diagnosing pulmonary emboli.

1992
MIR works with CTI PET Systems to develop some of the first whole-body PET imaging techniques.

1992
Newsweek publishes “Decade of the Brain,” an article highlighting neurologist and radiology professor Marcus Raichle’s PET research and development of nearly all existing techniques for mapping the brain.

2000s

2002
Quadriplegic actor Christopher Reeve’s treatment regimen — designed by Washington University faculty with imaging studies performed by MIR — results in some motor function restoration.

2004
MIR expands resident total to 72, making it the largest program in the U.S.

2008
Mark Mintun, director of MIR’s Center for Clinical Imaging, uses PET imaging to detect Alzheimer’s disease before clinical symptoms appear.

2010s

2010
MIR becomes home to the Human Connectome Project.

2014
MIR becomes one of the first eight programs in the U.S. approved for an Integrated IR Residency Program.

2015
“Cancer goggles,” invented by Optical Radiology Lab director Samuel Achilefu, allow doctors to see cancer cells during surgery.