Caravan, Peter

Associate Professor of Radiology

Peter Caravan, PhD, is Co-Director of the Institute for Innovation in Imaging at MGH and Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Caravan is an NIH funded investigator whose research focuses broadly in the areas of fibrosis, thrombosis, and probe (MRIPET, CT, optical) technology development. Over half of all deaths are caused by diseases that have some fibrotic component. Chronic diseases of the heart (cardiomyopathies, coronary disease), liver (hepatitis B, C, steatohepatitis), kidney (diabetic nephropathy), lung (pulmonary fibrosis), arteries (atherosclerosis), and many cancers all result in fibrosis/scarring of the tissue. The Caravan lab is developing noninvasive methods to detect and stage fibrosis in different organs and monitor response to drug treatments. Thrombosis (blood clot) is the cause of ischemic stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis, all leading causes of death and morbidity in the western world. The Caravan lab is developing molecular probes that detect different stages of thrombosis and can monitor treatment response. Dr. Caravan also develops new probe technologies to sense changes in the tissue microenvironment such as pH, O2, or redox change. Research in the Caravan lab spans molecular design, chemical synthesis, in vitro characterization, and in vivo proof of concept through to human studies.

Dr. Caravan received his BSc (Honors) at Acadia University, his PhD in chemistry from the University of British Columbia, followed by an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship at the Université de Lausanne. He then spent 9 years at Epix Pharmaceuticals developing tissue-specific (e.g. gadofosveset) and responsive MRI contrast agents where he was ultimately responsible for all chemistry and contrast agent research at the company. He is co-inventor of EP-2104R, a fibrin-specific contrast agent for thrombus detection, that was the first molecular MR imaging agent to enter into human clinical trials. He is well acquainted with the development process having written sections of INDand NDA applications. He joined the Radiology faculty at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in 2007. Dr. Caravan has contributed 8 book chapters a on the chemistry, properties, and uses of imaging agents over the last 10 years. He has published over 100 peer reviewed papers on the chemistry of imaging probes, the biophysics of the interactions of these probes with proteins, and their application in animal models of disease and in patients. Dr. Caravan is co-inventor on 20 granted or pending patents related to new imaging agents and methods for their use.