MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Rivka R. Colen

Dr. Rivka R.  Colen

Regular Member

Assistant Professor

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Cancer Systems Imaging

My research program focuses on radiomics, radiogenomics (imaging genomics), advanced imaging analytics, multi-parametric imaging and image guided therapy. We are an imaging-based program with research studies that spans the spectrum of clinical, translational and preclinical imaging genomics and radiomics. We capitalize on radiomics and imaging genomics to interrogate all types of cancer as well as non-cancer diseases such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, etc. Imaging genomics is the linkage of imaging with the genomic composition of the tumor. We have found that distinct radiomic signatures are seen with distinct gene expression profiles in multiple solid cancers. On the other hand, radiomics is the automated high-throughput extraction of multi-dimensional imaging features obtained from medical images. We believe that radiomic features can provide a more accurate representation of the tumor and tumor heterogeneity, it can depict genomic niches and distinct tumor microenvironmental habitats within solid tumors and other tissue structures. We are very much focused on creating stratification and endpoint biomarkers for use in clinical trials that will better help stratify patients into clinical trials and determine therapy response early on or even before receiving treatment. We have found that radiomics can differentiate between true tumor progression and pseudoprogression (also known as post-treatment changes), a dilemma which can be seen in patients of different types of treatment and in particular immunotherapy. While harnessing the strengths of big data, where we merge imaging and other –omic data into large centralized databases and analysis, we develop software code and scripts that are used for large-scale imaging genomic and radiomic analysis pipelines and adaptive/predictive modeling to determine response to treatment and patient outcomes with high accuracy. We have ongoing studies on multi-parametric imaging such as MR-diffusion, perfusion, and spectroscopy as predictive biomarkers in neuro-oncology treatment and most recent looking at predictive biomarkers to predict GBM genomics. We have experience in 2HG MRS to evaluate gliomas with IDH1 mutation. We are working on elucidating the molecular underpinnings of radiomics within different cancers and in drug development. We have found accurate human to mouse matching of imaging, making the case for co-clinical trials using radiomics. We harness the power of imaging and genomics that can converge to non-invasively visualize tumor heterogeneity in toto and connect it with the underlying molecular heterogeneity. Image-guided biopsies of tumor areas of ‘highest complexity/heterogeneity’ will result in identification of driver molecular events of tumor heterogeneity, elucidation of mechanisms of resistance, and response to therapy. Overall, my research program is dedicated to “helping cure cancer using imaging” with the overarching goal to help find a cure for patients and improve patient outcomes.


MDACC Faculty

Contact Information

Phone: 713.745.8552


Office: MDA FCT16.5037 (Unit 1907)


M.D. -  Ponce School of Medicine - 2003