Christopher Bailey Selected for 2023 RAD PSI Program Award

Christopher Bailey

Christopher Bailey

Across Johns Hopkins Radiology, faculty and staff members work daily to fulfill each aspect of our tripartite mission: education, clinical care and research. A key part of this undertaking is developing well-rounded physician-scientists who have both clinical and research experience.

But, for junior faculty, knowing where to start and how to secure funding for research can be a challenge. 

One way the department is helping to kick-start young faculty members’ research careers is through the Johns Hopkins Radiology Physician-Scientist Incubator (RAD PSI) Program. 

Established in 2021, the RAD PSI Program is a competitive, peer-reviewed program designed to identify, develop and support a select cadre of talented junior academic clinical faculty who will continue the department’s long-standing mission of developing physician-scientists to advance and translate imaging research into human health.

The 2023 recipient of the RAD PSI Program award is Christopher Bailey.

Bailey is an assistant professor in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, where he also serves as associate program director for the Interventional Radiology Residency Program. 

He has been at Johns Hopkins since medical school, going on to an internship and, later, an integrated diagnostic and interventional radiology residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Bailey’s current research interest is in vascular malformations and interventional oncology. His research has focused on biomedical engineering, centering on the design of novel devices for percutaneous and endovascular interventions.

He is just starting out in this work; when he received the request for applications for the 2023 RAD PSI Program award, he was inspired by the opportunity.

Candidates were asked to submit a six-page application detailing their three-year research plan, plus letters of recommendation. During the selection process, applicants were also asked to present their research plan. One candidate is selected each year. Candidates may renew support for up to three years based on annual progress. 

Applications are reviewed by a selection committee consisting of radiology department faculty. Selected awardees receive a number of benefits, including mentorship opportunities, an additional 20% of protected research time, $20,000 per year for imaging costs and $10,000 per year for discretionary funds to cover supplies and other needed items.

By the end of the three-year period, awardees are better positioned to compete for funding through national radiological societies or NIH funding agencies.

Bailey’s project is titled “Soft Robotic Steerable Microcatheters for Arterial Interventions in Interventional Radiology.”

Soft robotics is a subspecialty of robotics focused on designing robotics that are more flexible and pliable. Such devices move in a way that mimics biological motion.

Nature inspires much of the design of soft robotics, Bailey noted, with designs similar to those of octopus tentacles or worms. Such devices will be useful in endovascular procedures, allowing for steering to a specific location within the arterial vasculature. 

Current technology is more rigid, Bailey explained, consisting largely of non-steerable wires and catheters. 

Applying steerable soft robotic technology to microcatheters would allow physicians to reach and treat farther arterial targets. 

Now in the first year of the award, Bailey is looking to parlay the RAD PSI award into larger national and international grants as he continues his work.

The importance of the boost provided by the additional research time, funding and — critically — mentor support for Bailey cannot be overstated.

He concluded, “I am grateful, as a young faculty member, to be given the time and opportunity to grow my career.”