Explore This Research Lab


Researchers at Mass General are leading the first optical coherence tomography (OCT) registry, an international database of 3,000 patients who have received OCT. Optical coherence tomography is an intravascular imaging technique that may help physicians identify the vulnerable plaques that lead to heart attacks or sudden cardiac death.

To build the OCT registry, we are partnering with 20 prominent institutions internationally. Using information gathered from the registry, it is our goal to provide knowledge that will help doctors prevent heart attacks and sudden cardiac death. We are also evaluating the possibility of using OCT to prevent late catastrophic complications of stenting.

Why OCT Imaging?

By creating extremely high-resolution images from within the artery, OCT can pinpoint the microscopic characteristics of a vulnerable plaque, as opposed to intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), which is more widely used, but has a lower resolution. Currently OCT is the only intravascular imaging technique with the resolution sufficient (approximately 10 µm) to delineate fine structures, such as thin fibrous caps and to characterize plaque types, such as lipid rich plaque. We have also discovered that OCT can detect subtle structural changes after PCI, such as plaque disruption including tissue prolapse and protrusion with high sensitivity.

Mass General Pioneers the Use of OCT Imaging

The Mass General Cardiac OCT Research Laboratory are pioneers in the use of optical coherence tomography to view coronary arteries at an unprecedented level. Over the past two decades, we have led the way in using this technology by:

  • 1999: Establishing the Mass General Cardiac OCT Research Laboratory
  • 2002: Publishing first in man study using OCT
  • 2005: Publishing he first study on in vivo characterization of plaques in patients with different clinical presentation
  • 2006: Establishing the first international cardiac OCT registry by collaborating with researchers from Korea, Japan and China
  • 2010: Hosting the first international OCT symposium that brought together the world's thought leaders in OCT imaging
  • 2016: Publishing the EROSION Study, which may lead to a major shift in the management of patients with acute coronary syndromes
  • 2016: Establishing a new OCT research network with investigators from the United States, Japan, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Hong Kong and Australia 


Dr. IK Jang’s laboratory has an extensive publication record, including these recent papers. The full list of publications is available here.

Meet Our Team

The Mass General Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Registry is led by a team of world class researchers who have devoted their careers to pioneering OCT imaging. Meet the team behind the OCT registry, including:

Ik-Kyung Jang, MD, PhD

Ik-Kyung Jang, MD, PhD

Ik-Kyung Jang, MD, PhD is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Cardiology Laboratory for Integrative Physiology and Imaging (CLIPI) at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Jang came to Massachusetts General Hospital in 1987 from Leuven University in Belgium, where he has completed his residency in medicine and fellowship in cardiology. He also successfully defended his doctorate thesis at the same university. After his advanced fellowship in cardiology at Mass General, he joined the staff and is currently working as a physician and an interventional cardiologist in the Cardiology Division.

His research interest has been acute coronary syndromes including acute myocardial infarction. His earlier research focused on pharmacology and physiology of thrombosis and thrombolysis including thrombin hypothesis and platelet inhibition. For the last twelve years he has pioneered the application of intravascular Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to patients to better characterize coronary plaques and to understand the mechanisms of plaque rupture. Dr. Jang was the first to perform intravascular OCT procedure in a patient. In addition, he was the principal investigator for the recent US multicenter OCT trial. Dr. Jang has been invited to lectures at numerous national and international meetings. His publications number more than 200.

Hang Lee, PhD

Hang Lee, PhD

Hang Lee, PhD, is the study statistician of the OCT Registry. He is the lead statistician for the Harvard Catalyst Biostatistics Program at Mass General and the Mass General Division of Clinical Research Biostatistics Unit, and he serves as the primary statistician for the Gynecologic Oncology Program at Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center. Dr. Lee is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and has experience in a wide range of collaborative research. He is also the statistical editor for the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography (JASE). His statistical expertise is in longitudinal data, statistical genetics, clinical trials design and complex data analysis, and he has authored and co-authored over 250 clinical study articles.

Iris A. McNulty

Iris A. McNulty, RN, Laboratory Manager

Iris McNulty received a BA in Anthropology from Brown University and a BSN from Simmons College. She worked at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1995-2013, with a focus on Cardiology from 2000-2013, and as a clinical research nurse 2003-2013. She has significant experience working on OCT clinical trials and worked with Dr. Jang during the inception of the MGH OCT Registry. In June of 2019 Iris returned to MGH to work with Dr. Jang as the MGH Coronary OCT Lab Manager.

Makoto Araki, MD, PhD

Makoto Araki, MD, PhD is a research fellow who came from Tokyo Medical and Dental University to work with Dr. Jang. Dr. Araki received his MD in 2011 and PhD in cardiovascular medicine in 2019. Before he joined our group, he was working as a interventional cardiologist in Japan. Now he is working on clarifying the localization of coronary atherosclerosis.

Akihiro Nakajima, MD

Akihiro Nakajima, MD

Akihiro Nakajima, MD came from New Tokyo Hospital in Japan. Dr. Nakajima received his MD in 2012 and has been working at New Tokyo Hospital as a staff interventional cardiologist. His current research is endothelial shear stress and mechanism of plaque progression.

Lena Marie Seegers, MD

Lena Marie Seegers, MD

Lena Marie Seegers, MD is a research fellow who came from University Medical Center Goettingen in Germany. Dr. Seegers received her MD from Hannover Medical School in 2017 and has been working in Germany as a cardiology fellow. Her focus is on sex differences in plaque characteristics and plaque vulnerability.

Former Fellows

  • Hiroshi Yabushita (2001 – 2002) – Cardiologist in Osaka, Japan
  • Masamichi Takano (2002 – 2005) – Associate Professor of Medicine Nippon Medical School, Japan
  • Owen Christopher Raffel (2005 – 2008) – Assistant Professor of Medicine University of Queensland, Australia
  • Joo Heung Yoon (2009 – 2011) – Assistant Professor of Medicine University of Pittsburgh
  • Luca DiVito (2009 – 2011) – Cardiologist in Ascoli Piceno, Italy
  • Soo-Joong Kim (2011 – 2012) – Professor of Medicine Kyung Hee University, Korea
  • Taishi Yonetsu (2011 – 2013) – Associate Professor of Medicine Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan
  • Koji Kato (2011 – 2013) – Cardiologist in Tokyo, Japan
  • Farhad Abtahian (2012 – 2013) – Cardiologist in Rochester, New York
  • Jinwei Tian (2012 – 2014) – Associate Professor of Medicine Harbin University, China
  • Sining Hu (2012 – 2015) – Assistant Professor of Medicine Harbin University, China
  • Haibo Jia (2012 – 2015) – Associate Professor of Medicine Harbin University, China
  • Rocco Vergallo (2012 – 2015) – Cardiology Fellow Catholic University, Italy
  • Tsunenari Soeda (2013 – 2015) – Assistant Professor of Medicine Nara Medical University, Japan
  • Yoshiyasu Minami (2013 – 2016) – Associate Professor of Medicine Kitasato University, Japan
  • Young-Seok Cho (2014) – Professor of Medicine Seoul National University, Korea
  • Kai-Hung Cheng (2014 – 2015) – Associate Professor of Medicine Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan
  • Lei Gao (2014 – 2015) – Staff Cardiologist at 301 Hospital, China
  • Daniel Ong (2014 – 2015) – Cardiologist in Dallas, Texas
  • Takumi Higuma (2015 – 2016) – Associate Professor of Medicine St. Marianna University, Japan
  • Lei Xing (2015 – 2017) – Associate Professor of Medicine Harbin University, China
  • Jiannan Dai (2016) – Assistant Professor of Medicine Harbin University, China
  • Krzysztof Bryniarski (2016 – 2017) – Fellow Jagiellonian University, Poland
  • Thomas Zanchin (2016 – 2017) – Fellow University of Bern, Switzerland
  • Erika Yamamoto (2015 – 2018) – Assistant Professor of Medicine Kyoto University, Japan
  • Tomoyo Sugiyama (2016 – 2018) – Assistant Professor of Medicine Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan,
  • Francesco Fracassi (2017 – 2018) – Cardiology Fellow Catholic University, Italy
  • Hyung Oh Kim (2018 – 2019) – Assistant Professor of Medicine Kyung Hee University, Korea
  • Vikas Thondapu (2018 – 2019) – Cardiologist, USA
  • Michele Russo (2018 – 2019) – Cardiology Fellow Catholic University, Italy
  • Osamu Kurihara (2018 – 2020) – Assistant Professor of Medicine Nippon Medical School, Chiba, Japan
  • Hiroki Shinohara (2019) – Cardiologist, University of Tokyo

Partner Institutions

Country Hospital Principal Investigator
Australia Concord Repatriation General Hospital Dr. Harry Lowe
Australia University of Melbourne Dr. Peter Barlis
Australia Prince Charles Hospital Dr. owen Christopher Raffel
Belgium University of Leuven Dr. Tom Adriaenessens
Germany University of Giessen Dr. Holger Nef
Japan Nippon Medical Schol Dr. Masamichi Takano
Japan St. Marianna University Dr. Takumi Higuma
Japan  Kameda Medical Center Dr. Shigei Kimura
Japan Kitasato University Dr. Yoshiyasu Minami
Japan Nara Medical University Dr. Tsunenari Soeda
Japan Tsuchiura Kyodo General Hospital Dr. Tsunekazu Kakuta
Korea Asan Medical Center Dr. Seung-Jung Park
Korea Kyung Hee University Hospital Dr. Chong-Jin Kim
Korea Yonsei University Dr. Yangsoo Jang
Singapore National Heart Center Dr. Jack Wei Chieh Tan
United States Massachusetts General Hospital Dr. Ik-Kyung Jang
United States Mayo Clinic Dr. Amir Lerman
United States University of Pittsburgh Dr. Catalin Toma
United States University of Vermont Dr. Harold Dauerman