Department of Radiology faculty and staff are mourning the passing of Richard Katzberg, a former professor and department chair who passed away in South Carolina last month at the age of 71.
Katzberg attended Duke University, University of South Carolina and the Medical University of South Carolina for his undergraduate, graduate and medical degrees respectively. He completed a research fellowship at the Brigham and Women's Hospital Radiology Research Laboratory at Harvard Medical School and later moved west, where he served as chair of radiology at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland before coming to UC Davis Medical Center.
Katzberg, who specialized in genitourinary radiology and pathology of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and dysfunction, served as chair of radiology at UC Davis from 1991 to 1994. In 1993, Katzberg helped launch the university’s Imaging Center in Sacramento (now known as the UC Davis Imaging Research Center), which at the time offered the latest technologies in diagnostic radiological services. Dr. Katzberg continued as a clinical and research faculty member until he retired from the health system in 2012.
“Dr. Katzberg was a great teacher and mentor to residents and fellows, including me in the mid-1990s,” said Raymond Dougherty, clinical professor and chair of UC Davis’ radiology department. “He was one of the few true academicians in radiology. His papers on intravenous contrast set the standard for contrast administration worldwide. The radiology community has lost a true scholar and friend.”
As his academic career developed, he became an expert in the field of contrast medium research and also pioneered the imaging of the temporomandibular joint. He later became an expert in the utilization and nephrotoxicity of radiographic contrast media, which is used to enhance the visibility of internal structures in X-ray-based imaging such as computed tomography, radiography and fluoroscopy.
Katzberg’s contributions to academic research included more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, five text books and more than 40 textbook chapters. In retirement, the Georgia native continued his research in contrast medium – the substance used to enhance the visibility of structures or fluids within the human body for medical imaging – as well as TMJ disorders, which affect the jaw and the muscles in the face that control it.
“This is a very sad day with the sudden loss of Rick, who was an avid researcher, a great teacher and a real competitor on the tennis court,” said John McGahan, professor of radiology and a longtime colleague of Katzberg. “I was very sorry to hear of the loss.”
In addition to his wife, Nancy Jean Parda, Dr. Katzberg is survived by his three children; two step-children and a step-grandchild.