The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Cancer Systems Imaging
Magnetic Resonance (MR) Imaging is a technique utilized in the clinic every day. In conventional MR, anatomical images are produced by using the signal from the water in our blood and tissues for detection. However, due to the inherent Boltzmann Distribution, there is a low signal to noise ratio (SNR) in conventional MR and many diagnostic techniques become unreasonable in the clinic because of the amount of time needed for the examination. The focus of my research is the development of real-time metabolic and imaging applications by hyperpolarization. My laboratory is exploring novel ways to utilize Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to create more detailed metabolic and molecular imaging studies by employing hyperpolarized, non-radioactive carbon 13 and nitrogen 15 labeled compounds and silicon nanoparticles (Silicon 29) to tag specific metabolic and biochemical structures and functions that are altered in cancer. Hyperpolarized MR is a non-toxic, non-radioactive method for non-invasively assessing tissue metabolism and other physiologic properties. Hyperpolarization allows for a >10,000-fold signal enhancement relative to conventional MRI. After hyperpolarization, the signal enhancement can be retained on the metabolites of the hyperpolarized molecules for several minutes depending upon the longitudinal relaxation times. My laboratory is focused in three primary areas of research:
A: Real time metabolic imaging with hyperpolarized 13C and 15N labeled non-radioactive compounds.
B: Real-time molecular imaging with hyperpolarized silicon nanoparticle (SiNPs) functionalized to target specific biological functions and structure.
C: High resolution MR-based metabolomics of animal and human tissues.
Education & Training
PhD, California Institute of Technology, 2005
Development of Magnetic Resonance (MR) hyperpolarization techniques; real time metabolic and molecular imaging in vivo with hyperpolarization; Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy based metabolomics of cancer systems