MIR Research Laboratories

Find A Location


Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Laboratory (BMRL)


Scott C. Beeman

Contact Information
Washington University School of Medicine
Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Laboratory
Campus Box 8227
4525 Scott Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 273-1696

Current Positions
Assistant Professor of Radiology

Research Interests
Non-invasive in vivo quantification of physiology demands purposefully designed radiologic techniques. My broad research goals are two-fold: (i) to devise magnetic resonance (MR)-based experimental and mathematical techniques to directly quantify physiology in vivo and (ii) to apply these techniques to advance the scientific understanding of metabolic diseases and their downstream complications. Specific research interests include:

  • Quantitative 1H MR Tissue Oximetry. Tissue oxygen partial pressure (pO2) is a critical determinant of physiologic/metabolic function. A means to quantify tissue pO2in vivo would be a critical advance. O2 is weakly paramagnetic and, thus, the MR-measured longitudinal relaxation rate constant, R1, is, in principle, directly proportional to pO2. We have shown this direct relationship to be robust in lipid-rich tissues like adipose (see below). In water-rich tissues (approximate fractional volume >90% water), the direct relationship between R1,water and pO2 is obfuscated by blood flow and by magnetization transfer from the macromolecular matrix to ‘bulk’ tissue water. We seek to mitigate these confounds to resolve the direct relationship between pO2 and R1,water in water-rich tissues, including brain and muscle.
  • 1H MR-based adipose pO2 quantification for validation and characterization of the hypoxia driven insulin resistance hypothesis. Recent studies have suggested that adipose tissue hypoxia is a key step in the cascade that leads to systemic insulin resistance. This hypothesis is ‘young’ and, thus, requires rigorous pre-clinical and clinical testing and characterization. We seek to: (i) develop MR methodology to quantify adipose pO2in vivovia the effect of dissolved O2 on the lipid 1H MR longitudinal relaxation rate constant, R1,lipid, (ii) longitudinally characterize the adipose pO2 profile during pathogenic adipose expansion in rodents, and (iii) demonstrate the efficacy of weight loss in restoring adipose normoxia (and insulin sensitivity) in metabolically abnormal people with obesity.
  • 1H MR quantification of diabetes-related renal and hepatic dysfunction. Assessment of diabetes-related renal and hepatic deficits (e.g., diabetic nephropathy and steatohepatitis) still rely on measurement of indirect serum biomarkers which elevate only after substantial damage has been inflicted on the organ. The goal of this study is to use MRI and a targeted contrast agent to quantitatively characterize the mechanisms of early, diabetes-related renal and hepatic dysfunction. Specifically, we aim to: (i) directly measure the number and size of all functioning glomeruli in the kidney (which we argue is the true metric of renal function) and (ii) quantify microstructural changes to the hepatic sinusoid (the site of molecular exchange between blood plasma and the hepatic parenchyma).

Key Publications

  1. Little AS, Liu S, Beeman SC, Sankar T, Preul MC, Hu LS, Smith KA, Baxter LC. Brain retraction and thickness of cerebral neocortex: an automated technique for detecting retraction-induced anatomic changes using magnetic resonance imaging. Neurosurgery. 2010; 67(3 Suppl Operative):277-282.
  2. Losey T, Beeman SC, Ng YT, Kerrigan JF, Baxter LC. White matter density is increased in patients with hypothalamic hamartoma and multiple seizure types. Epilepsy Res. 2011; 93(2-3):212-215.
  3. Beeman SC, Zhang M, Gubhaju L, Wu L, Bertram JF, Frakes DH, Cherry BR, Bennett KM. Measuring glomerular number and size in perfused kidneys using MRI. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2011; 300(6): F1454-F1457.
  4. Beeman SC, Georges J, Bennett KM. Toxicity, Biodistribution, and ex vivo MRI detection of intravenously injected cationic ferritin. Magn Res Med. 2013; 69(3):853-861.
  5. Qian C, Yu X, Chen D, Dodd S, Bouraoud N, Pothayee N, Chen Y, Beeman SC, Bennett KM, Murphy-Boesch J, Koretsky A. Wireless amplified NMR detector (WAND) for high resolution in-vivo imaging of internal organs. Radiology. 2013; 268(1): 228-236.
  6. Beeman SC, Mandarino LJ, Georges JF, Bennett KM. Cationized ferritin as a magnetic resonance imaging probe to detect microstructural changes in a rat model of non‐alcoholic steatohepatitis. Magn Res Med. 2013; 70(6):1728-1738.
  7. Beeman SC, Cullen-McEwen L, Puelles VG, Zhang M, Wu T, Baldelomar EJ, Dowling JP, Charlton JR, Forbes MS, Ng A, Wu Q, Armitage JA, Egan GF, Bertram JF, Bennett KM. MRI-based glomerular morphology and pathology in intact human kidneys. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2014 Jun 1;306(11):F1381-F1390.
  8. Clavijo Jordan V, Beeman SC, Baldelomar EJ, Bennett KM. Disruptive chemical doping of ferritin-based iron oxide nanoparticle to decrease r2 and enhance detection with T1-weighted MRI. Contrast Media Mol Imaging. Contrast Media Mol Imaging. 2014 Sep;9(5):323-332.
  9. Beeman SC, Osei-Owusu P, Ackerman JHH, Blumer K, Garbow JR. Renal DCE-MRI Model Selection using Bayesian Probability Theory. Tomography. 2015; 1(1):61-68.
  10. Baldelomar E, Charlton J, Beeman SC, Hann B, Cullen-McEwen L, Pearl V, Bertram JF, Wu T, Zhang M, Bennett KM. MRI phenotyping to nondestructively measure glomerular number and volume distribution in mice with and without nephron reduction. Kidney Int. 2015; 89(2):498-505.
  11. Beeman SC, Shui Y, Perez-Torres CJ, Engelbach JA, Ackerman JHH, Garbow JR. O2-Sensitive MRI Distinguishes Brain Tumor vs. Radiation Necrosis in Murine Models. Magn Res Med. 2016; 75(6): 2442-2447.
  12. Zhang M, Wu T, Beeman SC, Cullen-McEwen L, Bertram JF, Charlton J, Baldelomar EJ, Bennett KM. Efficient Small Blob Detection based on Local Convexity, Intensity and Shape Information. IEEE. 2016; 35(4):1127-1137.
  13. Charlton JR, Pearl VM, Denotti AR, Lee JB, Swaminathan S, Scindia YM, Charlton NP, Baldelomar EJ, Beeman SC, Bennett KM. Biocompatibility of ferritin-based nanoparticles as targeted MRI contrast agents. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine 2016; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nano.2016.03.007. [Epub ahead of print].
  14. Knutsen RH, Beeman SC, Broekelmann T, Kovacs A, Danback J, Watson A, Garbow JR, Shoykhet M, Kozel BA. Minoxidil rescues elastin mediated vasculopathy and improves cerebral blood flow. J Clin Invest. (in review)

Invited Publications

  1. Clavijo-Jordan V, Kodibagkar VD, Beeman SC, Hann BD, Bennett KM. Principles and emerging applications of nanomagnetic materials in medicine. WIREs Nanobiotechnol 2012; 4(4):345-365.
  2. Charlton JR, Beeman SC, Bennett KM. MRI-detectable nanoparticles: The potential role in the diagnosis of and therapy for chronic kidney disease. Adv Chronic Kidney D. 2013; 20(6):479-487.
  3. Bennett KM, Bertram JF, Beeman SC, Gretz N. The emerging role of MRI in quantitative kidney morphology. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2013; 304(10):F1252-F1257.
  4. Bertram JF, Cullen-McEwen LA, Egan G, Gretz N,Beeman SC, and K.M. Bennett. How and why we determine nephron number. Ped Neprol 2014; 29(4):575-580.
  5. Bennett KM, Beeman SC, Baldelomar EJ, Zhang M, Wu T, Hann BD, Bertram JF, Charlton JR. Use of cationized ferritin nanoparticles to measure renal glomerular microstructure with MRI. In: Kidney Research: Experimental Protocols, eds Hewitson TD, Smith ER, Holt SG. 2nd Edition, Humana Press. Springer, NY, USA 2016:67-79. ISBN: 978-1-4939-3353-2.
  6. Beeman SC, Garbow JR. Fatty Liver Disease. In: Imaging and Metabolism, eds Lewis JS, Keshari KR. 1st Edition, Springer Nature. Accepted.

Click Here for Additional Biographical Information.

For an up-to-date list of Dr. Beeman's publications please see his entry on PubMed.