Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Laboratory (BMRL)

Dmitriy Yablonskiy

Contact Information
Washington University School of Medicine
Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Laboratory
Campus Box 8227
4525 Scott Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 362-1815

Current Position
Professor of Radiology

Research Interests
I am a physicist with more than 20 years of experience in developing theoretical biophysical models of biological tissue structure and functioning. We use these models as a foundation for designing new quantitative MRI-based methods for in vivo studying of humans and animals in health and disease.

I have authored and co-authored about 200 papers in peer-review journals in the areas of MRI, physiology, and theoretical physics.

yablonskiy Picture2

Recent work is focused on applying MRI-based Gradient Echo Plural Contrast Imaging (GEPCI) and its advanced version quantitative Gradient Recalled Echo (qGRE) techniques that we have developed to link brain genetic and cellular microstructure with brain functioning. We study patients with Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury and different psychiatric diseases.

For Alzheimer’s disease (AD), our most interesting finding is that GEPCI can identify AD-related tissue cellular damage well before onset of the tissue atrophy measured by volumetric MRI. Hence GEPCI has a great potential for early diagnostic of the preclinical stage of AD, thus providing a large window for therapeutic intervention. It has also a great potential as a non-invasive MRI technique available in a conventional clinical setting for screening population for preclinical AD pathology and clinical drug trials.

In multiple sclerosis we have demonstrated that GEPCI can uncover brain tissue damage in normal appearing gray matter and white matter that is not visible with standard clinical MRI.

We have also developed in vivo lung morphometry technique that is based on diffusion MRI with hyperpolarized He3 gas. The technique allows in a ten-second MRI scan obtaining measurements of lung microstructure at the alveolar level that were previously available only from invasive histology. 


  1. Yablonskiy DA; T2 contrast in magnetic resonance imaging with gradient echoes. US Patent 6,603,989 B1. 2003.
  2. Yablonskiy DA, Sukstanskii AL, Conradi MS; Magnetic resonance method and system for quantification of anisotropic diffusion. USA patent US7078897 B2. 2006.
  3. Yablonskiy DA, Zhao Y; MRI Method for In Vivo Detection of Amyloid and Pathology in the Alzheimer Brain. 2016, Patent pending.
  4. Yablonskiy DA, Sukstanskii AL, Wen J, Cross AH; Methods for Simultaneous Multi-Angular Relaxometry of Tissue Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 2015, Patent pending.

Key Publications (selected from more than 200 peer review papers)

  1. Wen J, Goyal MS, Astafiev SV, Raichle ME, Yablonskiy DA. Genetically defined cellular correlates of the baseline brain MRI signal. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018;115(41):E9727-E9736.
  2. Yablonskiy DA, Sukstanskii AL. Lorentzian effects in magnetic susceptibility mapping of anisotropic biological tissues. J Magn Reson 2018;292:129-136.
  3. Zhao Y, Raichle ME, Wen J, Benzinger TL, Fagan AM, Hassenstab J, Vlassenko AG, Luo J, Cairns NJ, Christensen JJ, Morris JC, Yablonskiy DA. In vivo detection of microstructural correlates of brain pathology in preclinical and early Alzheimer Disease with magnetic resonance imaging. Neuroimage 2017;148:296-304.
  4. Sukstanskii AL, Wen J, Cross AH, Yablonskiy DA. Simultaneous multi-angular relaxometry of tissue with MRI (SMART MRI): Theoretical background and proof of concept. Magn Reson Med 2017;77(3):1296-1306.
  5. Zhao Y, Wen J, Cross AH, Yablonskiy DA. On the relationship between cellular and hemodynamic properties of the human brain cortex throughout adult lifespan. Neuroimage 2016;133:417-429.
  6. Ulrich X, Yablonskiy DA. Separation of cellular and BOLD contributions to T2* signal relaxation. Magn Reson Med 2016;75(2):606-615.
  7. Wen J, Cross AH, Yablonskiy DA. On the role of physiological fluctuations in quantitative gradient echo MRI: implications for GEPCI, QSM, and SWI. Magn Reson Med 2015;73(1):195-203.
  8. Sukstanskii AL, Yablonskiy DA. On the role of neuronal magnetic susceptibility and structure symmetry on gradient echo MR signal formation. Magn Reson Med 2014;71(1):345-353.
  9. Yablonskiy DA, Sukstanskii AL, Quirk JD, Woods JC, Conradi MS. Probing lung microstructure with hyperpolarized noble gas diffusion MRI: theoretical models and experimental results. Magn Reson Med 2013;71(2):486-505.
  10. Yablonskiy DA, Sukstanskii AL, Luo J, Wang X. Voxel spread function method for correction of magnetic field inhomogeneity effects in quantitative gradient-echo-based MRI. Magn Reson Med 2013;70(5):1283-1292.
  11. Yablonskiy DA, Sukstanskii AL, He X. Blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD)-based techniques for the quantification of brain hemodynamic and metabolic properties - theoretical models and experimental approaches. NMR Biomed 2013;26(8):963-986.
  12. Yablonskiy DA, Luo J, Sukstanskii AL, Iyer A, Cross AH. Biophysical mechanisms of MRI signal frequency contrast in multiple sclerosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2012;109(35):14212-14217.
  13. Luo J, Jagadeesan BD, Cross AH, Yablonskiy DA. Gradient Echo Plural Contrast Imaging - Signal model and derived contrasts: T2*, T1, Phase, SWI, T1f, FST2*and T2*-SWI. Neuroimage 2012;60(2):1073-1082.
  14. Jespersen SN, Kroenke CD, Ostergaard L, Ackerman JJ, Yablonskiy DA. Modeling dendrite density from magnetic resonance diffusion measurements. Neuroimage 2007;34(4):1473-1486.
  15. Yablonskiy DA, Sukstanskii AL, Woods JC, Gierada DS, Quirk JD, Hogg JC, Cooper JD, Conradi MS. Quantification of lung microstructure with hyperpolarized 3He diffusion MRI. J Appl Physiol 2009;107(4):1258-1265.
  16. He X, Yablonskiy DA. Biophysical mechanisms of phase contrast in gradient echo MRI. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2009;106(32):13558-13563.
  17. He X, Yablonskiy DA. Quantitative BOLD: mapping of human cerebral deoxygenated blood volume and oxygen extraction fraction: default state. Magn Reson Med 2007;57(1):115-126.
  18. Yablonskiy DA, Bretthorst GL, Ackerman JJ. Statistical model for diffusion attenuated MR signal. Magn Reson Med 2003;50(4):664-669.
  19. Yablonskiy DA, Sukstanskii AL, Leawoods JC, Gierada DS, Bretthorst GL, Lefrak SS, Cooper JD, Conradi MS. Quantitative in vivo assessment of lung microstructure at the alveolar level with hyperpolarized 3He diffusion MRI. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2002;99(5):3111-3116.
  20. Yablonskiy DA, Ackerman JJ, Raichle ME. Coupling between changes in human brain temperature and oxidative metabolism during prolonged visual stimulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2000;97(13):7603-7608.
  21. Yablonskiy DA. Quantitation of intrinsic magnetic susceptibility-related effects in a tissue matrix. Phantom study. Magn Reson Med 1998;39(3):417-428.
  22. Yablonskiy DA, Haacke EM. Theory of NMR signal behavior in magnetically inhomogeneous tissues: the static dephasing regime. Magn Reson Med 1994;32(6):749-763.

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