Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Laboratory

The BMRL's multidisciplinary research staff, students, and collaborators are focused on the development and application of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and imaging (MRI) for study of intact biological systems.  BMRL members include faculty members and associated postgraduate fellows, staff scientists, graduate and undergraduate students, and technicians.  Located in the East Building Imaging Center in the heart of the School of Medicine's compact campus, the BMRL supports small-animal MR scanners (one 11.74-T, two 4.7-T) and makes considerable use of the Center's three clinical research MR scanners (one 3-T, two 1.5-T).

The BMRL has had a long and successful history of training graduate students (Ph.D. and M.D.) and postdoctoral fellows from Arts & Sciences (Departments of Chemistry and Physics), the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and from the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences. Numerous graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who trained within the BMRL now occupy leadership positions in academic, industrial, and clinical settings. (A representative listing is provided below.)

Trainees become involved in all aspects MR research including theory and course work, pulse-sequence design and programming, scanner operation, maintenance and repair, small-animal handling (care, anesthesia, surgery, physiologic monitoring, etc.) and image analysis. Importantly, all trainees - irrespective of their formal academic training - are expected to acquire a deep knowledge of the biological and biophysical aspects of their research problem. Trainees participate actively in weekly group meetings, various campus-wide seminar programs, and national and international scientific conferences. Trainees also participate in the process of formulating and preparing grant applications, research reports, and manuscripts.

Representative Sample of BMRL Trainees:

Over the past decades, the Biomedical MR Laboratory at Washington University has participated in the training of numerous undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral research associates and fellows. Ten representative trainees, whose work with the laboratory spans its history, are briefly described below (cited in alphabetical order).

Stasia Anderson

Worked with the BMRL from 1997 - 1999 as a postdoctoral research associate. She is currently Head of the Animal MRI/Imaging Core, NHLBI, National Institutes of Health. Her work has focused on the development of targeted MR contrast agent technology for cell trafficking.

Bruce Berkowitz

Worked with the BMRL as a graduate student from 1982 – 1987, receiving his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the end of that period. Bruce is Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Wayne State University School of Medicine. He is well known for his MRI and MRS studies in the field of ophthalmology.

Wei Chen

Worked with the BMRL as a graduate student from 1985 - 1990, receiving his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the end of that period. Wei is Professor of Radiology, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, University of Minnesota School of Medicine. He has pioneered the application of 17O MRI, specifically monitoring the conversion of the NMR silent 17O2 species to NMR active H217O, for quantification cellular respiration rate (oxidative phosphorylation) in human brain, i.e., CMRO2.

Tim Duong

Worked with the BMRL as a graduate student from 1994 – 1998, receiving his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the end of that period. He holds the SI Glickman MD Endowed Chair and is Professor and MRI Division Chief and Assistant Director for Research at the Research Imaging Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Tim is well known for his work in the area of functional and diffusion-sensitive MRI.

Jeffrey Evelhoch

With the BMRL from 1981 – 1985 as a postdoctoral research associate and NIH postdoctoral fellow. He is Vice President, Global Clinical Development and head, Imaging at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL). In this role Jeff, provides leadership and coordination for the use of Preclinical and Clinical Imaging resources for all MRL franchises and functions. He is an acknowledged leader in the application of MRI to cancer and as a benchmark in clinical trials.

Seong-Gi Kim

Worked with the BMRL from 1984 – 1989 as a graduate student, receiving his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the end of this period. He holds the Paul C. Lauterbur Chair in Imaging Research and is Professor of Radiology, Neurobiology, and Bioengineering, at the University of Pittsburgh, where he directs its Neuroimaging Laboratory. Seong-Gi is an acknowledged leader in functional MRI.

John Kotyk

Served as a postdoctoral research associate with the BMRL from 1986 – 1988. Until late 2005 John was Research Fellow and Head, Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Laboratory, St. Louis Laboratories, Pfizer, Inc. In this role, John directed a broad program of MRI science directed toward drug discovery and development of benchmark methods for clinical trials. In late 2005 John was recruited by the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University as Associate Professor to assist in the development of the Center for Clinical Imaging Research and to serve as liaison to corporations interested in pursuing collaborative research at MIR.

Chris Kroenke

Joined the BMRL in 2001 as a postdoctoral research associate and was appointed assistant professor in 2006. He is currently Associate Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at the Oregon Health and Sciences University. Chris is well known for his diffusion tensor studies of biological development in the primate brain.

Jeff Neil

Joined the BMRL as a Pediatric Neurology Fellow in 1986, ultimately advancing to appointment as the Allen P. and Josephine B. Green Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics, and Radiology, at Washington University. He was recently appointed as a Visiting Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital. Jeff is well known for his pioneering work in the area of MRI of neonates and his fundamental studies into the biophysics underlying the diffusion MR signal.

Sheng-Kwei Victor Song

Worked with the BMRL 1985 – 1990 as a graduate student, receiving his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the end of this period. He is Professor of Radiology, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University. Victor has pioneered the use of diffusion tensor MRI for quantification of myelin and axonal damage in various forms of white matter pathology, including spinal cord contusion injury and multiple sclerosis.