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Zheng Research Group


 Zheng Lab

(Jie Zheng, Ph.D.)


The interest of Zheng’s lab has been on the cardiovascular imaging applications, particularly using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) modality, as well as multi-image-modality such as PET and CT. Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of death in industrialized nations. The ability of cardiovascular MRI for both anatomic and physiology functional imaging in the same imaging session has shown enormous clinical applications as a noninvasive alternative to more invasive procedures such as x-ray angiography, biopsy, etc. However, significant hurdles remain for MRI due to the nature of slow data acquisition, complex structure of beating heart, and relatively low sensitivity for functional assessment. Our recent research efforts have been focus on the following areas:

Development of MRI Perfusion and Oxygenation Methods to Characterize Skeletal Muscle in the Lower Extremities of Patients with Diabetes, Heart Failure, and/or Foot Ulcer

  • Development of reliable and accurate MRI perfusion and oxygenation methods to quantify regional microcirculation distribution in skeletal muscle, including absolute blood flow rates and oxygenation.
  • Design and evaluation of new MRI-compatible exercise system for both leg and foot
  • Characterization of microcirculation dysfunction in diabetic leg and foot
  • Serial evaluation of patients with foot ulcers before and after endovascular treatment.
  • Characterization of perfusion dysfunction in lower extremities of patients with heart failure


Developments of New Imaging Biomarkers for the Quantitative Assessment of Myocardial Fibrosis and Perfusion

  • Development of non-contrast sensitive biomarkers based on different MR relaxation parameters for assessing myocardial fibrosis.
  • Development of contrast-enhance and non-contrast cardiac MRI for the quantification of myocardial perfusion
  • In collaboration with other investigators, applications of various cardiovascular MRI techniques in different animal models and human diseases


Development of Imaging Based Biomechanical Techniques

  • In collaboration with other investigators, development of MRI, IVUS, and/or OCT based biomechanical models to address vulnerability of atherosclerotic plaques


Other Research Activities

  • Detection of atherosclerosis in vivo in patients with carotid artery diseases by simultaneous PET/MRI imaging using a variety of new PET tracers
  • Myocardial oxygenation imaging in vivo
  • MRI Coronary artery imaging in vivo
  • Pulmonary perfusion imaging in vivo