The MR Research Facility currently supports more than 40 research projects from ten different departments within the University of Iowa. The primary utilization of the equipment has been for neuroimaging studies. This includes several large studies from the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, Anesthesia, and Radiology. The majority of these studies have acquired anatomical brain scans for brain morphology studies. A smaller number of studies have utilized fMRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Other research projects have utilized MR imaging to study cardiac function, assess cartilage, liver fat content, and have evaluated subcutaneous facial implants. Our current research projects are outlined below.

Chu-yu Lee, portrait

Neuroimaging Development and Clinical Applications

Chu-yu Lee, PhD

I am a neuroimaging scientist. I am developing advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to assess microstructure, metabolism, and iron deposition in the brain. I am also investigating applications of these MRI techniques in cancer and other neurological disorders.  With an engineering background, I find that the most rewarding part of my job is to work with an interdisciplinary team of physicists, chemists, and clinicians to tackle challenges in diagnosis and disease management and ultimately to improve patient care. 

Jia Xu, portrait

Quantitative MR spectroscopy

Jia Xu, PhD 

I am an MR spectroscopist and my research focuses on studying brain metabolism in psychiatric and neurological disorders by non-invasive MRS techniques. I am working on developing quantitative 31P MRS techniques and assessing medication-induced changes in clinical trials for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. I am also interested in the development and application of multi-voxel 1H and 31P MR spectroscopic imaging and CEST imaging techniques to characterize brain metabolism. In addition, I am interested in developing automated pipelines for spectroscopic data analysis.