MRI Faculty

Phillip Zhe Sun, Ph. D.

Director, Yerkes Imaging Center
404 727 7786
Dr. Sun earned his Ph.D. in the Radiological Science Joint Program from the Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard University and MIT in 2003. He spent three years at Johns Hopkins University for his postdoctoral training before joining the Martinos Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, in 2007. Dr. Sun joined Emory University in 2018. Dr. Sun’s research has focused on the development of advanced MRI techniques for in vivo applications. He has years’ experience in biomedical imaging research, including MRI sequence development, preclinical evaluation, and clinical translation on experimental Bruker and clinical Siemens scanners. His previous investigations contributed to the technical advancement of quantitative chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) and diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI). His group proposed multiple CEST analysis algorithms include CEST intravoxel inhomogeneity correction (CIVIC), Image Downsampling Expedited Adaptive Least-squares (IDEAL) CEST fitting, and quasi-steady-state (QUASS) CEST MRI. His work showed that the heterogeneous perfusion/diffusion ischemic lesion mismatch can be demarcated into the metabolic penumbra (the hypoperfused area with pH drop) and benign oligemia (the hypoperfused area without pH change). His study also demonstrated the heterogeneous diffusion lesion could be refined using the DKI technique. Diffusion kurtosis lesion identifies the most severely injured portion of diffusion lesion that is unlikely to respond to early recanalization. As a result of my research activities, his group has published over seventy-five peer-reviewed articles and more than ten patents. As the director of the imaging core, Dr. Sun supports ongoing projects, and helps guide innovative imaging research, identify new funding opportunities, and promote the excellence of the imaging core.

Xiaodong Zhang, Ph.D.

Assistant Director, MRI Research
404 712 9874
Dr. Zhang’s research interests include development and application of conventional and novel MRI techniques for neuroscience study using non-human primates (NHPs), perfusion MRI with continuous arterial spin labeling (CASL) and dynamic susceptibility contrast (DSC) technique, diffusion tensor image (DTI), diffusion spectrum imaging (DSI), HARDI, multi-shell diffusion MRI, in vivo MR spectroscopy. His resting-state functional MRI with multi-band excitation technique has been implemented on a clinical 3T system. For more than 15 years, these techniques have been applied successfully to investigate various NHP models using squirrel monkeys, infant and adult rhesus monkeys, chimpanzees for studies of AD, HIV/AIDS, ZIKA, aging, stroke, development, Huntington’s disease (HD), hippocampal injury, hypothermia therapy, et al., supported by university or NIH funding.

Chunxia Li, Ph.D.

Research Associate
404 712 9916
Dr. Li’s research focuses on the development and application of resting-state functional MRI (rsfMRI), in vivo MR spectroscopy, arterial spin labeling (ASL) perfusion MRI techniques and data analysis to characterize the physiological, neurochemical, structural and functional alterations in the monkey brain with neurodegenerative diseases or infection (stroke, Huntington disease (HD), hippocampal lesion, HIV/AIDS, et al.)

Yuguang Meng, Ph.D

Research Associate
Dr. Meng applies and develops MR neuroimaging methods for NHP neurodegenerative disease models at Yerkes. He has double BS degrees in computer science and chemical engineering, a Ph.D. in radiophysics and completed three years of training at The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Dr. Meng has created numerous technical developments in animal MRI systems to include diffusion tractography, cerebral blood flow/volume measurement, magnetic susceptibility and relaxation measurements, fMRI hemodynamics measurement, and high-speed high-fidelity MRI reconstruction.

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