Joseph J.H. Ackerman, Ph.D.

William Greenleaf Eliot Professor
Internal Medicine

Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology Program
Molecular Cell Biology Program
Neurosciences Program

  • 314-747-1212

  • 314-362-9996

  • 314-935-6582

  • 314-362-0526

  • 2304 East Building; 523 McMillen Laboratory



  • biophysics, cancer, imaging, mathematical modeling, neurobiology

  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging of intact functioning biological systems

Research Abstract:

The Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Laboratory (BMRL) and its collaborators are focused on the development and application of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and imaging (MRI) for study of intact biological systems. A major area of BMRL research is the development of MR techniques that will provide a more complete understanding of the complex structure and operating organization of mammalian tissues in the intact, functioning state. A primary tool is the use of water diffusion sensitive MR methods to probe tissue architecture and microstructure at the micron length scale, far less than the actual voxel resolution of the image itself. Tissue microstructure at the micron scale is extraordinarily sensitive to physiologic change and challenge, either normal or pathologic. We seek to develop a fundamental understanding of water diffusion in living systems by pursuing experiments on carefully-chosen model systems ranging from single cells (Xenopus oocytes), to populations of cultured cells (HeLa cells), to small animals (mice, rats), to humans. In addition, a concerted effort is underway to develop the theoretical means by which to quantitatively describe the effect on the MR diffusion signal of various structural barriers that hinder/restrict the incoherent displacement motion of water. These efforts are aimed at elucidating the biophysical phenomena behind changes of water diffusion associated with a variety of normal and pathologic states, with specific focus on cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and developmental neurobiology.

Selected Publications:

Jespersen SN, Kroenke CD, Ostergaard L, Ackerman JJH, Yablonskiy DA. Modeling dendrite density from magnetic resonance diffusion measurements. Neuroimage. 2007 Feb 15;34(4):1473-86. Epub 2006 Dec 22.

Zhao L, Kroenke CD, Song J, Piwnica-Worms D, Ackerman JJH, Neil JJ. Intracellular water specific MR of microbead-adherent cells: the HeLa cell intracellular water exchange lifetime. NMR Biomed. 2008 Feb;21(2):159-64.

Zhu M, Ackerman JJH, Sukstanskii AL, Yablonskiy DA. How the body controls brain temperature: the temperature shielding effect of cerebral blood flow. J App Physiol 2006 101:1481-1488.

Goodman J, Ackerman JJH, Neil JJ. The sodium ion apparent diffusion coefficient in living rat brain. Magn Reson Med 2005 53:1040-1045.

Kroenke CD, Ackerman JJH, Yablonskiy DA. On the nature of the NAA diffusion attenuated MR Signal in the central nervous system. Magn Reson Med 2004 52:1052-1059.

Last Updated: 8/25/2011 9:04:21 AM

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