David Wilson, MD, PhD

Chief of VA Neuroradiology
T32 Program Associate Director
Professor in Residence


David M. Wilson, M.D., Ph.D. received his B.S. degree from Harvard University in Biochemistry, and completed his M.D./Ph.D. training at Columbia University in New York City. His Ph.D. mentor was Dr. Ronald Breslow, a pioneer in artificial enzymes, the hydrophobic effect, and bio-organic chemistry. Dr. Wilson’s subsequent clinical training was in radiology and neuroradiology at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he trained further in the laboratory of Professor John Kurhanewicz and subsequently became a faculty member in 2010. He has since established a basic science laboratory investigating the detection and characterization of cancer via analyte sensing, and developing probes for positron emission tomography (PET) and hyperpolarized 13C spectroscopy. His laboratory has most recently studied imaging infection using bacteria-specific metabolic pathways, and ways to detect ACE2 suppression in SARS-CoV-2.

Dr. Wilson’s research interest is the development of new molecular probes for brain and tumor imaging. He is mainly interested in molecular imaging approaches where structural and biochemical insight is required. Recently, Dr. Wilson’s research consist of the development of new agents for hyperpolarized 13C spectroscopy, and his goal is to identify positron emission tomography (PET) that correlates for imaging in animal models.

Dr. Wilson is a physician-scientist dedicated to exploring a variety of metabolic and biochemical phenomena using new imaging techniques. His laboratory is currently focusing on comparing hyperpolarized (HP) 13C MRS and positron emission tomography (PET) in a variety of disease processes.


Positron emission tomography (PET)

Professional Interests:
Molecular imaging, MR spectroscopy, Redox chemistry, Vitamin C

Education and Training:
• Medical School: Columbia University, New York
• Internship: University of Hawaii Residency Program - Transitional Program
• Residency: University of California, San Francisco - Diagnostic Radiology
• Fellowship: University of California, San Francisco - Neuroradiology
• Doctor of Philosophy: Columbia University, New York


M.D., 2004 - School of Medicine, Columbia University, New York
Ph.D., - , Columbia University, New York
Fellowship, - School of Medicine - Radiology, University of California, San Francisco
Residency, - School of Medicine - Radiology, University of California, San Francisco

Honors and Awards

Resident/Fellowship Research Grant, Radiological Society of North America, 2009
Margulis Society Research Award, University of California, San Francisco, 2009
Resident Training Grant Award (NIBIB), National Institutes of Health, 2007
Spotnitz Award for Excellence in Research of Neoplastic Diseases, 2004
Magna Cum Laude, Biochemistry, Harvard University, 1996


Ning Zhao, Conner Bardine, Andre´ Luiz Lourenc¸o, Yung-hua Wang, Yangjie Huang, Simon J. Cleary, David M. Wilson, David Y. Oh, Lawrence Fong, Mark R. Looney, Michael J. Evans, Charles S. Craik. In Vivo Measurement of Granzyme Proteolysis from Activated Immune Cells with PET. ACS Central Science. 2021 Sep 2.
Ilona Polvoy, Hecong Qin, Robert R. Flavell, Jeremy Gordon, Pavithra Viswanath, Renuka Sriram, Michael A. Ohliger, David M. Wilson. Deuterium Metabolic Imaging—Rediscovery of a Spectroscopic Tool. Metabolites. 2021 Aug 25; 11(9):570.
Jianbo Liu, Matthew F.L. Parker, Sinan Wang, Robert R. Flavell, F. Dean Toste, David M. Wilson. Synthesis of N-trifluoromethyl amides from carboxylic acids. Chem. 2021 Aug 1; 7(8):2245-2255.
David Wilson, Michael Ohliger. Introduction: MRI/MRS as Metabolic Imaging Tools. Imaging and Metabolism. 2018 Jan 1; 81-98.
Alvaro A. Ordonez, Lauren E. Bambarger, Niren Murthy, David M. Wilson, Sanjay K. Jain. Bacterial Imaging. Imaging Infections. 2017 Jan 1; 149-172.
Robert R. Flavell, David M. Wilson, Spencer C. Behr. Recent Developments in Combined PET/MRI. Current Radiology Reports. 2016 May 1; 4(5):22.
Carroll VN, Truillet C, Shen B, Flavell RR, Shao X, Evans MJ, VanBrocklin HF, Scott PJ, Chin FT, Wilson DM. [(11)C]Ascorbic and [(11)C]dehydroascorbic acid, an endogenous redox pair for sensing reactive oxygen species using positron emission tomography. Chem Commun (Camb). 2016 Apr 07; 52(27):4888-90.
Korenchan DE, Flavell RR, Baligand C, Sriram R, Neumann K, Sukumar S, VanBrocklin H, Vigneron DB, Wilson DM, Kurhanewicz J. Dynamic nuclear polarization of biocompatible (13)C-enriched carbonates for in vivo pH imaging. Chem Commun (Camb). 2016 Feb 18; 52(14):3030-3.
Flavell RR, von Morze C, Blecha JE, Korenchan DE, Van Criekinge M, Sriram R, Gordon JW, Chen HY, Subramaniam S, Bok RA, Wang ZJ, Vigneron DB, Larson PE, Kurhanewicz J, Wilson DM. Application of Good's buffers to pH imaging using hyperpolarized (13)C MRI. Chem Commun (Camb). 2015 Sep 25; 51(74):14119-22.
Kayvan R. Keshari, David M. Wilson. ChemInform Abstract: Chemistry and Biochemistry of 13C Hyperpolarized Magnetic Resonance Using Dynamic Nuclear Polarization. ChemInform. 2014 May 6; 45(18):no-no.
Wilson DM, Cohen B, Keshari K, Vogel H, Steinberg G, Dillon W. Case report: glioblastoma multiforme complicating familial cavernous malformations. Clin Neuroradiol. 2014 Sep; 24(3):293-6.
David M. Wilson, Lisa N. Silverman, Markus Bergauer, Kayvan R. Keshari. Solid phase synthesis of hydroxamate peptides for histone deacetylase inhibition. Tetrahedron Letters. 2013 Jan 1; 54(2):151-153.
Anna Bet-Lachin, Frank Jiang, Lingjing Chen, Keyvan Keshari, David Wilson, John Kurhanewicz, James L. Rubenstein. Metabolic Profiling of CNS Lymphoma and Its Microenvironment. Blood. 2011 Nov 18; 118(21):588-588.
Baugh SD, Yang Z, Leung DK, Wilson DM, Breslow R. Cyclodextrin dimers as cleavable carriers of photodynamic sensitizers. J Am Chem Soc. 2001 Dec 19; 123(50):12488-94.