Larson Group

Our group is focused on developing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods that provide new structural, functional and metabolic information, and facilitating their translation into clinical studies.  We are based in Byers Hall at the UCSF Mission Bay campus, as a part of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) at UCSF.  The primary facilites available for research include 3T and 7T MRI systems, Hyperpolarizers, an electronics shop, and a machine shop, all of which are part of the Surbeck Laboratory for Advanced Imaging and are supported in part by the NIH-funded Hyperpolarized MRI Technology Resource Center.  We are also actively involved in development of technology for PET/MR systems, using the time-of-flight PET with 3-Tesla MRI at China Basin in collaboration with the UCSF Radiology Physics Research Laboratory.  Our research projects include

Hyperpolarized carbon-13 metabolic MRI

Enables non-invasive, direct measurements of metabolism using "Hyperpolarized" contrast agents, with applications such as cancer staging and monitoring treatment response.  Clinical trials are ongoing worldwide with this technology.

Semi-Solid MRI

Specialized acquisition and reconstruction methods to provide signal in MRI from semi-solid tissues such as tendons, bone, lung, and myelin, all of which are invisible with conventional MRI


Hybrid PET/MRI systems are recently introduced commercially, and combine the functional information from PET tracers with the soft-tissue contrast from MRI.  We are working on motion management, quantitatifive imaging, and lung imaging for this emerging modality.


Larson Group Publications on Pubmed

We have fun with spin physics and RF pulses



Peder Larson

Peder Larson, PhD
Associate Professor
Principal Investigator

Dr. Peder Larson got his PhD  under Dwight Nishimura from the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University on "MRI of Semi-solid Tissues" in 2007.  His research interests are in RF pulse design, pulse sequence development, novel imaging strategies, and optimized reconstruction methods for MRI, with an emphasis on applications in Hyperpolarized carbon-13 agents and semi-solid tissue imaging with ultrashort echo time (UTE) methods.


Jeremy Gordon, PhD
Senior Development Engineer

Dr. Jeremy Gordon completed his graduate work under Prof. Sean Fain at the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2013, on advanced hyperpolarized carbon-13 methods, and is continuing to work in that area at UCSF.  He is developing imaging methods for clinical trials of hyperpolarized carbon-13 MRI, managing the clinical hyperpolarizers, and developing novel imaging methods to image perfusion & cellular transport.

Peng Cao, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Peng Cao completed his graduate studies The University of Hong Kong under the supervision of Prof. Ed X. Wu on methodologies and applications of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS).  He is working on advanced hyperpolarized carbon-13 MRS methods and novel brain imaging methods utilizing non-linear reconstruction methods and specialized acquisition strategies.

Wenwen Jiang
Bioengineering Graduate Student

Wenwen Jiang is a graduate student in the UC Berkeley - UCSF Graduate Group in Bioengineering, working jointly with Prof. Larson at UCSF and Prof. Michael Lustig at UC Berkeley.  She is developing rapid, robust imaging methods for MRI using non-Cartesian trajectories.

Shuyu Tang
Bioengineering Graduate Student

Shuyu Tang is a graduate student in the UC Berkeley - UCSF Graduate Group in Bioengineering, and a graduate of the UCSF Master's of Biomedical Imaging program.  He is working on new approaches for hyperpolarized carbon-13 MRI experiments.

Xucheng Zhu
Bioengineering Graduate Student

Xucheng Zhu is a graduate student in the UC Berkeley - UCSF Graduate Group in Bioengineering.  He is currently working Motion Correction for PET/MR applications and dynamic hyperpolarized imaging strategies.

Andrew Leynes
Junior Specialist

Andrew Leynes is a graduate of the UCSF Masters of Biomedical Imaging Program and completed his PET/MR Master’s Thesis on “Tissue Segmentation and Classification for PET/MR MR-based Attenuation Correction using Zero-Echo Time (ZTE) MRI” in 2015.  He is working on advanced methods for quantitative PET/MRI, high-field (7T) MRI, and RF coil design projects.


  • Sonam Machingal, Biomedical Imaging Graduate Student. Sonam is a graduate of the UCSF Master’s of Biomedical Imaging Program. She completed her Master’s thesis on “Sampling Strategies for Hyperpolarized Carbon-13 Dynamic Imaging” in 2014 under Dr. Larson. 
  • Naeim Bahrami, Biomedical Imaging Graduate Student. Naeim is a graduate of the the UCSF Master's of Biomedical Imaging program.  He worked with Dr. Larson on improving quantitation of hyperpolarized carbon-13 dynamic data, and completed a Master’s thesis on “Modeling Hyperpolarized 13C Pyruvate and Urea Concentration Kinetics With Multibanded RF Excitation MRI In Prostate Cancer” in 2013.
  • Yan Ann Xing, Biomedical Imaging Graduate Student. Ann was in the inaugural class of the UCSF Master's of Biomedical Imaging program.  She completed her Master's thesis on "Optimal Variable Flip Angle Schemes For Dynamic Acquisition Of Exchanging Hyperpolarized Substrates" in 2012 under Dr. Larson.