Larson Group - Advanced Imaging Technologies

Our research group takes an engineering-driven approach to develop advanced MRI methods. We have projects to develop new image contrast methods (e.g. lung imaging, myelin imaging), combine MRI with other technologies (e.g. hyperpolarized metabolic contrast agents, PET/MRI, radiation therapy planning), and develop intelligent MRI scanners. We use tools such as signal processing, real-time software, and deep learning, and apply these methods for human studies in oncology, pulmonology, and neurology. We are based in Byers Hall at the UCSF Mission Bay campus, as a part of the Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI) at UCSF.  The primary facilities 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.  

We are looking for strong PhD graduate student candidates, please contact us if interested

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
[email protected]

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.

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 lung imaging and PET/MR applications, and dynamic hyperpolarized imaging strategies.

Andrew Leynes
Bioengineering Graduate Student

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.


Dharshan Chandramohan
Associate Specialist

Dharshan Chandramohan has a background in Bioengineering (B.S. UC-Berkeley) and Biomedical Imaging (M.S. UCSF), and is working on quantitative cancer imaging methods using PET/MRI and to improve radiation therapy planning.

Nikhil Deveshwar
Graduate Student

Nikhil Deveshwar is a graduate of the UCSF Master's of Biomedical Imaging program who is working as a research assistant.  His work is focused on analysis of myelin imaging methods as measured by UTE and diffusion MRI.

Nick Dwork
Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Nicholas Dwork completed his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University with Prof. John Pauly working on acquisition and reconstruction of MRI and optical imaging data.  He is working on novel methods for hyperpolarized C-13 MRI acquisition and reconstruction

Manuska Vaidya
Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Vaidya received her PhD at the NYU School of Medicine under the mentorship of Ricardo Lattanzi, Graham Wiggins, and Dan Sodickson.  She has extensive experience in RF coil design and evaluation of MRI evaluations, and is currently working on improved RF hardware and pulse sequences for brain tumor imaging with hyperpolarized carbon-13 MRI.

Kirti Magudia
Clinical Fellow

Dr. Magudia received her graduate training in the Weill Cornell/ Rockefeller/ Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program, where her PhD thesis focused on developing a 3D cell culture model of colon epithelial tumorigenesis.  She completed her Radiology residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she worked at the MGH & BWH Center for Clinical Data Science applying machine learning methods to define population-based normal values of body composition.  She is currently a Clinical Fellow at UCSF and working on applying deep learning for improved prostate cancer classification.


Peng Cao, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Peng Cao was a postdoctoral scholar in the Larson Group at UCSF from 2014-2018, where he worked on a broad range of advanced imaging projects including advanced hyperpolarized carbon-13 MRS and MRI methods, constrained reconstruction methods to generate novel contrast applied to brain imaging, and using neural networks for image segmentation and image synthesis.  He published 8 journal papers based on this work, including 3 first-author papers and 2 additional manuscripts currently submitted.  Prior to UCSF, he completed his graduate studies at The University of Hong Kong under the supervision of Prof. Ed X. Wu on methodologies and applications of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS).  He returned to The University of Hong Kong as an Assistant Professor in 2018.

Wenwen Jiang
Bioengineering Graduate Student, PhD 2017

Wenwen Jiang got her PhD in 2017 in the UC Berkeley - UCSF Graduate Group in Bioengineering, working jointly with Prof. Larson at UCSF and Prof. Michael Lustig at UC Berkeley on "Rapid and Robust Non-Cartesian Magnetic Resonance Imaging Methods".  She has developed novel approaches for hyperpolarized C13 MRI acquisition, reconstruction and motion correction in lung MRI, and correction of artifacts non-Cartesian trajectories, and published 5 total papers with 3 first-author journal papers.  After graduation, she began work as a research scientist in industry

Tanguy Boucneau
Visiting Graduate Student, 2014-2015

Tanguy Boucneau was a visiting graduate student in our group from the Ecole Normale Superior (ENS)-Cachan in France, working on ultrashort echo time (UTE) MRI methods for imaging myelin in the brain.  He is currently a PhD student at the Unviersité Paris-Saclay.


  • 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.