Michael T. McMahon, Ph.D.

Headshot of Michael T. McMahon
  • Professor of Radiology and Radiological Science


Dr. Michael McMahon is a Professor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. He is recognized internationally for his work on chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) MRI contrast agents, kidney imaging and cancer imaging. 

Dr. McMahon received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Richmond and earned his Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Illinois. He was a Ruth L Kirchstein NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. McMahon joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2006.

He is also an affiliated faculty member at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s F. M. Kirby Center for Functional Brain Imaging.

Dr. McMahon is a member of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) and the Society for Molecular Imaging (SMI). He was awarded the NIH/NIBIB K01 Career Development Award from 2006-2011 and was named a President's International Fellow of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is the lead editor of the only textbook on CEST MRI "Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer Imaging: Advances and Applications".

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  • Professor of Radiology and Radiological Science

Departments / Divisions



  • Ph.D.; University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) (Illinois) (1999)
  • B.S.; University of Richmond (Georgia) (1993)

Additional Training

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 2001, Postdoctoral Associate; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 2003, NIH Postdoctoral Fellow

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. McMahon is interested in developing new contrast agents for MRI and applying these to a variety of problems. This work includes contrast agent design, MRI pulse sequence development, and detailed image processing and analysis.

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

  1. Liu G, Qin Q, Chan KW, Li Y, Bulte JW, McMahon MT, van Zijl PC, Gilad AA. “Non-invasive temperature mapping using temperature-responsive water saturation shift referencing (T-WASSR) MRI.” NMR Biomed. 2014 Jan 6. doi: 10.1002/nbm.3066.
  2. Yang M, Yu T, Wang YY, Lai SK, Zeng Q, Miao B, Tang BC, Simons BW, Ensign LM, Liu G, Chan KW, Juang CY, Mert O, Wood J, Fu J, McMahon MT, Wu TC, Hung CF, Hanes J. “Vaginal Delivery of Paclitaxel via Nanoparticles with Non-Mucoadhesive Surfaces Suppresses Cervical Tumor Growth.” Adv Healthc Mater. 2013 Dec 16. doi: 10.1002/adhm.201300519.
  3. Chan KW, Bulte JW, McMahon MT. “Diamagnetic chemical exchange saturation transfer (diaCEST) liposomes: physicochemical properties and imaging applications.” Wiley Interdiscip Rev Nanomed Nanobiotechnol. 2014 Jan;6(1):111-24. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1246.
  4. Zeng H, Xu J, Gillen J, McMahon MT, Artemov D, Tyburn JM, Lohman JA, Mewis RE, Atkinson KD, Green GG, Duckett SB, van Zijl PC. “Optimization of SABRE for polarization of the tuberculosis drugs pyrazinamide and isoniazid.” J Magn Reson. 2013 Dec;237:73-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jmr.2013.09.012.
  5. Bar-Shir A, Liu G, Chan KW, Oskolkov N, Song X, Yadav NN, Walczak P, McMahon MT, van Zijl PC, Bulte JW, Gilad AA. “Human Protamine-1 as an MRI Reporter Gene Based on Chemical Exchange.” ACS Chem Biol. 2013 Oct 25.

Activities & Honors


  • K01 Career Development Award, NIH / NIBIB, 2006 - 2011
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship NIH / NIGMS, NRSA , 2001 - 2003
  • Cellular and Molecular Biophysics Training Grant Fellowship, NIH, 1995 - 1998


  • International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), 2003
  • ISMRM Molecular Imaging Study Group, 2005
  • Society for Molecular Imaging (SMI), 2005
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