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Jeff W.M. Bulte, M.S., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Jeff W.M. Bulte, M.S., Ph.D.

Director of Cellular Imaging, The Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering

Professor of Radiology and Radiological Science

Research Interests: Bioluminescent imaging; Ultrasound; Computed tomography; MRI cell tracking techniques


Dr. Jeff W. M. Bulte is a Professor in the Johns Hopkins Departments of Radiology, Oncology, Biomedical Engineering, and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. He serves as the Director of Cellular Imaging at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering. He specializes in molecular and cellular imaging.

Dr. Bulte has pioneered methods to label cells magnetically, making them visible by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). His team is developing MRI cell tracking techniques, reporter genes and immunoprotective semi-permeable microcapsules detectable by MRI, computed tomography, ultrasound, and bioluminescent imaging.

Dr. Bulte received his undergraduate degree in biology and a master''s in medical biology from the Free University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. He earned his Ph.D. in medicine summa cum laude from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands in 1991. He subsequently spent 10 years with the National Institutes of Health, first as a postdoctoral fellow and then a staff scientist in the Laboratory of Diagnostic Radiology Research. Dr. Bulte joined the Johns Hopkins faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2001, became an Associate Professor in 2002, and a Professor in 2006.

He is a Fellow and Gold Medal awardee of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, a Distinguished Investigator of the Academy of Radiology Research, and has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and  40 book chapters, and serves on the editorial boards of Radiology, Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, WIREs Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology, Contrast Media and Molecular Imaging, Molecular Imaging, and the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. more


  • Director of Cellular Imaging, The Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering
  • Professor of Radiology and Radiological Science
  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Professor of Oncology

Departments / Divisions



  • M.S., Free University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands) (1987)
  • Ph.D., Rijksuniversiteit Groningen - Fac Der Geneeskunde - Groningen (The Netherlands) (1991)

Additional Training

Laboratory of Diagnostic Radiology Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, 2001, Staff Scientist; KWF (Dutch Cancer Society), University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands, 1991, Researcher; Laboratory of Diagnostic Radiology Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, 1995, Postdoctoral Fellow

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Bulte oversees the development of novel reporter genes that can provide contrast on MRI scans, and artificial proteins in mammalian cells that contain specific proton exchangable groups of which the proton signal can be manipulated.


The Bulte Lab has developed methods to label cells magnetically using tiny superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles in order to make them visible by magnetic resonance imaging; this technology has now been introduced in the clinic for several cell therapy applications. The lab has examined MRI cell tracking in animal models of dysmyelination, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, spinal cord, stroke, and diabetes.

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Barczewska M, Wojtkiewicz J, Habich A, Janowski M, Adamiak Z, Holak P, Matyjasik H, Bulte JW, Maksymowicz W, Walczak P. "MR monitoring of minimally invadive delivery of mesenchymal stem cells into the porcine intervertebral disc." PLoS One. 8(9), 2013.

Ahrens ET, Bulte JW. "Tracking immune cells in vivo using magnetic resonance imaging." Nat Rev Immunol. 2013 Sep 10.0. doi: 10.1038/nri3531. [Epub ahead of print]

Srivastava AK, Bulte JW. "Seeing Stem Cells at Work In Vivo." Stem Cell Rev. 2013 Aug 23. [Epub ahead of print]

Bar-Shir A, Gilad AA, Chan KW, Liu G, van Zijl PC, Bulte JW, McMahon MT. "Metal ion sensing using ion chemical exchange saturation transfer (19)f magnetic resonance imaging." J Am Chem Soc.;135(33):12164-7, 2013.

Liang Y, Walczak P, Bulte JW. "The survival of engrafted neural stem cells within hyaluronic acid hydrogels." Biomaterials, 34(22):5521-9, 2013.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Activities & Honors


  • Dinstinguished Investigator, Academy of Radiology Research, 2012
  • Semi-Finalist, HHMI Investigator Tri-Annual Open Competition, 2008
  • Gold Medal, International Society for Magnetic Resonance, 2014
  • Fellow, International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2008
  • PhD "Summa Cum Laude", 1991
  • EUREKA Award, NIH, 2008

Professional Activities

  • Distinguished Investigator, Academy of Radiology

Videos & Media

Vascular Biology Program

Labeling and Tracking Stem Cells Used for Therapy

Dr. Jeff Bulte discusses his work engineering stem cells for use in non-invasive treatment of degenerative diseases.

MRI Reporter Gene

Tracking Transplanted Stem Cells, Part I

Jeff Bulte discusses the newest ways to track transplanted stem cells in the body.

Tracking Transplanted Stem Cells, Part II

Jeff Bulte discusses the latest techniques for tracking stem cells transplanted into the body.

Magnetizing Cells for Tracking - Science: Out of the Box

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Giving Transplanted Cells A Nanotech Checkup

New Technique to "See" and Protect Transplants Successful in Diabetic Animal Model

New Technique Developed for Tracking Cells in the Body

Tracking the Elusive Stem Cell

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