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The Division of Cancer Imaging Research

The Division of Cancer Imaging Research promotes preclinical and clinical multi-modal imaging applications to understand and effectively treat cancer. The team’s work is dedicated to the applications of molecular imaging to understand and target cancer and the tumor environment.


About Us

  • The division operates the MRB Molecular Imaging Service Center, supporting molecular imaging research across the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution. A simultaneous PET-MR research scanner was installed in March 2019 to expand molecular imaging research capabilities at Johns Hopkins.

    The division will also operate a newly created mass spectrometry imaging service center from 2019.

  • The division housed the NIH funded P50 JHU In-vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center (ICMIC) Program from 2002 to 2017.

  • Clinical applications include the development of novel imaging-based biomarkers to detect and stage cancer and monitor response totreatment. A major focus of the division is in nanotechnology to develop nanoparticles as theranostic tools. Nanoparticles have been developed to deliver siRNA, cDNA and a prodrug enzyme to tumors under image-guidance. Click-chemistry based nanoparticles are being designed for tumor-specific treatment.

    More recently, biomimetic nanoparticles that are coated in cancer cell membranes are being developed as decoys to disrupt stromal cell-cancer cell interactions, and to induce an immune response. Antibody-based phototherapy approaches are also being developed to specifically target cancer cells and stromal cells.

  • The Division of Cancer Imaging Research offers one- to three-year pre-doctoral or postdoctoral fellowship training in a range of disciplines, such as molecular biology, probe chemistry, computational analysis and multimodality imaging, all of which are required in the molecular and functional imaging efforts of faculty members.

    For more information, contact Laura Neuberger at [email protected] or 410-502-0174.

 Our Team

cancer imaging team group shot


Zaver M. Bhujwalla, Ph.D.
Director and Professor

Dmitri Artemov, Ph.D.

Elena Artemova, Ph.D.
Budget Analyst

James Barnett
Ph.D. Student

Akanksha Bhargava, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Zhihang Chen, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Gary Cromwell
Laboratory Coordinator

Kristine Glunde, Ph.D.

Sudath Hapuarachchige, Ph.D., M.S.
Assistant Professor

Mickell Holt
Sr. Administrative Coordinator

Jiefu Jin, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Yoshi Kato, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor

Puneet Khandelwal, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Balaji Krishnamachary, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Yelena Mironchik
Research Specialist

Noriko Mori, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Laura Neuberger
Administrative Manager

Arvind P. Pathak, Ph.D.

Marie-France Penet, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Venu Raman, Ph.D.

Janaka Senrathna, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Shanshan Tan, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Caitlin Tressler, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Farhad Vesuna, Ph.D.

Paul T. Winnard, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Xiaogu Yang, Ph.D.
Research Technologist


Our Research

Division faculty pursue a broad spectrum of multimodality molecular and functional imaging research that spans basic research to preclinical and clinical applications. Cancers investigated include breast, prostate, pancreatic, brain and ovarian cancer. Research focus areas include understanding and targeting the tumor microenvironment and cancer induced cachexia and developing theranostic imaging for precision medicine. Novel targets and pathways such as DDX3, COX-2, enzymes in choline metabolism, and hypoxia targeting are being investigated with molecular and functional imaging to understand cancer and develop effective image-guided treatments. Novel advances are being made in mass spectrometry imaging, as well as microscopic imaging of tumor vasculature.

  • Dmitri Artemov Lab

    The Artemov lab is within the Division of Cancer Imaging Research in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. The lab focuses on 1) Use of advanced dynamic contrast enhanced-MRI and activated dual-contrast MRI to perform image-guided combination therapy of triple negative breast cancer and to assess therapeutic response. 2) Development of noninvasive MR markers of cell viability based on a dual-contrast technique that enables simultaneous tracking and monitoring of viability of transplanted stems cells in vivo. 3) Development of Tc-99m and Ga-68 angiogenic SPECT/PET tracers to image expression of VEGF receptors that are involved in tumor angiogenesis and can be important therapeutic targets. 4) Development of the concept of “click therapy” that combines advantages of multi-component targeting, bio-orthogonal conjugation and image guidance and preclinical validation in breast and prostate cancer models.

    Research Areas: VEGF receptors image expression, SPECT/PET tracers, tracking stem cells in vivo, triple-negative breast cancer, image-guided combination therapy, MRI, noninvasive MR markers, cancer imaging

  • Kristine Glunde Lab

    The Glunde lab is within the Division of Cancer Imaging Research in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. The lab is developing mass spectrometry imaging as part of multimodal molecular imaging workflows to image and elucidate hypoxia-driven signaling pathways in breast cancer. They are working to further unravel the molecular basis of the aberrant choline phospholipid metabolism in cancer. The Glunde lab is developing novel optical imaging agents for multi-scale molecular imaging of lysosomes in breast tumors and discovering structural changes in Collagen I matrices and their role in breast cancer and metastasis.

    Research Areas: breast cancer, mass spectrometry, imaging, cancer, metastasis, metabolism, optical imaging

  • Marie-France Penet Lab

    The Penet lab is within the Division of Cancer Imaging Research in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. The lab research focuses on using multimodal imaging techniques to better understand the microenvironment and improve cancer early detection, especially in ovarian cancer. By combining MRI, MRS and optical imaging, we are studying the tumor microenvironment to understand the role of hypoxia, tumor vascularization, macromolecular transport and tumor metabolism in tumor progression, metastasis and ascites formation in orthotopic models of cancer. We also are studying the role of tumor-associated macrophages in tumor progression.

    Research Areas: tumor vascularization, prostate cancer, tumor metabolism, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, macromolecular transport, optical imaging, pancreatic cancer, MRI, tumor-associated macrophages, hypoxia, ovarian cancer, cancer-induced cachexia, cancer imaging

  • Michael A. Jacobs Lab

    The Jacobs lab is within the Division of Cancer Imaging Research in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. The lab translates radiological imaging (MRI/PET/CT) from research to the clinical setting. The Jacobs lab is establishing the use of multi-parametric/multinuclear/modality imaging to monitor treatment response in different cancers and co-developed a new metric for DWI/ADC mapping to discern treatment response. They are developing and implementing a new method for diagnosis of cancer using machine and deep learning to measure different types of lesions. The Jacobs lab is also developing novel segmentation of radiological images using non-linear dimensionality reduction. In addition, we are investigating methods to integrate Radiomics and Informatics and prognostic markers for disease. Other research areas include diagnostic medical physics and novel computer science applications. The medical physics research includes MRI quality assessments, X-ray, fluoroscopy, ultr...asound and applications to therapeutic medical physics. We are developing a residency using the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Program in Diagnostic Medical Physics. view more

    Research Areas: treatment response, PET/CT, prostate, cancer, metastasis, pancreatic disease, liver diseases, cancer imaging

  • The Pathak Lab

    The Pathak lab is within the Division of Cancer Imaging Research in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. We develop novel imaging methods, computational models and visualization tools to ‘make visible’ critical aspects of cancer, stroke and neurobiology. Our research broadly encompasses the following areas: Functional and Molecular Imaging; Clinical Biomarker Development; Image-based Systems Biology and Visualization and Computational Tools. We are dedicated to mentoring the next generation of imagers, biomedical engineers and visualizers. Additional information can be found at or by emailing Dr. Pathak.

    Research Areas: microscopy, vasculature, tumors, systems biology, functional magnetic resonance imaging, 3D imaging, biomarkers, optical imaging, angiogenesis, cancer imaging

  • Venu Raman Research Lab

    The Raman laboratory is within the Division of Cancer Imaging Research in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. The focus of the laboratory is bench-to-bed side cancer research. We integrate molecular and cellular biology, developmental biology, cancer biology, molecular imaging techniques to study cancer formation and progression. Many of the projects in the lab investigate dysregulated genes in cancer and the translatability of this information to a clinical setting. One such project is to functionally decipher the role of a RNA helicase gene, DDX3, in the biogenesis of multiple cancer types such as breast, lung, brain, sarcoma, colorectal and prostate. Additionally, using a rational drug design approach, a small molecule inhibitor of DDX3 (RK-33) was synthesized and its potential for clinical translation is being investigated.

    Research Areas: breast cancer, cancer, in vitro findings, molecule inhibitors

    Principal Investigator

    Venu Raman, Ph.D.


    Radiology and Radiological Science

  • Zaver M. Bhujwalla Lab – Cancer Imaging Research

    Dr. Bhujwalla’s lab promotes preclinical and clinical multimodal imaging applications to understand and effectively treat cancer. The lab’s work is dedicated to the applications of molecular imaging to understand cancer and the tumor environment. Significant research contributions include 1) developing ‘theranostic agents’ for image-guided targeting of cancer, including effective delivery of siRNA in combination with a prodrug enzyme 2) understanding the role of inflammation and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in cancer using molecular and functional imaging 3) developing noninvasive imaging techniques to detect COX-2 expressing in tumors 4) understanding the role of hypoxia and choline pathways to reduce the stem-like breast cancer cell burden in tumors 5) using molecular and functional imaging to understand the role of the tumor microenvironment including the extracellular matrix, hypoxia, vascularization, and choline phospholipid metabolism in prostate and breast cancer invasion and metast...asis, with the ultimate goal of preventing cancer metastasis and 6) molecular and functional imaging characterization of cancer-induced cachexia to understand the cachexia-cascade and identify novel targets in the treatment of this condition. view more

    Research Areas: molecular and functional imaging, preventing cancer metastasis, metastasis, image-guided targeting of cancer, cancer-induced cachexia, cancer imaging



Contact Information

Zaver M. Bhujwalla, Ph.D.
Director of the Division of Cancer Imaging Research
Director of Johns Hopkins University's In-vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center Program
Professor of Radiology and Oncology
Phone: 410-955-9698

Laura Neuberger
Administrative Manager
Phone: 410-502-0174

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Russell H. Morgan Dept. of Radiology and Radiological Science

Division of Cancer Imaging Research
720 Rutland Avenue
208 Traylor Building
Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
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