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Rohan Dharmakumar, PhD

Assistant Professor of Radiology

Dept of Radiology, Feinberg School of Medicine
737 N Michigan Ave; Suite 1616
Chicago, IL 60611 USA
Phone: (312) 926-5300
Fax: (312) 926-5991
e-Mail: rohandkumar@northwestern.edu


  • B.Sc., 1996, Theoretical Physics & Physiology, University of Toronto
  • M.Sc., 1997, Mathematics, University of Toronto
  • Ph.D., 2004, Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto
  • Postdoctoral Training, 2006, Northwestern University

Academic affiliations

Assistant Professor of Radiology, NWU Feinberg School of Medicine

Research focus

Application of MRI methods to cardiovascular medicine

Research Summary:

Efforts include

  • Basic biophysical mechanisms contributing to oxygen-sensitive contrast in MRI;
  • Fast imaging methods to detect and stage coronary artery disease;
  • Development of MR-based methods to understand and evaluate the mechanisms governing ischemic heart failure;
  • Utilization of interventional MRI methods for delivering therapeutic substrates (stem cells, growth factors, etc.) following myocardial infarctions; and
  • Development of MR molecular imaging methods in the assessment of cardiovascular disease.

Contributions to date have included: oxygen-sensitive approaches for evaluating coronary artery disease, development of off-resonance imaging methods for interventional and cellular MRI, development of methods for assessing acute myocardial infarctions, and development methods to assess intravascular blood pressure using microbubbles.

Current Support

National Institutes of Health – Heat, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01 Role: PI) SSFP MRI for Detecting Functionally Important Coronary Artery Stenosis at Rest.

American Heart Association (SDG Role: PI) Detecting Regional Myocardial Oxygen Deficits with Cine Blood-Oxygen-Level Dependent SSFP Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Core Investigators

Andrew Larson, PhD Assistant Professor (NWU Radiology)
Daniel Lee, MD Assistant Professor (NWU Cardiology)
Debiao Li, PhD Professor (NWU Radiology)
Sotirios Tsaftaris, PhD Research Assistant Professor (NWU EECS)

Xiangzhi Zhou, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow (NWU Radiology)
Veronica Rundell, PhD Research Associate (NWU Radiology)
Richard Tang, MD Veterinary Technician (NWU Radiology)
Rachel Klein, BS Veterinary Technician (NWU Radiology)

Basic Science Collaborators

Jordin Green, PhD (Siemens Healthcare)
Renate Jerecic, PhD (Siemens Healthcare)
Aggelos Katsaggelos (NWU EECS)
Ioannis Koktzoglou, PhD (ENH Radiology)
Zeng-Rong Lu, PhD (Univ of Utah)
Saurabh Shah, PhD (Siemens Healthcare)
Sven Zuehlsdorff, PhD (Siemens Healthcare)
Graham Wright (Univ of Toronto)
Zhuoli Zhang, MD/PhD (VirtualScopics Inc)

Clinical Collaborators

Nirat Beohar, MD (NWU Cardiology)
Matthias Friedrich, MD (U of Calgary)
Andreas Kumar, MD (U of Calgary)
Douglas Losordo, MD (NWU Cardiology)

Select Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. Dharmakumar R, Plewes DB, and Wright GA. On the Parameters Affecting the Sensitivity of MR Measures of Pressure with Microbubbles. Magn Reson Med 2002: 47:264-273.
  2. Dharmakumar R, Hong J, Brittain J, Plewes DB, Wright GA. Oxygen-Sensitive Contrast in Blood for Steady-State Free Precession Imaging. Magn Reson Med 2005: 53: 574-583.
  3. Dharmakumar R, Mangalathu Arumana J, Larson AC, Chung Y, Wright GA, Li D. Cardiac Phase-Resolved Blood Oxygen-Sensitive Steady-State Free Precession MRI for Evaluating the Functional Significance of Coronary Artery Stenosis. Investigative Radiology 2007: 42(3): 180-188.
  4. Dharmakumar R, Koktzoglou I, Li D. Generating Positive Contrast from Off-Resonant Spins with Steady-State Free Precession Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Theory and Proof-of Principle Experiments. Physics in Med Biol 2006: 51: 4201-4215.
  5. Dharmakumar R, Koktzoglou I, Tang R, Harris KR, Beohar N, Li D. Off-Resonance Positive Contrast Imaging of Passive Endomyocardial Catheter in Swine. Phys. Med. Biol. 53 (2008) N249-N257.

Recent Conference Proceedings & Abstracts (2008)

  1. Dharmakumar R, Beohar N, Arumana JM, Greene R, Li D. Detecting Reperfused Acute Myocardial Infarcts with Cardiac Phase-Resolved Balanced SSFP Imaging. SCMR 2008; JCMR 10(1).
  2. Dharmakumar R, Green J, Flewitt J, Voehringer M, Filipchuk NG, Li D, Friedrich MG. Blood Oxygen-Sensitive SSFP Imaging for Probing the Myocardial Perfusion Reserves of Patients with Coronary Artery Disease: A Feasibility Study. SCMR 2008; JCMR 10(1).
  3. Koktzoglou I, Tsaftaris SA, Li D, Katsaggelos AK, Dharmakumar R. Automated Tracking of a Passive Intramyocardial Needle with Off-Resonance MRI: A Feasibility Study. SCMR 2008. JCMR 10(1).
  4. Dharmakumar R, Green J, Flewitt J, Voehringer M, Filipchuk NG, Li D, Friedrich MG. Balanced SSFP Myocardial BOLD Imaging: An Initial Evaluation in Patients with Known Coronary Artery Disease. ISMRM 2008. ISMRM Conference Proceedings. P.48
  5. Dharmakumar R, Beohar N, Arumana JM, Zhang Z, Li D. Cardiac Phase-Resolved Acute Myocardial Infarct Imaging in Swine. ISMRM 2008. ISMRM Conference Proceedings. P.2952
  6. Kumar A, Dharmakumar R, Green JD, Flewitt J, Friedrich MG. T2-component of Conventional Cine SSFP Sequences is sufficient to detect Myocardial Edema in Patients with acute reperfused Myocardial Infarction. ISMRM. 2008 ISMRM Conference Proceedings. P.2956
  7. Mascheri N, Zhang Z, Paunesku T, Woloschak G, Dharmakumar R, Li D. Application of Positive Contrast SSFP Imaging to USPIO-labeled Macrophage Cells: Theory and In Vitro Experiment. ISMRM 2008. ISMRM Conference Proceedings. P.1205
  8. Tsaftaris SA, Andermatt V, Schlegel A, Katsaggelos A, Li D, Dharmakumar R. A Dynamic Programming Solution to Tracking and Elastically Matching Left Ventricular Walls in Cardiac Cine MRI. IEEE International Conference on Image Processing 2008.