We at the Sherry Lab are investigating the chemistry of a new class of lanthanide complexes that act as paramagnetic chemical exchange saturation transfer (paraCEST) agents for MRI. Our primary interest is to develop agents that report specific tissue biological information such as pH, tissue oxygen levels, redox chemistry, enzyme activity, or metabolite concentrations. Projects vary widely from purely synthetic projects to high resolution NMR studies (hyperfine shifts, multi-dimensional NMR), thermodynamic and kinetic characterization of complexes, and imaging applications. Some recent publications on this topic.
Imaging projects (new agents and animal MRI)
We are interested in applying novel imaging tools to probe metabolism in living organisms. Examples of current projects include paraCEST agents for imaging tissue pH, gadolinium-responsive MRI agents for detecting Zn2+ secretion from the pancreas and prostate in vivo, and imaging D- versus L-lactate production in tumors. Some recent publications on this topic.
Hyperpolarized 13C and metabolic imaging
New probes are being developed for imaging real-time metabolic processes in vivo using dynamic nuclear polarization techniques to place 13C probes into a hyperpolarized spin state. This increases the NMR sensitivity of the 13C nucleus over 10,000-fold so enzyme-catalyzed steps can be imaged in tissues in real-time in vivo. Some recent publications on this topic.
MRS/MRI metabolism in humans at 7T
Phosphorus-31 NMR spectroscopy in the human brain and skeletal muscle using a wide-bore 7T MRI scanner at the Advanced Imaging Research Center on the campus of UT Southwestern Medical Center allows investigations of energy metabolism and redox measurements in volunteers and patients. Some recent publications on this topic.