Ellen Ackerstaff, PhD

Pictured: Ellen Ackerstaff, PhD

I am an assistant attending physicist in the Imaging and Spectroscopic Physics Service of the Department of Medical Physics.

I am working with my colleagues at Memorial Sloan Kettering to develop magnetic resonance techniques that provide novel data and identify clinically relevant biomarkers with the potential to improve patient care.

I studied physics in Germany, with an emphasis on biophysics and medical physics. My graduate research focused on the design and development of detector systems for matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Starting with my doctoral research, I acquired extensive knowledge of in vitro and in vivo multi-nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS).

In my current research, I am investigating the effects of the tumor microenvironment — characterized by hypoxia (oxygen deprivation), acidic pH, and nutrient deprivation — on breast and prostate tumor metabolism and blood vessel development during tumor progression and treatment. My research employs multi-nuclear MRI/MRS, PET, and optical imaging as well as other techniques to study tumor cells.