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Kristen L. Zakian, PhD

Kristen L. Zakian, PhD

I am an associate attending physicist in the Imaging and Spectroscopic Physics Service.

Throughout my career, I have applied my biomedical engineering background to using and improving magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) techniques in cancer diagnosis. In particular, I am interested in evaluating the prognostic value—and potential impact on patient care—of tumor metabolic markers measured by MRS. I have performed both phosphorus and proton spectroscopic imaging studies in animal and human cancers to investigate this question.

I have been the principle or co-investigator on human MRS studies of sarcoma, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and lymphoma. Our research on prostate cancer and bone sarcomas showed an association between metabolic information and long-term treatment outcomes. Additional research conducted as part of a multi-institutional consortium demonstrated that MRS of metabolism in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma was related to treatment response.

I am currently conducting preclinical MRI/MRS studies of tumors that have a particular metabolic mutation. I am also evaluating applications of MRI/MRS to radiation therapy treatment planning and assessing treatment response.