Lei Zhang
Associate Professor
Research Area: Medical Imaging
Office: Room 416, BME Building
Brief CV
Research Interests
Services to External Academic Communities
Lab Introduction

Brief CV:

Dr. Jeff L. Zhang is a tenured Associate Professor at School of Biomedical Engineering, Director of Vascular and Physiologic Imaging Research (VPIR) Lab, and Director of Magnetic Resonance Imaging facility. Dr. Zhang graduated from Nanyang Technological University with PhD degree in 2007, held positions of tenure-track assistant professor (2011-2018) and tenured Associate Professor (2018-2019) at University of Utah. In 2019-2020, Dr. Zhang was Harvard faculty member and Director of VPIR lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

As an expert in functional MRI, Dr. Zhang has published over 100 journal papers and conference abstracts, and as the sole PI, was awarded with RSNA research scholar grant (2013), NKF young investigator award (2014), and two NIH R01 grants (about $4.5M, from NHLBI and NIDDK respectively).

Research Interests:

  • Assessment of renal function with functional MRI techniques, for patients with chronic kidney diseases, kidney transplants, and diabetic nephropathy

  • The role of tissue fibrosis and hypoxia in progressive impairment of renal function

  • Quantitative measurement of muscle hyperemia stimulated by exercise, and its value in guiding exercise therapy of peripheral artery disease

  • Quantitative analysis of dynamic contrast enhancement MRI and PET data

  • Quantitative analysis of BOLD data, and its clinical application in kidney and muscle-related diseases


Medical Image Processing and Analysis

Services to External Academic Communities:

Reviewer for journals:

Radiology (Reviewer with distinction 2011)

Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Reviewer with Distinction 2015, 2016)

Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (Reviewer with distinction 2012)

Investigative Radiology

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance in Biomedicine

Kidney International

Medical Physics

Physics in Medicine and Biology


Member for associations or committees:

International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM)

Radiologic Society of North America (RSNA)

Committee of scientific review for RSNA


As an expert on renal imaging, published multiple important original research articles and reviews (see the representative ones below)

  • Zhang JL (2017). Functional MRI of the kidneys-with and without Gd-based contrast. Advances in Chronic Kidney Diseases, 24 (3), 162–168.

  • Zhang JL, Morrell G, Rusinek H, Sigmund EE, Chandarana H, Lerman LO, Prasad PV, Niles D, Artz N, Fain S, Vivier PH, Cheung AK, Lee VS (2014). New magnetic resonance imaging methods in nephrology. Kidney International, 85 (4), 768-78.

  • Zhang JL, Lee VS (2020). Renal perfusion imaging by MRI. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 52 (2), 369-379.

Used clinical MRI technique to precisely capture calf-muscle hyperemia stimulated by exercise, providing a powerful tool for assessing muscle physiology (see the representative articles below)

  • Zhang JL, Layec G, Conlin CC, Hanrahan C, Mueller M, Lee VS (2019). Quantitative mapping of calf muscle hyperemia with magnetic resonance imaging. American Journal of Physiology–Heart and Circulation. 316 (1): H201-H211.

  • Conlin CC, Layec G, Hanrahan C, Hu N, Mueller M, Lee VS, Zhang JL (2019). Exercise-stimulated arterial transit time in calf muscles measured by dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging. Physiology Report e13978.


Pubmed link for Jeff L. Zhang’s publicationshttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=%22Jeff+L+Zhang%22&sort=pubdate

Lab Introduction:

As the world’s top team in renal imaging, VPIR lab has been devoted to assessing renal function with MRI techniques, quantifying renal tissue fibrosis and hypoxia and exploring their role in renal function impairment, and pushing non-invasive MRI methods to clinical adoption for managing renal diseases.

The VPIR lab also initiated the research on assessing muscle function with medical imaging, and as one of the earliest teams, proposed and validated an innovative imaging method for quantifying exercise-stimulated muscle hyperemia. The tool will provide as a comprehensive and precise tool for guiding exercise therapy of patients with peripheral artery diseases.