Keith R. Thulborn, MD, PhD

Professor of Radiology, Pysiology, and Biosphysics
Work Phone: (312) 355-3755 Work Fax: (312) 355-3085
Photo of Keith R. Thulborn MD, PhD

Biographical Info


  • M.D. Medicine. Washington University, St. Louis. 1984
  • Ph.D. Biochemistry.  University of Melbourne,  Austrailia. 1980
  • B.S. Chemistry and Biochemistry.  University of Melbourne,  Austrailia. 1976

Research Focus

My research entails the development of magnetic resonance imaging technology for functional, physiological and metabolic investigations of the normal human brain and in the setting of pathology. Clinical applications include investigations of cognitive function at the acute, subacute and rehabilitation stages of stroke, dementia as related to Alzheimer’s disease and presurgical planning for arteriovenous malformations and brain tumors. Research applications are geared towards producing a biochemical model of brain function.

Recent clinical progress includes mapping of brain function in the setting of stroke recovery with BOLD contrast fMRI, clinical development of a rapid acute stroke protocol that includes application of sodium imaging to map tissue viability in the setting of acute stroke for planning strokectomy and serial imaging of large arteriovenous malformations during staged embolization intervention.

Technological progress towards higher spatial and temporal resolution for metabolic imaging is being made through the development of the highest field human MR scanner at 9.4 Tesla. This scanner is to be housed in a new building contiguous with the existing 3.0 Tesla research scanner and the two1.5 Tesla clinical scanners. This project represents a considerable institutional commitment to MR technology in a uniquely integrated research and clinical environment. Technology transfer is facilitated through proximity of interdisciplinary teams of investigators from clinical, basic science, and engineering departments, with out-reach through high-performance computer links to investigators on the Urbana/Champaign campus.

Selected Publications

  • Nemani A, Atkinson IC, Thulborn KR. Investigating the Consistency of Brain Activation Using Individual Trial Analysis of High Resolution fMRI in the Human Primary Visual Cortex. NeuroImage. 2009; 42:1417-1424, 2009. [PDF]
  • Atkinson IC, Lu A, and Thulborn KR. Characterization and Correction of System Delays and Eddy Currents for MR Imaging with Ultra-Short Echo-Time and Time Varying Gradients. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2009; 62:532-537. [PDF]
  • Atkinson IC, Kamalabadi F, Jones DL, and Thulborn KR. Blind Estimation for Localized Low Contrast-to-Noise Ratio BOLD Signals. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing. 2008; 2:879-890. [PDF]
  • Atkinson IC, Renteria L, Burd H,  Pliskin NH, and Thulborn KR. Safety of Human MRI at Static Fields Above the FDA 8T Guideline: Sodium Imaging at 9.4T Does Not Affect Vital Signs or Cognitive Ability.  Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 2007; 26:1222-1227. [PDF]
Categories: Center for Magnetic Resonance Research