Peter C.M.
van Zijl

Peter C.M. van Zijl
Director, F.M. Kirby Research Center
Phone: 443-923-9500
Kennedy Krieger Institute

707 N. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States

Research Departments


Dr. Peter C.M. van Zijl is a research scientist at Kennedy Krieger Institute, as well as the founding director of the F.M. Kirby Research Center for Functional Brain Imaging. He is also a professor of radiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


Dr. van Zijl graduated cum laude with a master's degree in inorganic chemistry and continued to obtain a doctoral degree in mathematics and physics. His thesis focused on the description of molecular alignment in magnetic fields and the changes in the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra related to this. After completing fellowships in nuclear magnetic resonance (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh) and MRI (National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute), he became a research assistant professor at Georgetown University in 1990.

In 1992, he was invited to join the Department of Radiology at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, where he was promoted to associate professor (1992) and professor (1997). In 1999, he became the founding director of the F.M. Kirby Research Center for Functional Brain Imaging at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. This center has since been awarded status as a National Center for Biomedical Technology Research funded by the National Center for Research Resources. Dr. van Zijl is a fellow of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and has received the society's gold medal award for scientific achievement.

He also served on the executive committee of the Experimental NMR conference. He resides on the editorial boards of the journals: NMR in Biomedicine, Journal of Magnetic Resonance, Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, and the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. He is an ad hoc member of several NIH review panels for several institutes.


Dr. van Zijl’s present research focuses on developing new methodologies for using MRI and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) to study brain function and physiology. In addition, he is working on understanding the basic mechanisms of the MRI signal changes measured during functional MRI (fMRI) tests of the brain. Other interests are in mapping the wiring of the brain (axonal connections between the brains functional regions) and the design of new technologies for MRI to follow where cells are migrating, and when genes are expressed. A more recent interest is the development of bioorganic, biodegradable MRI contrast agents. The ultimate goal is to transform these technologies into fast methods that are compatible with the time available for multi-modal clinical diagnosis using MRI. He is especially dedicated to providing a comfortable scanning environment for children, where they can enjoy the experience in the MRI scanner. Dr. van Zijl's research is funded by several grants from the National Center for Research Resources and the National Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering.

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Research Publications

Xu J, Chan KW, Xu X, Yadav N, Liu Gvan Zijl PC (2017). On-resonance variable delay multipulse scheme for imaging of fast-exchanging protons and semisolid macromolecules. Magn Reson Med. 77(2), 730-739.

Liu G, Ray Banerjee S, Yang X, Yadav N, Lisok A, Jablonska A, Xu J, Li Y, Pomper MG, van Zijl P (2017). A dextran-based probe for the targeted magnetic resonance imaging of tumours expressing prostate-specific membrane antigen. Nat Biomed Eng. 1, 977-982. 

Zeng H, Xu J, Yadav NNMcMahon MT, Harden B, Frueh D, van Zijl PC (2016). (15)N Heteronuclear Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer MRI. J Am Chem Soc. 138(35), 11136-9. 

Ma B, Blakeley JO, Hong X, Zhang H, Jiang S, Blair L, Zhang Y, Heo HY, Zhang M, van Zijl PC, Zhou J (2016). Applying amide proton transfer-weighted MRI to distinguish pseudoprogression from true progression in malignant gliomas. J Magn Reson Imaging. 44(2), 456-62. 

Li W, Liu P, Lu H, Strouse JJ, van Zijl PC, Qin Q (2016). Fast measurement of blood T<sub>1</sub> in the human carotid artery at 3T: Accuracy, precision, and reproducibility. Magn Reson Med. , . 

Heo HY, Jones CK, Hua J, Yadav N, Agarwal S, Zhou J, van Zijl PC, Pillai JJ (2016). Whole-brain amide proton transfer (APT) and nuclear overhauser enhancement (NOE) imaging in glioma patients using low-power steady-state pulsed chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) imaging at 7T. J Magn Reson Imaging. 44(1), 41-50. 

Li X, Allen RP, Earley CJ, Liu H, Cruz TE, Edden RA, Barker PBvan Zijl PC (2016). Brain iron deficiency in idiopathic restless legs syndrome measured by quantitative magnetic susceptibility at 7 tesla. Sleep Med. 22, 75-82. 

Walhovd KB, Fjell AM, Brown TT, Kuperman JM, Chung Y, Hagler DJ Jr, Roddey JC, Erhart M, McCabe C, Akshoomoff N, Amaral DG, Bloss CS, Libiger O, Schork NJ, Darst BF, Casey BJ, Chang L, Ernst TM, Frazier J, Gruen JR, Kaufmann WE, Murray SS, van Zijl P, Mostofsky S, Dale AM, Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition, and Genetics Study (2012). Long-term influence of normal variation in neonatal characteristics on human brain development. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 109(49), 20089-94. 

Fjell AM, Walhovd KB, Brown TT, Kuperman JM, Chung Y, Hagler DJ Jr, Venkatraman V, Roddey JC, Erhart M, McCabe C, Akshoomoff N, Amaral DG, Bloss CS, Libiger O, Darst BF, Schork NJ, Casey BJ, Chang L, Ernst TM, Gruen JR, Kaufmann WE, Kenet T, Frazier J, Murray SS, Sowell ER, van Zijl P, Mostofsky S, Jernigan TL, Dale AM, Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition, and Genetics Study (2012). Multimodal imaging of the self-regulating developing brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 109(48), 19620-5.

Bakken TE, Roddey JC, Djurovic S, Akshoomoff N, Amaral DG, Bloss CS, Casey BJ, Chang L, Ernst TM, Gruen JR, Jernigan TL, Kaufmann WE, Kenet T, Kennedy DN, Kuperman JM, Murray SS, Sowell ER, Rimol LM, Mattingsdal M, Melle I, Agartz I, Andreassen OA, Schork NJ, Dale AM, Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition, and Genetics Study, Weiner M, Aisen P, Petersen R, Jack CR Jr, Jagust W, Trojanowki JQ, Toga AW, Beckett L, Green RC, Saykin AJ, Morris J, Liu E, Montine T, Gamst A, Thomas RG, Donohue M, Walter S, Gessert D, Sather T, Harvey D, Kornak J, Dale A, Bernstein M, Felmlee J, Fox N, Thompson P, Schuff N, Alexander G, DeCarli C, Bandy D, Koeppe RA, Foster N, Reiman EM, Chen K, Mathis C, Cairns NJ, Taylor-Reinwald L, Trojanowki JQ, Shaw L, Lee VM, Korecka M, Crawford K, Neu S, Foroud TM, Potkin S, Shen L, Kachaturian Z, Frank R, Snyder PJ, Molchan S, Kaye J, Quinn J, Lind B, Dolen S, Schneider LS, Pawluczyk S, Spann BM, Brewer J, Vanderswag H, Heidebrink JL, Lord JL, Johnson K, Doody RS, Villanueva-Meyer J, Chowdhury M, Stern Y, Honig LS, Bell KL, Morris JC, Ances B, Carroll M, Leon S, Mintun MA, Schneider S, Marson D, Griffith R, Clark D, Grossman H, Mitsis E, Romirowsky A, deToledo-Morrell L, Shah RC, Duara R, Varon D, Roberts P, Albert M, Onyike C, Kielb S, Rusinek H, de Leon MJ, Glodzik L, De Santi S, Doraiswamy PM, Petrella JR, Coleman RE, Arnold SE, Karlawish JH, Wolk D, Smith CD, Jicha G, Hardy P, Lopez OL, Oakley M, Simpson DM, Porsteinsson AP, Goldstein BS, Martin K, Makino KM, Ismail MS, Brand C, Mulnard RA, Thai G, Mc-Adams-Ortiz C, Womack K, Mathews D, Quiceno M, Diaz-Arrastia R, King R, Weiner M, Martin-Cook K, DeVous M, Levey AI, Lah JJ, Cellar JS, Burns JM, Anderson HS, Swerdlow RH, Apostolova L, Lu PH, Bartzokis G, Silverman DH, Graff-Radford NR, Parfitt F, Johnson H, Farlow MR, Hake AM, Matthews BR, Herring S, van Dyck CH, Carson RE, MacAvoy MG, Chertkow H, Bergman H, Hosein C, Black S, Stefanovic B, Caldwell C, Ging-Yuek, Hsiung R, Feldman H, Mudge B, Assaly M, Kertesz A, Rogers J, Trost D, Bernick C, Munic D, Kerwin D, Mesulam MM, Lipowski K, Wu CK, Johnson N, Sadowsky C, Martinez W, Villena T, Turner RS, Johnson K, Reynolds B, Sperling RA, Johnson KA, Marshall G, Frey M, Yesavage J, Taylor JL, Lane B, Rosen A, Tinklenberg J, Sabbagh M, Belden C, Jacobson S, Kowall N, Killiany R, Budson AE, Norbash A, Johnson PL, Obisesan TO, Wolday S, Bwayo SK, Lerner A, Hudson L, Ogrocki P, Fletcher E, Carmichael O, Olichney J, Kittur S, Borrie M, Lee TY, Bartha R, Johnson S, Asthana S, Carlsson CM, Potkin SG, Preda A, Nguyen D, Tariot P, Fleisher A, Reeder S, Bates V, Capote H, Rainka M, Scharre DW, Kataki M, Zimmerman EA, Celmins D, Brown AD, Pearlson GD, Blank K, Anderson K, Santulli RB, Schwartz ES, Sink KM, Williamson JD, Garg P, Watkins F, Ott BR, Querfurth H, Tremont G, Salloway S, Malloy P, Correia S, Rosen HJ, Miller BL, Mintzer J, Longmire CF, Spicer K, Finger E, Rachinsky I, Drost D, Jernigan T, McCabe C, Grant E, Ernst T, Kuperman J, Chung Y, Murray S, Bloss C, Darst B, Pritchett L, Saito A, Amaral D, DiNino M, Eyngorina B, Sowell E, Houston S, Soderberg L, Kaufmann W, van Zijl P, Rizzo-Busack H, Javid M, Mehta N, Ruberry E, Powers A, Rosen B, Gebhard N, Manigan H, Frazier J, Kennedy D, Yakutis L, Hill M, Gruen J, Bosson-Heenan J, Carlson H(2012). Association of common genetic variants in GPCPD1 with scaling of visual cortical surface area in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 109(10), 3985-90. 

Lu H, Xu F, Grgac K, Liu P, Qin Q, van Zijl P (2012). Calibration and validation of TRUST MRI for the estimation of cerebral blood oxygenation. Magn Reson Med. 67(1), 42-9. 

Lauzon CB, van Zijl P, Stivers JT (2011). Using the water signal to detect invisible exchanging protons in the catalytic triad of a serine protease. J Biomol NMR. 50(4), 299-314. 

Reading SA, Oishi K, Redgrave GW, McEntee J, Shanahan M, Yoritomo N, Younes L, Mori S, Miller MI, van Zijl P, Margolis RL, Ross CA (2011). Diffuse abnormality of low to moderately organized white matter in schizophrenia. Brain Connect. 1(6), 511-9.

Hua K, Oishi K, Zhang J, Wakana S, Yoshioka T, Zhang W, Akhter KD, Li X, Huang H, Jiang H, van Zijl P, Mori S (2009). Mapping of functional areas in the human cortex based on connectivity through association fibers. Cereb Cortex. 19(8), 1889-95.

Zhang W, Li X, Zhang J, Luft A, Hanley DF, van Zijl P, Miller MI, Younes L, Mori S (2009). Landmark-referenced voxel-based analysis of diffusion tensor images of the brainstem white matter tracts: application in patients with middle cerebral artery stroke.Neuroimage. 44(3), 906-13.

Zhang W, Olivi A, Hertig SJ, van Zijl P, Mori S (2008). Automated fiber tracking of human brain white matter using diffusion tensor imaging. Neuroimage. 42(2), 771-7. 

Mori S, Oishi K, Jiang H, Jiang L, Li X, Akhter K, Hua K, Faria AV, Mahmood A, Woods R, Toga AW, Pike GB, Neto PR, Evans A, Zhang J, Huang H, Miller MI, van Zijl P, Mazziotta J (2008). Stereotaxic white matter atlas based on diffusion tensor imaging in an ICBM template.Neuroimage. 40(2), 570-82.

Wakana S, Caprihan A, Panzenboeck MM, Fallon JH, Perry M, Gollub RL, Hua K, Zhang J, Jiang H, Dubey P, Blitz A, van Zijl P, Mori S (2007). Reproducibility of quantitative tractography methods applied to cerebral white matter. Neuroimage. 36(3), 630-44. 

Zhang J, Richards LJ, Miller MI, Yarowsky P, van Zijl P, Mori S (2006). Characterization of mouse brain and its development using diffusion tensor imaging and computational techniques. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 1, 2252-5. 

Dubey P, Fatemi A, Huang H, Nagae-Poetscher L, Wakana S, Barker PB, van Zijl P, Moser HW, Mori S, Raymond GV (2005). Diffusion tensor-based imaging reveals occult abnormalities in adrenomyeloneuropathy. Ann Neurol. 58(5), 758-66. 

Reading SA, Yassa MA, Bakker A, Dziorny AC, Gourley LM, Yallapragada V, Rosenblatt A, Margolis RL, Aylward EH, Brandt J, Mori S, van Zijl P, Bassett SS, Ross CA (2005). Regional white matter change in pre-symptomatic Huntington's disease: a diffusion tensor imaging study. Psychiatry Res. 140(1), 55-62. 

Zhang J, Miller MI, Plachez C, Richards LJ, Yarowsky P, van Zijl P, Mori S (2005). Mapping postnatal mouse brain development with diffusion tensor microimaging. Neuroimage. 26(4), 1042-51. 

Wakana S, Nagae-Poetscher LM, Jiang H, van Zijl P, Golay X, Mori S (2005). Macroscopic orientation component analysis of brain white matter and thalamus based on diffusion tensor imaging. Magn Reson Med. 53(3), 649-57.

Zhang J, Chen YB, Hardwick JM, Miller MI, Plachez C, Richards LJ, Yarowsky P, van Zijl P, Mori S (2005). Magnetic resonance diffusion tensor microimaging reveals a role for Bcl-x in brain development and homeostasis. J Neurosci. 25(8), 1881-8.