Bruce R. Rosen, M.D., Ph.D.

Bruce R. Rosen, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Radiology, Department of Radiology,
Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Director, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
The development and utilization of physiological and functional NMR techniques. Our work is centered at the interface between technology development and biological/clinical applications. Current research in NMR technique development includes measurement of the physiological and metabolic changes associated with brain activation and cerebrovascular insult, including methods to quantify oxygen metabolism, hemodynamic variables of CBF and CBV, metrics of brain connectivity, and direct imaging of neuronal currents with MRI and MEG. I am also working to apply the principles of magnetic susceptibility spin physics to measure characteristic scale lengths in biological media, including microvascular and intracellular morphology, to compliment hemodynamic measurements. I am pursuing the application of high-speed imaging tools to magnetic resonance imaging with molecular specificity  (so-called "molecular imaging"), an offshoot of my longstanding interest in imaging proton metabolites via chemical shift imaging techniques. This involves the development of a new class of contrast agents with improved sensitivity, and specificity to molecular events such as mRNA expression.  In addition to technical developments, my research addresses how functional imaging tools can be applied to solve specific biological and clinical problems. Several specific areas of interest are currently under study. Quantitative MRI studies of hemodynamic and metabolic parameters during cerebral ischemia and reperfusion are now being used to test the relationship between these physiological parameters and cell death following stroke., and the use of functional imaging methods, along with complimentary optical and MEG technologies, is addressing issues of the recovery process following stroke. To study tumor angiogenesis, we are using measurements of microvascular morphology and physiology to understand the mechanisms and efficacy of anti-angiogenic therapeutics. Finally, I am using fMRI tools to evaluate the linkage between neuronal and physiological (metabolic and hemodynamic) events during periods of increased and decreased neuronal activity. These studies, which include the temporal sequence of changes in CBF, CBV, and CMRO2, should allow us to improve our ability to interpret fMRI signal changes, and develop new ways of probing brain function, including "event related" fMRI studies, and means to directly image neuronal currents using MRI.


Since 2000, I have led the activities of the Center for Functional Neuroimaging Technologies, a Regional Resource supported by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). The CFNT aims to develop innovative imaging technologies for acquisition and analysis of functional images within a highly integrated, multi-modality framework. The overarching goal of this multidisciplinary research program is to provide technological resources that support diverse programs of basic and clinical research to promote better understanding of the human brain in health and in disease. In addition to supporting four technology development projects which use a broad array of imaging technologies, including MRI, MEG, Optical imaging, EEG and now PET imaging, the CFNT supports collaborative research and service use of the very resources the Center is actively working to develop. These technologies are thus being actively used by myself and clinical colleagues in the study of Alzheimers Diesease, Parkinsons Disease, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, ALS, dystonia, and ALD within the realm of neurological disorders, and depression, drug addition, schizophrenia, ADHD, and autism as major psychiatric illnesses.

Another major research interest is in the area of neuroinformatics, serving as lead investigator of the Morphometry test bed within the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN), a multi-institutional community of shared resources that permits collaborative research, tools, and infrastructure for standardization, synchronization, and integration. The Morphometry BIRN, or mBIRN, which is seated at the Martinos Center and intimately related to the Center for Functional Neuroimaging Technologies, aims to develop the next generation of informatics tools to allow for the performance of multi-site and cross-platform clinical investigations to delineate the anatomical characteristics associated with conditions such as neurodegenerative and cognitive disorders, and further to provide a unifying informatics platform to facilitate sharing of primary neuroimaging data from sites throughout the world.

Finally, a major research initiative in recent years has been a growing program focused on investigating the neurobiology of acupuncture and other complementary medical practices. As Principal Investigator of a new Center of Excellence for Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine I have assembled a group of neuroscientists, engineers, western medically trained clinicians with expertise in psychiatric illnesses and pain management, and experienced CAM practitioners with basic science research interests to examine treatments such as acupuncture and meditation within the evidence-based framework of the scientific method, so as to develop a more rigorous understanding of how these ancient healing practices may produce their effects on the human body and brain.

Contact Information

A.A. Martinos Center, Bldg. 149, 13th Street, Room 2301D
Charlestown, MA 02129

Faculty Alphabetical