Qun Zhao

Professor of Physics
  • PhD, Xidian University, China, 1995

In the Lab

The Zhao group is focused on innovating novel approaches to improve magnetic resonance (MR) imaging physics at cellular level for early detection and therapeutic treatment of cancers, for tracking of stem cells, and for other biophysical and biomedical applications.

MRI-based cell tracking using super-paramagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) particles provide an excellent means of cell monitoring in vivo. The magnetic nanoparticles function as T2 or T2* contrast agent and they change the transverse relaxation time of protons in surrounding water. SPIOs are ideal for in vivo cell tracking because they are non-radioactive, non-toxic, do not require viral transfection, and provide a detectable intracellular signal.

Research Interest

  • Cellular MR imaging: Tracking stem cells labeled with iron oxide nanoparticles
  • Therapeutic treatment of cancer using SPIO nanoparticles
  • MR phase gradient mapping
  • Dynamic contrast enhanced MRI
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy


  • ​Publications by Qun Zhao may be found at PubMed.