Stephen J. Blackband, Ph.D.


Department of Neuroscience
University of Florida
1149 Newell Drive
PO Box 100244
Gainesville, FL 32611-0244
Office Phone:  (352) 273-5535
Lab Phone:      (352) 294-8365


(Physics with Biophysics)
Nottingham University
(NMR Imaging)
Nottingham University
Postdoctoral Fellow
(Mentor: Sir Peter Mansfield)
Nottingham University

Key Words:    Neuroimaging, MR Imaging, MR Microscopy, High Magnetic Fields, Cellular MR Imaging

Research Summary:

I am an MR imaging physicist, exploring the application of MRI to a wide variety of applications, but particularly at high fields and at high spatial resolution (MR microscopy).  I am joint faculty with the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL). I have held several NIH grants, including director of an NIH Resource grant.  I have been working on technique, technology and application development of MR for over 35 years.

 My PhD at Nottingham University was under Sir Peter Mansfield, and involved applications of MRI to the study of materials with some human application.  From there I developed human and animal imaging techniques and applications at Johns Hopkins for 6 years, and after four years at Hull University moved to UF.  My work has involved human studies of breast, brain and prostate cancer, including early work on dynamic contrast agent studies, T2 quantitation, and localized proton spectroscopy in the prostate.  Since moving to UF, my studies include single cells, isolated perfused tissues (heart, brain, kidney), fixed specimens (brain, heart) and some non-biomedical studies. These studies use small bore high field systems, such as the 750MHz wide bore, to achieve the highest signal to noise and resolutions.  DTI especially is being applied to mouse and rat brains, and we co-developed the first ex vivo and in vivo mouse brain atlases.  We also published the first MRI atlas of the isolated Drosophila fly brain.

The last 34 years has seen my group move from the first image of a single cell (a frog ova) through smaller and smaller cells (Aplysia neurons) culminating recently in the first images and fiber tracking of fixed mammalian brain cells on rat, porcine and human tissues.  These studies incorporated the use of new micro rf coils and strong gradients.  The use of these techniques is now being explored in other tissues including heart, muscle, diaphragm, kidney, liver, and retina.  Our work now is moving studies on fixed mammalian cells to cellular level imaging on live tissue, made possible by the construction of a unique oxgenator and perfusion apparatus compatible with the microimaging hardware, and central to this proposal.  This work is continuing under a new NIH grant with Dr. Flint.

At UF I was the first director of the imaging facility (AMRIS) for three years and installed most of the magnet systems now there. I also was PI of an NIH Resource grant that developed the hardware and techniques to take advantage of our high field systems.

Most recently we are exploring the utility of the 900MHz (21.1T) system at the NHMFL. Additionally the NHMFL has successfully achieved 30T on a new series connected hybrid magnet that made field early 2017.  We are looking forward to integrating an imaging console later this year.  I review regularly for the NIH and I was a charter member of BMIT.

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