Honors & Awards


  • Stanford Graduate Fellow, Stanford VPGE (2016-2019)

Stanford Advisors


All Publications


  • Rapid volumetric gagCEST imaging of knee articular cartilage at 3 T: evaluation of improved dynamic range and an osteoarthritic population. NMR in biomedicine Watkins, L. E., Rubin, E. B., Mazzoli, V., Uhlrich, S. D., Desai, A. D., Black, M., Ho, G. K., Delp, S. L., Levenston, M. E., Beaupré, G. S., Gold, G. E., Kogan, F. 2020: e4310

    Abstract

    Chemical exchange saturation transfer of glycosaminoglycans, gagCEST, is a quantitative MR technique that has potential for assessing cartilage proteoglycan content at field strengths of 7 T and higher. However, its utility at 3 T remains unclear. The objective of this work was to implement a rapid volumetric gagCEST sequence with higher gagCEST asymmetry at 3 T to evaluate its sensitivity to osteoarthritic changes in knee articular cartilage and in comparison with T2 and T1ρ measures. We hypothesize that gagCEST asymmetry at 3 T decreases with increasing severity of osteoarthritis (OA). Forty-two human volunteers, including 10 healthy subjects and 32 subjects with medial OA, were included in the study. Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Scores (KOOS) were assessed for all subjects, and Kellgren-Lawrence grading was performed for OA volunteers. Healthy subjects were scanned consecutively at 3 T to assess the repeatability of the volumetric gagCEST sequence at 3 T. For healthy and OA subjects, gagCEST asymmetry and T2 and T1ρ relaxation times were calculated for the femoral articular cartilage to assess sensitivity to OA severity. Volumetric gagCEST imaging had higher gagCEST asymmetry than single-slice acquisitions (p = 0.015). The average scan-rescan coefficient of variation was 6.8%. There were no significant differences in average gagCEST asymmetry between younger and older healthy controls (p = 0.655) or between healthy controls and OA subjects (p = 0.310). T2 and T1ρ relaxation times were elevated in OA subjects (p < 0.001 for both) compared with healthy controls and both were moderately correlated with total KOOS scores (rho = -0.181 and rho = -0.332 respectively). The gagCEST technique developed here, with volumetric scan times under 10 min and high gagCEST asymmetry at 3 T, did not vary significantly between healthy subjects and those with mild-moderate OA. This further supports a limited utility for gagCEST imaging at 3 T for assessment of early changes in cartilage composition in OA.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/nbm.4310

    View details for PubMedID 32445515

  • Flexible and efficient optimization of quantitative sequences using automatic differentiation of Bloch simulations. Magnetic resonance in medicine Lee, P. K., Watkins, L. E., Anderson, T. I., Buonincontri, G., Hargreaves, B. A. 2019

    Abstract

    PURPOSE: To investigate a computationally efficient method for optimizing the Cramer-Rao Lower Bound (CRLB) of quantitative sequences without using approximations or an analytical expression of the signal.METHODS: Automatic differentiation was applied to Bloch simulations and used to optimize several quantitative sequences without the need for approximations or an analytical expression. The results were validated with in vivo measurements and comparisons to prior art. Multi-echo spin echo and DESPO T 1 were used as benchmarks to verify the CRLB implementation. The CRLB of the Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting (MRF) sequence, which has a complicated analytical formulation, was also optimized using automatic differentiation.RESULTS: The sequence parameters obtained for multi-echo spin echo and DESPO T 1 matched results obtained using conventional methods. In vivo, MRF scans demonstrate that the CRLB optimization obtained with automatic differentiation can improve performance in presence of white noise. For MRF, the CRLB optimization converges in 1.1 CPU hours for N TR = 400 and has O ( N TR ) asymptotic runtime scaling for the calculation of the CRLB objective and gradient.CONCLUSIONS: Automatic differentiation can be used to optimize the CRLB of quantitative sequences without using approximations or analytical expressions. For MRF, the runtime is computationally efficient and can be used to investigate confounding factors as well as MRF sequences with a greater number of repetitions.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/mrm.27832

    View details for PubMedID 31131500

  • Acellular and cellular high-density, collagen-fibril constructs with suprafibrillar organization BIOMATERIALS SCIENCE Blum, K. M., Novak, T., Watkins, L., Neu, C. P., Wallace, J. M., Bart, Z. R., Voytik-Harbin, S. L. 2016; 4 (4): 711-723

    View details for DOI 10.1039/c5bm00443h

    View details for Web of Science ID 000372997600016