Honors & Awards

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

Education & Certifications

  • M.S., Purdue University, Biomedical Engineering (2016)
  • B.S., Purdue University, Biomedical Engineering (2015)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Assessment of Quantitative [18F]Sodium Fluoride PET Measures of Knee Subchondral Bone Perfusion and Mineralization in Osteoarthritic and Healthy Subjects. Osteoarthritis and cartilage Watkins, L., MacKay, J., Haddock, B., Mazzoli, V., Uhlrich, S., Gold, G., Kogan, F. 2021


    OBJECTIVE: Molecular information derived from dynamic [18F]sodium fluoride ([18F]NaF) PET imaging holds promise as a quantitative marker of bone metabolism. The objective of this work was to evaluate physiological mechanisms of [18F]NaF uptake in subchondral bone of individuals with and without knee osteoarthritis (OA).METHODS: Eleven healthy volunteers and twenty OA subjects were included. Both knees of all subjects were scanned simultaneously using a 3T hybrid PET/MRI system. MRI MOAKS assessment was performed to score the presence and size of osteophytes, bone marrow lesions, and cartilage lesions. Subchondral bone kinetic parameters of bone perfusion (K1), tracer extraction fraction, and total tracer uptake into bone (Ki) were evaluated using the Hawkins 3-compartment model. Measures were compared between structurally normal-appearing bone regions and those with structural findings.RESULTS: Mean and maximum SUV and kinetic parameters Ki, K1, and extraction fraction were significantly different between Healthy subjects and subjects with OA. Between-group differences in metabolic parameters were observed both in regions where the OA group had degenerative changes as well as in regions that appeared structurally normal.CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that bone metabolism is altered in OA subjects, including bone regions with and without structural findings, compared to healthy subjects. Kinetic parameters of [18F]NaF uptake in subchondral bone show potential to quantitatively evaluate the role of bone physiology in OA initiation and progression. Objective measures of bone metabolism from [18F]NaF PET imaging can complement assessments of structural abnormalities observed on MRI.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.joca.2021.02.563

    View details for PubMedID 33639259

  • Characterizing the transient response of knee cartilage to running: Decreases in cartilage T2 of female recreational runners. Journal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society Crowder, H. A., Mazzoli, V. n., Black, M. S., Watkins, L. E., Kogan, F. n., Hargreaves, B. A., Levenston, M. E., Gold, G. E. 2021


    Cartilage transmits and redistributes biomechanical loads in the knee joint during exercise. Exercise-induced loading alters cartilage hydration and is detectable using quantitative MRI, where T2 relaxation time (T2 ) is influenced by cartilage collagen composition, fiber orientation, and changes in extracellular matrix. This study characterized short-term transient responses of healthy knee cartilage to running-induced loading using bilateral scans and image registration. Eleven healthy female recreational runners (33.73±4.22 years) and four healthy female controls (27.25±1.38 years) were scanned on a 3T GE MRI scanner with qDESS before running over-ground (runner group) or resting (control group) for 40 minutes. Subjects were scanned immediately post-activity at five-minute intervals for 60 minutes. T2 times were calculated for femoral, tibial, and patellar cartilage at each time point and analyzed using a mixed-effects model and Bonferroni post-hoc. There were immediate decreases in T2 (mean±SEM) post-run in superficial femoral cartilage of at least 3.3±0.3% (P=0.002) between baseline and Time 0 that remained for 25 minutes, a decrease in superficial tibial cartilage T2 of 2.9±0.4% (P=0.041) between baseline and Time 0, and a decrease in superficial patellar cartilage T2 of 3.6±0.3% (P=0.020) 15 minutes post-run. There were decreases in the medial posterior region of superficial femoral cartilage T2 of at least 5.3±0.2% (P=0.022) within five minutes post-run that remained at 60 minutes post-run. Clinical Significance: These results increase understanding of transient responses of healthy cartilage to repetitive, exercise-induced loading and establish preliminary recommendations for future definitive studies of cartilage response to running. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jor.24994

    View details for PubMedID 33483997

  • Effects of Dynamic Na[F-18]F- Duration on Uptake Parameters in the Knee Watkins, L., Haddock, B., Kogan, F. SOC NUCLEAR MEDICINE INC. 2020
  • Evaluating the Relationship between Dynamic Na[F-18]F-Uptake Parameters and MRI Knee Osteoarthritic Findings Watkins, L., MacKay, J., Haddock, B., Mazzoli, V., Uhlrich, S., Gold, G., Kogan, F. SOC NUCLEAR MEDICINE INC. 2020
  • 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. n., Uhlrich, S. D., Desai, A. D., Black, M. n., Ho, G. K., Delp, S. L., Levenston, M. E., Beaupré, G. S., Gold, G. E., Kogan, F. n. 2020: e4310


    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


    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