Vanderbilt University
Institute of Imaging Science

Junzhong Xu, Ph.D.

Director of Cancer Imaging Research
Associate Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Physics and Astronomy

Contact Information
(615) 343-4794


My primary research interests focus on developing, validating, and applying advanced MRI methods, particularly microstructural MRI such as MR cell size imaging, in cancer and other diseases. My studies span biophysical modeling, computer simulation, pre-clinical development and validation, and clinical application.


I am currently leading several NIH-funded projects to improve cancer management, including diagnosis, prognosis, early therapeutic response assessment, and radiotherapy guidance using advanced quantitative MRI. Specific projects include 1) developing and validating MR cell size imaging in cancer and other diseases; 2) assessing tumor early therapeutic response to immunotherapy; and 3) differentiating recurrent tumors from radiotherapy-induced necrosis in the brain.


Devan SP, Jiang X, Luo G, Xie J, Quirk JD, Engelbach J, Harmsen H, McKinley ET, Cui J, Zu Z, Attia A, Garbow JR, Gore JC, McKnight CD, Kirschner AN, Xu J. Selective cell size MRI differentiates brain tumors from radiation necrosis. Cancer Res. 2022 Oct 4;82(19):3603-3613. PMID: 35877201

Jiang X, Li H, Devan SP, Gore JC, Xu J. MR cell size imaging with temporal diffusion spectroscopy. Magn Reson Imaging. 2021 Apr;77:109-123. PMID: 33338562.

Xu J, Jiang X, Li H, Arlinghaus LR, McKinley ET, Devan SP, Hardy BM, Xie J, Kang H, Chakravarthy AB, Gore JC. Magnetic resonance imaging of mean cell size in human breast tumors. Magn Reson Med. 2020 Jun;83(6):2002-2014. PMID: 31765494.

Jiang X, Li H, Xie J, Zhao P, Gore JC, Xu J. Quantification of cell size using temporal diffusion spectroscopy. Magn Reson Med. 2016 Mar;75(3):1076-85. PMID: 25845851.

Xu J, Li H, Harkins HD, Jiang X, Xie J, Kang H, Does MD, Gore JC. Mapping mean axon diameter and axonal volume fraction by MRI using temporal diffusion spectroscopy. Neuroimage. 2014 Dec;103:10-19. PMID: 25225002.