Vanderbilt University
Institute of Imaging Science

Rachelle Crescenzi, Ph.D.

Research Instructor

Contact Information
(615) 322-8350


My research interests are in the development of noninvasive MRI techniques that exploit endogenous molecular contrasts in vivo. My recent developments have focused on optimizing image contrast for the lymphatic system, including abilities to image small vessel structures, lymph node organs, and the unique properties of lymphatic fluid in tissues. In particular, I have experience with sodium, T1rho, CEST, and multi-point Dixon MRI methods, and have applied these methods to measure tissue sodium, protein, and fat accumulation in diseases of impaired lymphatic vascular clearance.


My research projects focus on understudied diseases of the lymphatic system with a focus on those that impact women's health, including breast cancer treatment-related lymphedema and lipedema. I work with a collaborative group of research scientists and physicians within The Center for Translational Vascular and Physiological Imaging. For more information regarding methods, current developments, and for patients who may be interested in learning more about our research studies, please visit the Donahue lab website


Crescenzi R, Marton A, Donahue PMC, Mahany HB, Lants SK, Wang P, Beckman JA, Donahue MJ, Titze J. Tissue Sodium Content is Elevated in the Skin and Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue in Women with Lipedema. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.). 2018; 26(2):310-317. NIHMSID: NIHMS920419. PMID:29280322. PMCID:PMC5783748.

Bagga P, Pickup S, Crescenzi R, Martinez D, Borthakur A, D'Aquilla K, Singh A, Verma G, Detre JA, Greenberg J, Hariharan H, Reddy R. In vivo GluCEST MRI: Reproducibility, background contribution and source of glutamate changes in the MPTP model of Parkinson's disease. Scientific reports. 2018; 8(1):2883. PMID:29440753. PMCID:PMC5811435.

*Crescenzi R, *Donahue PMC, Hartley KG, Desai AA, Scott AO, Braxton V, Mahany H, Lants SK, Donahue MJ. Lymphedema evaluation using noninvasive 3T MR lymphangiography. Journal of magnetic resonance imaging. 2017; 46(5):1349-1360. NIHMSID: NIHMS848071. PMID:28245075. PMCID:PMC5573666.

Donahue PM, Crescenzi R, Scott AO, Braxton V, Desai A, Smith SA, Jordi J, Meszoely IM, Grau AM, Kauffmann RM, Sweeting RS, Spotanski K, Ridner SH, Donahue MJ. Bilateral Changes in Deep Tissue Environment After Manual Lymphatic Drainage in Patients with Breast Cancer Treatment-Related Lymphedema. Lymphatic research and biology. 2017; 15(1):45-56. PMID:28323572. PMCID:PMC5369395.

Crescenzi R, DeBrosse C, Nanga RP, Byrne MD, Krishnamoorthy G, D'Aquilla K, Nath H, Morales KH, Iba M, Hariharan H, Lee VM, Detre JA, Reddy R. Longitudinal imaging reveals subhippocampal dynamics in glutamate levels associated with histopathologic events in a mouse model of tauopathy and healthy mice. Hippocampus. 2017; 27(3):285-302. NIHMSID: NIHMS851402. PMID:27997993. PMCID:PMC5396955.