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Translational Medicine

Cheng Lab

Principal Investigator

Hai-Ling Margaret Cheng, PhD
Scientific profile

Research Activities

My overall research focus is on advancing quantitative MRI methodologies in tissue-engineering/regenerative medicine (TE/RM), investigating different paradigms such as stem-cells and tissue implantation. Such an enabling technology would address a critical need in TE/RM for a non-invasive histology surrogate to assess tissue viability and structure.

The goal is to accelerate the realization of TE/RM as a medical option by 1) guiding the development of TE/RM strategies to address outstanding challenges and 2) enabling on-going assessment in patients.

Technical and applied research activities in the past five years have included: 1) rapid 3D quantitative MRI methods, 2) MRI monitoring of angiogenesis in tissue-engineering/regenerative medicine, 3) functional imaging of the microcirculation, 4) MRI monitoring of thermal ablation therapy.

These research efforts have resulted in: 1) a rapid 3D T1-mapping approach that is essential in quantifying contrast concentration in all contrast-enhanced MRI studies of the microcirculation, 2) accurate measurement of the arterial input function needed to quantify perfusion and other vessel functions, 3) successful quantification by MRI of angiogenesis in tissue-engineered bladder constructs.

Current technical and applied research activities are focused on the following: 1) technical innovations and modeling to uncouple parameters of vessel function estimated from contrast-enhanced MRI studies, 2) novel MRI approaches to study functional and molecular changes during therapeutic angiogenesis, 3) application of advanced quantitative MRI methods to study tissue-engineering systems, stroke models, and inflammatory diseases.


Cheng HL. Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI in oncology drug development. Current Clinical Pharmacology 2:111-122 (2007).

Cheng HL. T(1) measurement of flowing blood and arterial input function determination for quantitative 3D T(1)-weighted DCE-MRI. J Magn Reson Imaging 25:1073-1078 (2007).

Cheng HL, Wallis C, Shou Z, Farhat WA. Quantifying angiogenesis in VEGF-enhanced tissue-engineered bladder constructs by dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI using contrast agents of different molecular weights. J Magn Reson Imaging 25:137-145 (2007).

Cheng HL, Wright GA. Rapid high-resolution T(1) mapping by variable flip angles: accurate and precise measurements in the presence of radiofrequency field inhomogeneity. Magn Reson Med 55:566-574 (2006).

Cartwright L, Farhat WA, Sherman C, Chen J, Babyn P, Yeger H, Cheng HL. Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI to quantify VEGF-enhanced tissue-engineered bladder graft neovascularization: pilot study. J Biomed Mater Res A 77:390-395 (2006).

Cheng HL, Chen J, Babyn PS, Farhat WA. Dynamic Gd-DTPA enhanced MRI as a surrogate marker of angiogenesis in tissue-engineered bladder constructs: a feasibility study in rabbits. J Magn Reson Imaging 21:415 423 (2005).

Cheng HL, Purcell CM, Bilbao JM, Plewes DB. Usefulness of contrast kinetics for predicting and monitoring tissue changes in muscle following thermal therapy in long survival studies. J Magn Reson Imaging 19:329 341 (2004).

Cheng HL, Purcell CM, Bilbao JM, Plewes DB. Prediction of subtle thermal histopathological change using a novel analysis of Gd-DTPA kinetics. J Magn Reson Imaging 18:585 598 (2003).

Cheng HL, Plewes DB. Tissue thermal conductivity by magnetic resonance thermometry and focused ultrasound heating. J Magn Reson Imaging 16:598 609 (2002).

Contact Information

Admin Assistant
Ramona Zacharias
e-mail: ramona.zacharias@sickkids.ca

Mailing Address
The Hospital for Sick Children
555 University Ave.
Diagnostic Imaging
Toronto, ON M5G 1X8

180 Dundas St. W, Room 430
Toronto, ON M5G 1Z8

Tel: 416-813-4749
Fax: 416-813-7362
e-mail: hai-ling.cheng@sickkids.ca