Kannie CHAN

Associate Director of COCHE, City University of Hong Kong

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MR imaging of molecules and vasculature in the brain


Abnormal changes of molecules and vasculature in the brain have implications in diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. A frontier MR molecular imaging approach, named Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer (CEST), will be introduced and its related applications in early Alzheimer’s disease detection will be discussed. Other molecular changes in the brain could indicate the cognitive health, such as myelin. Moreover, abnormality of cerebrovasculature, e.g. small vessel disease, which contributed to about 20% of stroke. By using advanced MRI, we could monitor these subtle changes in the brain non-invasively for better health management.


Dr. Chan's research focuses on the development of biomaterials and imaging approaches to facilitate the clinical translation of cancer therapy and cell therapy, and early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases. She received her BSc and PhD degrees from The University of Hong Kong. She completed post-doctoral fellowships in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at Department of Radiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and became an Assistant Professor in 2014. She joined City University of Hong Kong in 2016. She is a leading researcher in applying a frontier molecular MRI contrast mechanism to address clinical needs, which is known as chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST). She has pioneered the imaging of glucose utilization in the brain using CEST-MRI. The way how our brain uses glucose could have implications on diagnosis and therapy in many neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. Her team is developing various techniques to effectively image and deliver drugs/cells in the brain non-invasively. She published over 60 peer-reviewed articles, including a cover article in Nature Materials, Science Advances, Theranostics and Nature Communications. She is a corporate member of HKIE, an adjunct faculty of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and an associate director of COCHE. She served as AMPC member of ISMRM and is now at the publication committee of ISMRM.