Bashir Lab for Liver Imaging Research


Our laboratory focuses on advanced imaging methodologies in body imaging, especially MRI of the liver. We aim to further our understanding of existing techniques and develop novel imaging methods, in part through a rich group of collaborations with members of the Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network (NASH CRN) and Liver Imaging Reporting and Data System (LI-RADS) committee.

Liver Quantification and Liver Fat

Our past collaborative efforts have led to the development and dissemination of a technique for quantifying hepatic steatosis. Animal and human data have linked features of the individual triglyceride chains to histopathological findings of NASH such as hepatocyte ballooning. This continuing line of research is now focused on characterizing the types of lipid deposited in the liver and in other fat depots throughout the body.

Clinical Trials Core Laboratory

We collaborate with industry partners on clinical trials in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and other liver diseases. Our role is typically to develop the imaging components of these clinical trials, including liver fat quantification, liver volume, adiposity measures, and liver stiffness by MR elastography. We seek to leverage this platform for the development of novel imaging methods relevant to a clinical trial’s patient population.

Liver Cancer

We seek to evolve our understanding of the features of liver cancer and improve imaging-based methods for the diagnosis and characterization of liver tumors. Using a deep learning approach, we hope to improve on existing imaging methods and diagnostic algorithms to improve the care of patients with liver cancer.

Contrast Agents

Intravenous contrast agents play a critical role in body imaging, particularly CT and MRI. With the introduction of novel contrast agents, the precise utility and roles of various agents remain poorly defined. We study the diagnostic applications and safety profiles associated with a variety of available agents.

Key Publications

Liver Quantification and Liver Fat

Schneider M, Janas G, Lugauer F, Hoppe E, Nickel D, Dale BM, Kiefer B, Maier A, Bashir MR. Accurate fatty acid composition estimation of adipose tissue in the abdomen based on bipolar multi-echo MRI. Magn Reson Med. 2019 Apr;81(4):2330-2346.

Wildman-Tobriner B, Middleton MM, Moylan CA, Rossi S, Flores O, Chang ZA, Abdelmalek MF, Sirlin CB, Bashir MR. Association between magnetic resonance imaging-proton density fat fraction and liver histology features in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Gastroenterology, 2018 Nov; 155(5): 1428-1435.e2

Harrison SA, Rinella ME, Abdelmalek MF, Trotter JF, Paredes AH, Arnold HL, Kugelmas M, Bashir MR, Jaros MJ, Ling L, Rossi SJ, DePaoli AM, Loomba R. NGM282 for treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis: A multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial. Lancet, 2018 Mar 24;391(10126):1174-1185.

Middleton MS, Heba ER, Hooker CA, Bashir MR, Fowler KJ, Sandrasegaran K, Brunt EM, Kleiner DE, Doo E, Van Natta ML, Tonascia JT, Lavine JE, Neuschwander-Tetri BA, Sanyal A, Loomba R, Sirlin CB; NASH Clinical Research Network. Agreement between magnetic resonance imaging proton density fat fraction measurements and pathologist-assisted steatosis grades of liver biopsies from adults with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Gastroenterology, 2017 Sep;153(3):753-761.

Bashir MR, Zhong X, Nickel MD, Fananapazir G, Kannengiesser SAR, Kiefer B, Dale BM. Quantification of hepatic steatosis with a multistep adaptive fitting MR imaging approach: prospective validation against MR spectroscopy. Am J Roentgenol. 2015 Feb;204(2):297-306.

Zhong X, Nickel MD, Kannengisser SA, Dale BM, Keifer B, Bashir MR. Liver fat quantification using a multi-step adaptive fitting approach with multi-echo GRE imaging. Magn Reson Med, 2014 Nov;72(5):1353-65.

Click here for Additional Publications for Liver Quantification and Liver Fat

Liver Cancer

Shropshire EL, Chaudhry M, Miller CM, Allen BC, Bozdogan E, Cardona DM, King LY, Janas GL, Do RK, Kim CY, Ronald J, Bashir MR. LI-RADS treatment response algorithm:  performance and diagnostic accuracy. Radiology. 2019 Jul;292(1):226-234

Sofue K, Burke LM, Nilmini V, Alagiyawanna M, Muir AJ, Choudhury KR, Jaffe TA, Semelka RC, Bashir MR. Liver Imaging Reporting and Data System Category 4 Observations in MRI: Risk Factors Predicting Upgrade to Category 5. J Magn Reson Imaging, 2017 Sep;46(3):783- 792.

Bashir MR, Huang R, Mayes N, Marin D, Berg CL, Nelson RC, Jaffe TA. Concordance of hypervascular liver nodule characterization between the organ procurement and transplant network and liver imaging reporting and data system classifications, J Magn Reson Imaging, 2015 Aug;42(2):305-14.

Marks RM, Ryan A, Heba EH, Tang A, Wolfson TJ, Gamst AC, Sirlin CB, Bashir MR. Diagnostic per-patient accuracy of an abbreviated hepatobiliary phase gadoxetic acid-enhanced MRI for hepatocellular carcinoma surveillance. Am J Roentgenol, 2015 Mar;204(3):527-535.

Bashir MR, Gupta RT, Davenport MS, Allen BC, Jaffe TA, Ho LM, Boll DT, Merkle EM. Hepatocellular carcinoma in a North American population: does hepatobiliary MR imaging with Gd-EOB-DTPA improve sensitivity and confidence for diagnosis? J Magn Reson Imaging, 2013 Feb;37(2):398-406.

Click here for Additional Publications for Liver Cancer

Contrast Agents

Nguyen KL, Yoshida T, Kathuria-Prakash N, Zaki IH, Varallyay CG, Semple SI, Saouaf R, Rigsby CK, Stoumpos S, Whitehead KK, Griffin LM, Saloner D, Hope MD, Prince MR, Fogel MA, Schiebler ML, Roditi GH, Radjenovic A, Newby DE, Neuwelt EA, Bashir MR, Hu P, Finn JP. Multicenter safety and practice for off-label diagnostic use of ferumoxytol in MRI. Radiology. 2019 Oct 22 [epub ahead of print].

McClellan TR, Motosugi U, Middleton MS, Allen BC, Jaffe TA, Miller CM, Reeder SB, Sirlin CB, Bashir MR. Intravenous gadoxetate disodium administration reduces breath-holding capacity in the hepatic arterial phase – A multi-center randomized placebo-controlled trial. Radiol, 2017 Feb;282(2):361-368.

Vasanawala S, Nguyen KL, Hope MD, Bridges MD, Hope TA, Reeder SB, Bashir MR. Safety and technique of ferumoxytol administration for MRI. Magn Reson Med, 2016 May;75(5):2107- 11.

Pietryga JA, Burke LMB, Marin Daniele, Jaffe TA, Bashir MR. Respiratory motion artifact affecting hepatic arterial phase hepatic arterial phase imaging with gadoxetate disodium – Examination recovery using multi-arterial phase acquisition. Radiology, 2014 May;271(2):426- 34.

Bashir MR, Jaffe TA, Brennan TV, Patel UD, Ellis MJ. Renal transplant imaging using magnetic resonance angiography with a non-nephrotoxic contrast agent. Transplantation, 2013 Jul 15;96(1):91-6.

Click here for Additional Publications for Contrast Agents


People & Alumni


Mustafa R. Bashir, MD
Brian C. Allen, MD
James Ronald, MD, PhD
Ben Wildman-Tobriner, MD
Gemini Janas, BS RT(R)(CV) – Laboratory Manager
Raven Boykin, RT(R)(MR) – MRI Research Technologist
Steve Chen, BS – Data Manager
Sarah Cubberley, BS RT(R)(BD) – Project Coordinator
Hong-Il Ha, MD – Visiting Scholar
Hanyu Jiang, MD – Visiting Scholar
Meghana Konanur, MD
Brandon Konkel, PhD – Post-Doctoral Associate
Amber Mittendorf, MD
Lawrence Ngo, MD, PhD
Celia Reynolds, MS4
Erin Shropshire, MD
Jean Shaffer, RT(R)MR, MRSO – MRI Research Technologist
Kassi Sollace, RT(R) – Clinical Trials Assistant
Robin Williamson, BS – Project Coordinator
Islam Zaki, MD – Post-Doctoral Associate
Zhe Zhu, PhD – Post-Doctoral Associate


Lauren MB Burke, MD – University of North Carolina
Ghaneh Fananapazir, MD – University of California-Davis
Steven Harris, MD, PhD – Vanderbilt University
Taylor C. McClellan, MD – Duke University
Jason A. Pietryga, MD – Brown University
Keitaro Sofue, MD/PhD – Kobe University


Key Collaborators at Duke

Jim Abbruzzese, MD
Manal F Abdelmalek, MD
Anna Mae Diehl, MD
Matthew Kappus, MD
Maciej A. Mazurowski, PhD
Cynthia A Moylan, MD
Andrew J Muir, MD
Brian J Soher, PhD
Jason E. Stout, MD MHS

Key Collaborators Outside Duke

Lauren MB Burke, MD – University of North Carolina
Brian M Dale, PhD – Siemens Healthineers
Matthew S Davenport, MD – University of Michigan
Ghaneh Fananapazir, MD – University of California-Davis
Katie Fowler, UCSD
Michael M Middleton, MD, PhD – University of California-San Diego
Scott B Reeder, MD, PhD – University of Wisconsin
Claude B Sirlin, MD – University of California-San Diego
Bachir Taouli, Mt Sinai
Takeshi Yokoo, MD, PhD – University of Texas-Southwestern
Xiaodong Zhong, PhD – Siemens Healthineers

Key Industry Collaborators

Bayer Healthcare
Carmot Therapeutics
CymaBay Therapeutics
GE Healthcare
Guerbet Group
Madrigal Pharmaceuticals
Medpace Imaging Core Lab
Metacrine, Inc
NGM Biopharmaceuticals
NuSirt Biopharma
Pinnacle Clinical Research
ProSciento, Inc
Siemens Healthineers
TaiwanJ Pharma