Transition Metal Ion MRI Contrast Agents

a nurse prepares a prone man to enter into a MRI machine for scans.

Students will engage in researching magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) , helping to develop iron MRI contrast agents, making measurements, fitting data, and preparing samples for MRI studies. 

Project description

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a clinically important diagnostic procedure, with about half of MRI scans using contrast agents in order to better image differences in tissue. Nearly all clinically used contrast agents contain gadolinium, yet a large proportion of patients in the US population (ca 30%) are considered at risk for being given gadolinium contrast agents. The proposed research entails the development of iron MRI contrast agents as alternatives for gadolinium. These iron based MRI contrast agents function in the same manner as do the gadolinium agents and are synthesized as coordination complexes that contain macrocyclic ligands. Students will participate by synthesizing and characterizing Fe(III) complexes, making measurements of water proton relaxation by NMR spectroscopy, fitting of the data, and by preparation of samples for MRI studies.

Project outcome

The specific outcomes of this project will be identified by the faculty mentor at the beginning of your collaboration. 

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment To be determined by student/mentor
Start time Fall, Spring, Summer
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration To be determined by student/mentor
Benefits Academic Credit
Who is eligible Courses in general and organic chemistry. Inorganic chemistry is preferred but not necessary.
Goldwater and the National Science Foundation

Students participating in this project might be interested in and eligible for the Goldwater Scholarship and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Connect with the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships to learn more.

Project mentor

Janet Morrow

Larkin Professor


526 Natural Sciences Complex

Phone: (716) 645-4187


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
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Preparation activities

The specific preparation activities for this project will be customized through discussions between you and your project mentor. Please be sure to ask them for the instructions to complete the required preparation activities.