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Melissa Terpstra, PhD

Terpstra Headshot

Professor of Radiology and Director of NextGen Imaging, School of Medicine
Professor, Biomedical, Biological, and Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering

NextGen Focus Area: High field MR spectroscopy/Alzheimer’s Disease

Dr. Terpstra’s research focuses on noninvasive quantification of weakly represented neurochemicals in 1H magnetic resonance spectra (MRS). This work was pioneered using ultra-high field magnetic resonance imaging systems, and is being translated for use on clinical scanners. Dr. Terpstra discovered the presence of the antioxidant ascorbate (vitamin C) resonance using homonuclear edited 1H MR spectroscopy. She is funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIH) to study whether antioxidant depletion is exacerbated by Alzheimer’s disease (AD). She is also part of the nationwide human connectome project on aging, which will use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study brain connectivity to study risk and resiliency to Alzheimer's disease.

Precision Health Impact:

  • Investigating how normal aging and AD impact the concentrations of the antioxidants ascorbate and GSH in a human brain region that is pertinent to AD etiology
  • Characterizing the neurobiology of aging using short echo time 1H MRS to measure an unprecedented number of neurochemical concentrations in several brain regions
  • Linking connectomics to biochemical trajectories of aging: How the human brain ages differentially in key regions of the default mode network