Hai-Ling Margaret Cheng

Assistant Professor (Status-only)

Magnetic resonance imaging and contrast agents for cellular and physiological imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a well established non-invasive 3D imaging modality that provides exquisite soft-tissue contrast at high spatial resolution for anatomical imaging.  MRI can also provide information at the physiological, cellular, and molecular level, but a number of issues remain in this realm related to sensitivity and quantification.  My research is focused on developing sensitive and quantitative MRI capabilities for physiological, cellular, and molecular imaging, with the aim of enabling MRI for advanced applications in cancer and regenerative medicine.

Currently my lab is exploring new ways to obtain information on important biological parameters not currently accessible using non-invasive methods.  Some examples include whether or not blood vessels are functional, or if a cancer cell is very aggressive.  These research endeavours will draw on the rapid imaging capabilities my lab has developed for quantitative MRI and may include any of our quantitative platforms, such as dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI of microvascular function. These endeavours sit at the interface of multiple disciplines and require MRI development alongside working with new MR contrast agents, carrier fabrication, cell biology, and animal models of disease. Specific areas of research include:

  • Cellular MRI for very early cancer detection and diagnosis
  • Gadolinium-free MR contrast agents for applications in brain imaging, cardiovascular imaging, cancer imaging, image-guided therapy, and targeted drug delivery.
  • Novel MRI approaches to assess the functionality of blood vessels
  • Cellular MRI for monitoring vascular assembly and tissue regeneration
  • Tissue-engineering approaches to improve vascularization and regeneration


Publications at Pubmed for Hai-Ling Margaret Cheng

Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering
University of Toronto, Rosebrugh Building Rm 407
164 College Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3G9
Tel: 416-978-4095
Email: hailing.cheng@utoronto.ca