Douglas Ballon Laboratory

Associated Lab Members

Douglas Ballon
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Douglas BallonPh.D.
  • Professor of Physics in Radiology

Douglas Ballon received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1985 in experimental nuclear physics.  He did postdoctoral work in medical physics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from 1985-1988, and subsequently joined the faculty there, developing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques for applications in oncology.  In 2001, he became Founding Director of the Citigroup Biomedical Imaging Center (CBIC) at Weill Cornell Medical College, a comprehensive MRI, positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), CT, ultrasound, optical imaging, and cyclotron facility that supports nearly 100 investigators from 15 academic institutions. Over the last 20 years he has held a leadership role in the development and management of imaging technologies.  He has more than 30 years of experience in the development of imaging biomarkers for the detection, characterization, and therapeutic monitoring of disease.


Current Areas of Investigation

Imaging techniques for applications in genetic medicine

Current Lab Focus

Development of quantitative imaging biomarkers for applications in genetic medicine; in particular, for studying the organ tropism of a range of wildtype and engineered viral vectors used in gene therapy, and for measuring whole-body immune response to vector administration.

Lab Achievements

  1. First non-invasive quantitative imaging biomarker for the percentage cellularity of human bone marrow.
  2. First demonstration of whole-body imaging of hematologic malignancies with nearly complete discrimination against signal from normal tissue, without the use of injected contrast agents.
  3. First magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) of human prostate tissue using techniques developed for intact specimen magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM).
  4. First robust quantitative whole-body tracking of adeno-associated viral vector biodistribution in vivo via radioiodination of vector capsids, positron emission tomography, and a compartmental modeling approach to viral vector dosimetry.
  5. First non-invasive quantitative imaging biomarker for anti-capsid immunity to viral vector administration.

Research Projects

Award or Grant: National Institutes of Health (NIH), R01 EB027918

The goal of this project is to develop noninvasive, safe, temporal monitoring of adeno-associated viral vector (AAV) biodistribution following in vivo administration that can be ultimately used in humans. The lab’s strategy is to...

Award or Grant: U54NS065768, BioMarin Pharmaceutical, 190-201, 190-202, 190-203

Ceroid lipofuscionosis type 2 (CLN2) disease is a rare, rapidly progressing lysosomal storage disease with severe neurological complications including widespread neurodegeneration. The disease’s rarity, as well...

Award or Grant: Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Research and Education Foundation Roentgen Resident/Fellow Research Award

Residents and fellows rotating through the Ballon lab have developed methods for imaging specimens using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at high spatial...

Award or Grant: National Institutes of Health (NIH), R01EB002070 

The Ballon lab has developed new methods for whole-body imaging of metastatic disease in oncology. The lab introduced a rapid, whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique for leukemia and metastatic cancers including prostate and breast...

Award or Grant:  National Institutes of Health (NIH), S10OD030447

The lab’s research efforts using iodine (I)-124 positron emission tomography (PET) to image viral vectors require a cyclotron for production of the radioisotope.  The cyclotron, in turn, requires special targetry to produce iodine (I)-124.  The research...

Weill Cornell Medicine
Department of Radiology
525 East 68th Street New York, NY 10065