Chongzhao Ran, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He received a Master’s degree in medicinal chemistry from China Pharmaceutical University and a PhD in medicinal chemistry from Shanghai Institute of Pharmaceutical Industry, China. He did his postdoctoral training at the University of Chicago and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ran’s research focuses on the development of molecular imaging probe and imaging technologies. He has published nearly 60 papers in the fields of chemistry and molecular imaging, some in high-ranking journals such as PNAS and J. Amer. Chem. Soc. Since 2010, his research has been continuously supported by multiple NIH grants from NIA, NIDDK and other foundations. In recent years, his research group has successfully developed numerous near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging probes, which revolve around their own brand CRANAD-X, for in vivo detection of amyloid beta in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Particularly, his research has been focusing on seeking “smart” NIR probes for soluble amyloid beta species, which are widely believed to be the most neurotoxic species at the early stage of AD. Recently, his research group has successfully designed and synthesized secnd-generation PET tracers for amyloid beta species. In addition, his group has discovered several NIRF probes and PET tracers for imaging brown adipose tissue. These probes have remarkable potential for future diagnosis and monitoring the efficacy of drugs for Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and obesity in preclinical studies and clinical trials.


PhD in medicinal chemistry, Shanghai Institute of Pharmaceutical Industry, China

Select Publications

1. Ran C, Xu X, Raymond SB, Ferrara BJ, Neal K, Bacskai BJ, Medarova Z, Moore A. Design, synthesis, and testing of difluoroboron-derivatized curcumins as near-infrared probes for in vivo detection of amyloid-beta deposits. J Am Chem Soc. 2009 Oct 28;131(42):15257-61.

2. Zhang X, Tian Y, Li Z, Tian X, Sun H, Liu H, Moore A, Ran C. Design and synthesis of curcumin analogues for in vivo fluorescence imaging and inhibiting copper-induced cross-linking of amyloid beta species in Alzheimer’s disease. J Am Chem Soc. 2013 Nov 6;135(44):16397-409.

3. Zhang X, Tian Y, Zhang C, Tian X, Ross AW, Moir RD, Sun H, Tanzi RE, Moore A, Ran C. Near-infrared fluorescence molecular imaging of amyloid beta species and monitoring therapy in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Aug 4;112(31):9734-9.

4. Yang J, Zhang X, Yuan P, Yang J, Xu Y, Grutzendler J, Shao Y, Moore A, Ran C. Oxalate-curcumin-based probe for micro- and macroimaging of reactive oxygen species in Alzheimer’s disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Nov 21;114(47):12384-12389.


2010 K25 NIH/NIA Career Development Award