Y. Iris Chen, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. She received her PhD in radiology science from the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program and the department of radiology at MIT. Dr. Chen is a MRI physicist and she has pioneered the use of non-invasive neuroimaging techniques to better understand brain neurotransmitter function, particularly in neurodegeneration (such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease) and drug addiction. She is currently focusing on topics in mild traumatic brain injury. In addition to neuroscience, her research covers brown fat, cardiac and molecular imaging of fibrosis in the kidney and lungs.


PhD in Radiology Science, Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program and the department of radiology at MIT

Select Publications

1. Chen YC, Cypess AM, Chen YC, Palmer M, Kolodny G, Kahn CR, Kwong KK. Measurement of human brown adipose tissue volume and activity using anatomic MR imaging and functional MR imaging. J Nucl Med. 2013 Sep;54(9):1584-7.

2. Chen YI, Cypess AM, Sass CA, Brownell AL, Jokivarsi KT, Kahn CR, Kwong KK. Anatomical and functional assessment of brown adipose tissue by magnetic resonance imaging. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012 Jul;20(7):1519-26.

3. Chen YC, Galpern WR, Brownell AL, Matthews RT, Bogdanov M, Isacson O, Keltner JR, Beal MF, Rosen BR, Jenkins BG. Detection of dopaminergic neurotransmitter activity using pharmacologic MRI: correlation with PET, microdialysis, and behavioral data. Magn Reson Med. 1997 Sep;38(3):389-98.


NIH award(s) to study changes in dopaminergic function after mild traumatic brain injury

NIH award to study impact of acupuncture on brain neurotransmitter function

ISMRM Young investigator award finalist for pioneer studies in pharmacological MRI