Over the past two decades, Dr. Yen has devoted herself to the development of advanced MRI techniques, for hyperpolarized metabolic imaging, cancer imaging and functional imaging in clinical and pre-clinical research. She is an MR physicist with >100 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals, book chapters, reviews and patents. Her pioneering work in hyperpolarized 13C MR spectroscopic imaging of metabolism has resulted in 30+ publications, including the first in vivo tracking of altered metabolic pathways in prostate cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma and glioma in animal studies.

Hyperpolarized imaging will revolutionize how we study and manage diseases. Dr. Yen’s group explores new hyperpolarized imaging contrast agents, investigates potential applications in cancer and aging research, and develops multinuclear MR techniques to advance hyperpolarized imaging for translational research.

In addition, her group is developing advanced dynamic MRI technologies to study brain perfusion, permeability of blood brain barrier, and brain function. They are currently investigating the relationship between tau deposition and neurovascular healthy in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. In collaboration with industry, they are developing imaging techniques to monitor treatment effect in sickle cell disease animal models to aid in drug development.


PhD in Nuclear Physics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Select Publications

1. Coghill RC, McHaffie JG, Yen YF. Neural correlates of interindividual differences in the subjective experience of pain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Jul 8;100(14):8538-42. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1430684100. Epub 2003 Jun 24. Erratum in: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Nov 20;:. Yen, Ye-Fen [corrected to Yen, Yi-Fen]. PMID: 12824463; PMCID: PMC166264.

2. Yen YF, Kohler SJ, Chen AP, Tropp J, Bok R, Wolber J, Albers MJ, Gram KA, Zierhut ML, Park I, Zhang V, Hu S, Nelson SJ, Vigneron DB, Kurhanewicz J, Dirven HA, Hurd RE. Imaging considerations for in vivo 13C metabolic mapping using hyperpolarized 13C-pyruvate. Magn Reson Med. 2009 Jul;62(1):1-10. doi: 10.1002/mrm.21987. PMID: 19319902; PMCID: PMC2782538.

3. Albers MJ, Bok R, Chen AP, Cunningham CH, Zierhut ML, Zhang VY, Kohler SJ, Tropp J, Hurd RE, Yen YF, Nelson SJ, Vigneron DB, Kurhanewicz J. Hyperpolarized 13C lactate, pyruvate, and alanine: noninvasive biomarkers for prostate cancer detection and grading. Cancer Res. 2008 Oct 15;68(20):8607-15. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-0749. PMID: 18922937; PMCID: PMC2829248.


Awarded an NIH S10 High-end Instrumentation grant for a dissolution-DNP hyperpolarizer for pre-clinical and clinical research

Served on the Annual Meeting Program Committee of International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine from 2016 to 2019

Named a Partners Healthcare Innovation Fellow, 2018