John M. Pauly

Reid Weaver Dennis Professor of Engineering


My interests are in medical imaging, and particularly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). I am Co-Director of the Magnetic Resonance Systems Research Laboratory, which is focused on MRI systems engineering. We have a number of active projects:

  • Wireless, flexible, receive arrays for MRI systems
    Current MRI receive arrays are bulky, often inflexible, and have large cables. These can be uncomfortable and awkward, resulting in patient motion and failed studies. We are working on a new generation very flexible receive arrays that are complete wireless and printed on fabric. This will be much more comfortable, particularly for pediatric patients who are often challenging to image successfully. This is a joint project with Shreyas Vasanawala in Stanford Radiology, Miki Lustig and Ana Claudia Arias from UC Berkeley EECS, and GE Medical Systems.

  • Safety of implanted devices in MRI
    There are an increasing number of patients with implanted devices, such as pacemakers and deep brain stimulators. Typically these patients are excluded from MRI, due to the potential for RF heating of the devices, and the resulting tissue burns. We are developing methods for detecting and quantifying dangerous interactions, and then modifying the RF transmit field to eliminate the interactions by using an array of programmable transmit channels.

  • MR guided interventional proceedures
    Our lab has a long history of work in real-time MRI, and MRI systems instrumentation. One of the most promising applications of these is minimally invasive image guided interventions. Our current work focusses on MRI guided RF ablations, where MRI provides visualization of the anatomy and pathology, device tracking, as well as monitoring the intervention through images of the MRI parameter changes, temperature, and RF current density.

  • Collaborations
    We have a number of collaborations. One is a collaboration with the Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging (CNI) on the development of SSFP fMRI methods, as well as the application of simultaneous multislice techniques for a broad range of neuroimaging applications. Another collaboration is with the Hyperpolarized MRI Technology Resource Center at UCSF in the development of MR spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) techniques for hyperpolarized 13C.

  • Center for Advanced MR Imaging at Stanford (CAMRT)
    Our lab has support from the NIH as a Research Resource (P41) to distribute technology that has been developed under other NIH support. The emphasis is on RF pulses, pulse sequence design tools, and image reconstruction tools. See the CAMRT web site for more information.

I also work on a many projects with my wife Kim Butts Pauly. Her interests are in High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU), and its use in completely non-invasive surgical procedures using MRI for image guidance. She is also interested in the use of HIFU for neurostimulation.


The classes I have recently taught are listed on the left.

Other Interests

I am interested in amateur radio, as this is a great way to learn about many aspects of electrical engineering. We run classes to help you get your FCC license(s), and offer the FCC exams here on campus.