MDC Lab Coats

Thoralf Niendorf


Objectives & Background

Our group is part of the Berlin Ultrahigh-Field MR Facility at the Max-Delbrueck-Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), Berlin, Germany. The group’s research concentrates on the development of MR-methodology and MR technology with a focus on new ways of mapping and probing morphology, function, physiology and metabolism together with explorations of the benefits and challenges of ultrahigh-field imaging to advance cardiovascular, neurovascular, molecular and other MRI applications. These efforts are designed to spatially resolve and characterize (patho)physiological processes and biophysical mechanisms to promote a transfer from basic research to (pre)clinical studies and vice versa. However, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and imaging speed have become an increasingly stringent limit in new MRI applications. Promising in this regard is the increase in magnetic field strengths available.  Hence our group is very pleased to make access to state-of-the-art MR instruments dedicated to research available including access to a family of a multiple transmit 7.0 Tesla, a 3.0 Tesla and a 1.5 T whole body system (in collaboration with the Helios Clinic, Berlin), all equipped with 32 receive channel, and a 9.4 T animal MR system (Bruker Biospin). Acces to high-resolution vertical bore NMR spectrometer (300 MHz, 400 MHz, 600 and 900 MHz, in collaboration with the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology) is also available.

Education & Professional experience

Director | Ultrahigh Field NMR facility MDC, Berlin

Professor for Experimental Ultrahigh Field Magnetic Resonance, Charité, Berlin

2004-2009 Full professorship for Experimental Magnetic Resonance Imaging, RWTH Aachen University

2007 Appointment for a Full Professorship and Full Chair in Neuroimaging, Twente University, Netherlands

2004 Appointment for a Full Professorship in Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging, University of Ulm, Germany

2002 - 2004 Senior Scientist, Global Applied Science Laboratory, General Electric Healthcare Technologies, Waukesha, WI, USA and visiting scientist Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

2001 - 2002 Cardio- and Neurovascular MR Program Manager Europe General Electric Medical Systems (GEMS), Buc, France

2002 Appointment for a Full Professorship in Medical Physics, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

1998 - 2001 Advanced Applications Scientist for Cardio- and Neurovascular MR Imaging

General Electric Medical Systems (GEMS) Europe

1995 - 1998 Research Fellow, Max-Planck Institute Cognitive Neuroscience, Leipzig, Germany

1992 - 1995 Ph.D. Student in Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Department of Chemistry and Biology, University of Bremen, Germany

1990 - 1992 Student in Physics, Institute of Biophysics, University of Bremen, Germany

1986 - 1990 Student in Physics, University of Leipzig, Germany


5 selected

M. Becker, T. Frauenrath, F. Hezel, G.A. Krombach, U. Kremer, B. Koppers, C.  Butenweg, A. Goemmel, J.F. Utting, J. Schulz-Menger, T. Niendorf Comparison of left ventricular function assessment using phonocardiogram- and  electrocardiogram-triggered 2D SSFP CINE MR imaging at 1.5 T and 3.0 T. Eur Radiol. . [Epub ahead of print]

T. Frauenrath, F. Hezel, U. Heinrichs, S. Kozerke, J. F. Utting, M. Kob, C.  Butenweg, P.  Boesiger, T. Niendorf Feasibility of Cardiac Gating Free of Interference with Electro-Magnetic Fields at 1.5 Tesla, 3.0 Tesla and 7.0 Tesla Using an MR-Stethoscope

Invest. Radiol., 44:539-47 (2009)

J.F. Utting, S. Kozerke, R. Luechinger, R. Schnitker, R. Vohn, T. Niendorf Feasibility of k-t BLAST for BOLD fMRI with a Spin-Echo Based Acquisition at 3.0 T  and  7.0 T   Invest. Radiol., 44:495-502 (2009)

U. Heinrichs, J. F. Utting, T. Frauenrath, F. Hezel, G. A. Krombach,  M. A. J.  Hodenius,  S. Kozerke, T. Niendorf Myocardial T2* Mapping Free of Distortion Using Susceptibility Weighted Fast  Spin-Echo Imaging: A Feasibility Study at 1.5 T and 3.0 T Magn. Reson. Med., 62:822-828 (2009)

T. Niendorf, D.K. Sodickson Highly Accelerated Cardiovascular MRI: Concepts and Clinical Applications Eur Radiol., 18:87-102 (2008)


  • Lectures and Tutorials on Physics of Medical Imaging within the international Master course on Biomedical Engineering and Biomedical Imaging (Faculty of Medicine, RWTH Aachen).
  • Author of a text book on clinical cardiovascular MR imaging. ISBN 3-437-24040-4
  • Invited speaker at the Gold Corporate Member Lunchtime Symposia at the 14th Scientific Meeting and Exhibition of the ISMRM, Seattle, USA.
  • Teaching Grant to conduct symposia on career opportunities for master and Ph.D. students involved in Biomedical Engineering and Biomedical Imaging (RWTH Aachen, Germany).
  • Supervision of interships, master thesis, MD student and PhD student projects.
  • Author of a self-assessment program on cardiovascular MRI as part of an education initiative of the American College of Cardiology. This CD-based course is approved by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).


Honors & Awards

• 1. Prize for transfer of research knowledge into clinical applications (Medical Society, Aachen, 2007)

• 3. Prize Business plan contest on Medical Engineering/Medical Economics (Startbahn-Ruhr, Essen, 2007)

Editorial Board

Diagnostic Imaging Europe

Patent Applications

•  T. Niendorf, T. Frauenrath, M. Kob

Acoustic Method for Synchronization of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Patent application 10 2006 061 784.3, German Patent Office (2006)

•   T. Niendorf, U. Heinrichs

Method for Susceptibility Weighted, Distortion Free Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Cardiovascular System. Patent DE 10 2007 045 172.7 (2008)

• T. Niendorf, F. Hezel

Method for Automatic Motion Analysis and Quality Assurance in Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Patent application 10 2009 011 382.7 (2009)