Dr James Ross

Dr James Ross
Dr James Ross
Dr James Ross

PhD, CPhys, MInstP, MIPEM


Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 437832
Office Address
B1 Medical Physics Building
Foresterhill Campus
AB25 2ZD

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School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition


Dr Ross graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2009 with an MPhys(Hons) in Theoretical Physics. He then completed an MSc in Medical Physics at Aberdeen University in 2011 before completing a PhD in Medical Physics under the supervision of Professor David Lurie.

He joined Prof Lurie's team as a Research Assistant in 2015 on the EPSRC funded "Zero-Field MRI" project. He was appointed Research Fellow in 2016 on the EU Horizon-2020 funded "IDentIFY" project where he worked on developing Field-Cycling Imaging (FCI) techniques for biomedical and clinical applications.

He was appointed Lecturer in 2020 and started working with Professor Dana Dawson on the development of 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy techniques for non-invasively probing cardiac energetics at 3T while continuing to lead pulse sequence development for the new 3rd generation FCI scanner commissioned in ARI in 2023/24.


  • MPhys Theoretical Physics 
    2009 - University of St Andrews 
  • MSc Medical Physics 
    2011 - University of Aberdeen 
  • PhD Medical Physics 
    2016 - University of Aberdeen 

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

2020-: Member of the School Ethics Review Board

2023-: Vice-Chair of the School Ethics Review Board

External Memberships

2021 - : European Journal of Medical Physics: Young Editorial Board Member

2021 - : Medical Physics Special Interest group of the Institute of Physics: Committee Member

2023 - : British Institute of Radiology MRI Safety Group: Institute of Physics representative


Research Overview

Dr Ross’s main research interests are in novel MRI hardware and pulse sequences. He is currently a member of the Field-Cycling Imaging (FCI) research group where he leads the development of new imaging sequences designed to extract in-vivo T1 dispersion information while still maintaining acceptable scan durations. To date his sequences have been used to achieve quantitative Field-Cycling Imaging in the brain, breast, knee and heart.

More recently he has joined the cardiology team led by Professor Dana Dawson where he is leading the development of 1H and 31P cardiac spectroscopy techniques at 3T aimed at revealing new information about poorly understood conditions like takotsubo cardiomyopathy.

Dr Ross also has an interest in exploring new MR relaxation mechanisms – in particular T1rho which allows low-field phenomena similar to T1 dispersion to be probed using high field scanners and could yield unique image contrast which is distinct from that seen in traditional high-field T1 and T2 imaging. As Aberdeen is one of the only sites in the world to have access to both a clinical 3T scanner as well as a research FCI scanner able to access ultra-low magnetic fields, this represents a unique research opportunity to investigate the entire spectrum of MR relaxation.


Research Areas

Applied Health Sciences




Research Specialisms

  • Medical Physics

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

I am currently working on the development of phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy (31P-MRS) techniques in the heart at 3T. Unlike conventional 1H techniques, 31P MRS allows the direct detection of metabolites involved in energy metabolism (for example PCr and ATP) which could make it a valuable tool in characterising conditions where there is impaired cardiac function.

Owing to the comparatively lower concentrations of phosphorus in-vivo, the lower gyromagnetic ratio and the added complications of respiratory and cardiac motion, cardiac 31P-MRS is a particuarly challenging technique which requires particular care in the choice of pulse sequence and acquisition parameters.

Knowledge Exchange

I reguarly take part in public engagement events aimed at explaining concepts in medical physics and electromagnetism to the wider community. Some past events include:

2023: Cafe Scientifique; as part of the British and Irish Chapter of ISMRM meeting hosted by Aberdeen in 2023, I and Mathieu Sarracanie led a Cafe Scientifique which celebrated the history of MRI development at Aberdeen and discussed how we are building on that legacy with our current research developing low field and field-cycling MRI.

2019: Cell Block Science - an initiative started by St Andrews University aimed at educating inmates at prisons on ongoing research at local universities. In this event Prof David Lurie and I spent the day at HMP Grampian where we talked about the history of magnetic resonance imaging development at Aberdeen and demonstrated some of the fundamental physics that makes MRI possible.

Dr James Ross demonstrating electromagnetic induction at HMP Grampian

2016, 2018, 2019, 2022, 2023: Doors Open Day is an event where usually closed buildings in Aberdeen are open to the public. This gives us an opportunity to show off what goes on in our labs at Aberdeen University. For the past few years I have given tours of the FCI labs to the public and hosted stalls in the IMS to talk about my research.

2019: I presented our work on FCI at the Scottish Parliament as part of the European Researcher's Night "Explorathon" event.

2018: I gave a public lecture on the history of MRI for MENSA Scotland.


My current supervision areas are: Applied Health Sciences, Physics.



Funding and Grants

Vs Arthritis: PrIOritising early detection of KNEE osteoaRthritis – PIOKNEER; De Bari et al: £1.3M

British Heart Foundation: The Next Leap in Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Cycling the Field; D Dawson, D Lurie, L Broche, J Ross, H Abbas: , 2020-2023, £278k

SINAPSE Innovation Partnership: Towards a Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Protocol for Fast Field-Cycling MRI; J Ross, D Dawson, D Lurie, A Mezincescu: 2020-2021, £10k

Northwood Trust PhD Scholarship: Detecting Cardiac Fibrosis using T1 rho Magnetic Resonance Imaging; J Ross, D Dawson: 2022-2026, £70k



Teaching Responsibilities

I lecture on the physics of MRI for the M.Sc courses in Medical Physics and Medical Imaging. I also supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertation projects in MRI.


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