Dr Jiabao He

Dr Jiabao He
Dr Jiabao He

Dr Jiabao He


Senior Lecturer


Institute of Medical Sciences,

School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition,


Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD


Dr Jiabao He is a magnetic resonance (MR) physicist with a strong focus on the enhancement and application of advanced MR methodologies for clinical purposes. He is developing the Cancer Imaging Group (CIG), with a focus on women's health.

Jiabao received a BSc in physics from Fudan University, Shanghai, China in 1999, after completing a four year degree within three years. He subsequently conducted his PhD study with Prof Peter Morris (CBE) at the Sir Peter Mansfield MR Centre in Nottingham on the combination of functional MR imaging (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG). Despite serious health issues resulting in the loss of a significant portion of eyesight, he completed his PhD successfully. He moved to Sheffield in 2003 to work as a postdoctoral research associate with Dr Nikos Papadakis and Prof John Mayhew to develop a novel fMRI modality based on neuronal cell swelling in the preclinical environment. During this time, he gained extensive expertise in sequence programming, arterial spin labelling (ASL) for cerebral perfusion measurement and advanced diffusion MRI methods. In 2006, he moved to Newcastle MR Centre to work as a postdoctoral research fellow with Prof Andrew Blamire. He developed ASL, 3D chemical shift imaging (CSI) and multiparametric MRI in conjunction with Valsalva manoeuvre, as well as applying these techniques in hypertension, traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), dementia and depression patients and healthy ageing populations. In 2013, Jiabao took the lectureship position offered by the University of Aberdeen.

The long-term mission of Jiabao’s group is to relieve human suffering through rapid translation of advanced methodologies into clinical care.


External Memberships

Member of International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM)

Member of British Chapter of ISMRM (BCISMRM)


Research Overview

Jiabao's research interests focus on the development and application of advanced magnetic resonance methods in clinical research. The emphasis is on quantitative and novel contrast techniques revealing essential physiological parameters, with a clear potential in clinical applications.

The research programme has three core areas: (1) vascular function, (2) tissue microstructure and (3) metabolic function.

  1. Vascular function. Jiabao has a long standing track record in the development and application of MR perfusion methodologies in a range of research settings. The flagship methodology of arterial spin labelling (ASL) is a high precision MR technique for the measurement of cerebral blood flow (CBF). The fact that the signal level of ASL is only about 1-2% of conventional imaging signal, imposes a demand of high level of expertise and experience.
  2. Tissue microstructure. Similar to ASL, diffusion MRI is one of the most advanced branches in MRI, with established methods in diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). However, these methods only provide an indicator of microstructure rather than absolute quantification. Jiabao has applied these methods in clinical population, as well as investigating more advanced tools such as q-space imaging for direct tissue microstructure quantification.
  3. Metabolic function. Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) is a valuable tool in assessing tissue chemical composition and metabolic function. Chemical Shift Imaging (CSI) is a three dimensional version of MRS, allowing spatially resolved chemical detection. Jiabao has experience in 1H and 31P MRS and CSI.

The aim of the methodology development program is to integrate vascular function, tissue microstructure and metabolic function techniques to reveal physiology and pathophysiology via a system medicine approach. 


Research Areas

Biomedical Sciences

Research Specialisms

  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Therapeutic Imaging
  • 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

Jiabao's current research focuses on breast cancer imaging to support the area of research excellence of women’s health in Aberdeen. The research programme is underpinned by highly sought after specialist MR methodology only deliverable by handful of centres worldwide.  In this sense, the philosophy, governing investment planning, is to focus on a small number of areas to the level of world class standard.

This research programme is supported by harmonisation between flexibility in methodology innovation and rigidity in clinical studies. The Cancer Imaging Group (CIG) has already demonstrated the ability of identifying critical clinical questions, developing novel MR methodologies, source research funding, organising clinical trials and publication of research findings.


Knowledge Exchange

We regularly support the educational programme at the Breast Unit of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, and public events hosted by our local charity partner Friends of ANCHOR. We have strong working relationship with our industrial partner Philips Healthcare, and regularly provide expert feedback on products and services.


The Cancer Imaging Group (CIG) takes great pride in quality standards and guarantees the data quality produced by the group. The CIG operates on a merit based system, with a culture of openness, fairness and respect of private ownership. The group is constantly seeking collaborators with a long term research focus and mission.


Methodology portfolio

  • Prof David Lurie (Head of Fast Field Cycling Laboratory, University of Aberdeen)
  • Prof Andrew Blamire (Director of Centre for In Vivo Imaging/Dean of Research, Newcastle University)
  • Dr Matthew Clemence (Senior Clinical Scientist, Philips Healthcare)
  • Dr Bernard Siow (Head of MR Facility, Francis Crick Institute)
  • Dr Andrew Starkey (Computer Scientist, University of Aberdeen)


Oncology portfolio

  • Prof Steve Heys (Consultant Breast Surgeon, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary)
  • Prof Zosia Miedzybrodzka (Professor in medical Genetics, University of Aberdeen)
  • Prof Valerie Speirs (Chair in Molecular Medicine, University of Aberdeen)
  • Dr Yazan Masannat (Consultant Breast Surgeon, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary)
  • Dr Ehab Husain (Consultant Pathologist, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary)
  • Dr Tanja Gagliardi (Consultant Radiologist, Royal Marsden)
  • Dr Ravi Sharma (Consultant Oncologist, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary)
  • Dr Trevor McGoldrick (Consultant Oncologist, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary)


Chronic disease portfolio

  • Dr Neil Basu (Reumatologist, University of Glasgow)
  • Dr Stuart Gray (Sports Scientist, University of Glasgow)
  • Prof Julia Newton (Consultant Old Age Specialist, Newcastle University)
  • Prof John O’Brien (Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist, Cambridge University)
  • Prof Gary Ford (CBE, Consultant Cardiologist, Oxford University)
  • Prof Hugh Marques (Consultant Stroke Specialist, Cambridge University)


Jiabao currently is the primary supervisor of one Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and one PhD student. In the past 3 years, we have 3 PhD students successfully completing their PhD, each achieving multiple journal publications. In addition, we have supervised 7 MSc students for their research projects, with 5 receiving distinction and 2 receiving commodation.

We are privileged to work with these energetic young scientists, with a common mission to make real difference to the progression of the human race. The high requirement imposed by a methodology group operating in clinical domain is a perfect foundry for future scientific leader. We are also grateful to the funders, including BBSRC, Cancer Research UK, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, Tenovus Scotland, Roland Sutton Academic Trust, Elphinstone scholarship for financially supporting these endeavours.

We are seeking highly motivated and ambitious individuals to join us. We particularly value personal qualities of self determination and self reliance. 

Team members:

Gabriel Cheung, Post-doctoral Research Felow

Kangwa Nkonde, first year PhD student

Nicholas Senn, independent researcher (Former PhD student)

Kwok-Shing Chan, independent researcher (Former MSc student)

Vasiliki Mallikourti, independent researcher (Former PhD student)


Funding and Grants

Principal Investigator Grants* 

[1] 2021, Friends of ANCHOR. J. He, Z. Miedzybrodzka, Y. Masannat, S. M. Cheung. £13,860

[2] 2021, Commonwealth Scholarship CommissionJ. He. £78,120

[3] 2020, Scottish Funding Council. J. He, Z. Miedzybrodzka, Y. Masannat. £35,764

[4] 2019, Cancer Research UKJ. He, Z. Miedzybrodzka, Y. Masannat, T. Gagliardi. £72,085

[5] 2018, NHS Grampian EndowmentsJ. He, T. Gagliardi, Y. Masannat, E. Husain, R. Sharma. £11,936

[6] 2018, Roland Sutton Academic TrustJ. He. £8,409

[7] 2017, Friends of ANCHORJ. He, T. Gagliardi, R. Sharma, Y. Masannat, E. Husain. £9,744

[8] 2017, NHS Grampian Endowments. J. He, T. Gagliardi, R. Sharma, E. Husain, Y. Masannat. £11,501

[9] 2017, Tenovus Scotland. J. He, T. Gagliardi, R. Sharma, E. Husain, Y. Masannat. £12,064

[10] 2016, Friends of ANCHORJ. He, K. Wahle, Y. Masannat, E. Husain. £9,604

[11] 2016, Princess Royal Tenovus Scotland Medical Research ScotlandJ. He, K. Wahle, Y. Masannat, E. Husain. £80,000

[12] 2016, Roland Sutton Academic TrustJ. He. £29,203

[13] 2015, NHS Grampian EndowmentsJ. He, S. D. Heys, E. Husain, B. Siow. £11,802

[14] 2015, Friends of ANCHORJ. He, S. D. Heys, E. Husain. £8,920

[15] 2015, BBSRC EastBioJ. He. £80,000

[16] 2015, Roland Sutton Academic TrustJ. He. £7,863


Co-Investigator Grants

[17] 2015, NHS Grampian Endowments. D. Dawson, J. He, T. Ahearn. £10,440

[18] 2015, LUPUS UK. N. Basu, L. P. Erwig, J. He, G. D. Waiter, S. R. Gray. £35,052

[19] 2014, NHS Grampian Endowments. P. Myint, S. R. Gray and J. He. £11,936



Teaching Responsibilities

MBChB Year 4 Student Selected Component (SSC) course coordinator

  • Transition from exam driven learning to self motivated career focused learning
  • Development of leadership quality, team work and workplace skills
  • Development of critical thinking and the ability of giving and receiving critique


MSc in Biomedical Physics, MRI deep study

  • Lecture 1: Image Contrast and Sequence Parameters
  • Lecture 2: Flow Imaging and MR Angiography
  • Research Project Supervision



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