Manojkumar Saranathan, PhD

Associate Professor, Medical Imaging - (Research Scholar Track)
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Associate Professor, Neurosurgery

I am an MRI physicist with over twenty-five years of experience in MR physics, pulse sequence development, image reconstruction, and image processing. My current research interests are focused on ultra high-resolution imaging and segmentation of deep brain structures like thalamus and hippocampus and the specificity of their involvement in pathology such as alcoholism, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and essential tremor. Another area is high spatio-temporal resolution dynamic contrast enhanced MRI for quantification of physiologic function and cancer. 

I originally developed MRI techniques tailored to leverage the unique strengths of a 7T MRI scanner, specifically for imaging the thalamus, and have been translating it to 3T MRI. Prior to moving to the University of Arizona, my work at Stanford and SRI International involved the development of novel techniques for dynamic contrast enhanced imaging, ultra-high field (7T) imaging, pediatric imaging and imaging deep brain structures.

I was recently named a Research Affiliate for the Arizona Center of Aging at the University of Arizona.



  • PhD: University of Washington, Bioengineering, Seattle - 2001
  • MS: University of Washington, Bioengineering, Seattle - 1996

Select Publications


Karellas, A., A. RJ, C. MF, E. J, J. CE, S. M, S. P, and V. S, Continuous Professional Improvement (CPI) Physics in Imaging Special Edition Module: American College of Radiology (ACR) , 2022.


Bernstein, A. S., S. Z. Rapcsak, M. Hornberger, and M. Saranathan, "Structural Changes in Thalamic Nuclei Across Prodromal and Clinical Alzheimer's Disease.", J Alzheimers Dis, vol. 82, issue 1, pp. 361-371, 2021. PMID: 34024824


Gravbrot, N., M. Saranathan, N. Pouratian, and W. S. Kasoff, "Advanced Imaging and Direct Targeting of the Motor Thalamus and Dentato-Rubro-Thalamic Tract for Tremor: A Systematic Review.", Stereotact Funct Neurosurg, vol. 98, issue 4, pp. 220-240, 2020.
C, I., M. M, C. J, T. T, and S. M, "A  systematic comparison of structural-, structural connectivity-, and  functional connectivity-based thalamus parcellation techniques", Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 2020.
Gravbrot, N., M. Saranathan, L. M. Nagae, J. Becker, and W. S. Kasoff, "Safety Profile of Infinity Deep Brain Stimulation Electrode Placement in a 1.5T Interventional MRI Suite: Consecutive Single-Institution Case Series.", AJNR Am J Neuroradiol, 2020 Oct 01.
MS, M., K. MB, R. BK, Z. NM, R. JJ, and S. M, "Automated Thalamic Nuclei Segmentation Using Multi-Planar Cascaded Convolutional Neural Networks", Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 2020.
Seckeler, M. D., L. Moedano, D. Mustacich, B. T. Kalb, M. Saranathan, J-P. Galons, and M. H. Witte, "Non-contrast MR lymphography of rare lymphatic abnormalities.", Lymphology, vol. 53, issue 3, pp. 136-140, 2020. PMID: 33350287
Planche, V., J. H. Su, S. Mournet, M. Saranathan, V. Dousset, M. Han, B. K. Rutt, and T. Tourdias, "White-matter-nulled MPRAGE at 7T reveals thalamic lesions and atrophy of specific thalamic nuclei in multiple sclerosis.", Mult Scler, vol. 26, issue 8, pp. 987-992, 2020 07. PMCID: PMC6685761  PMID: 30730233
Datta, R., M. K. Bacchus, D. Kumar, M. A. Elliott, A. Rao, S. Dolui, R. Reddy, B. L. Banwell, and M. Saranathan, "Fast automatic segmentation of thalamic nuclei from MP2RAGE acquisition at 7 Tesla.", Magn Reson Med, 2020 Dec 03. PMID: 33270943
Iglehart, C., M. Monti, J. Cain, T. Tourdias, and M. Saranathan, "A systematic comparison of structural-, structural connectivity-, and functional connectivity-based thalamus parcellation techniques.", Brain Struct Funct, vol. 225, issue 5, pp. 1631-1642, 2020 Jun.
Su, J. H., E. Young Choi, T. Tourdias, M. Saranathan, C. H. Halpern, J. M. Henderson, K. Butts Pauly, P. Ghanouni, and B. K. Rutt, "Improved Vim targeting for focused ultrasound ablation treatment of essential tremor: A probabilistic and patient-specific approach.", Hum Brain Mapp, vol. 41, issue 17, pp. 4769-4788, 2020 Dec. PMCID: PMC7643361  PMID: 32762005
Zahr, N. M., E. V. Sullivan, K. M. Pohl, A. Pfefferbaum, and M. Saranathan, "Sensitivity of ventrolateral posterior thalamic nucleus to back pain in alcoholism and CD4 nadir in HIV.", Hum Brain Mapp, vol. 41, issue 5, pp. 1351-1361, 2020 Apr 01. PMCID: PMC7268080  PMID: 31785046
N, G., S. M, P. N, and K. WS, Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, 2020.
Majdi, M. S., M. B. Keerthivasan, B. K. Rutt, N. M. Zahr, J. J. Rodriguez, and M. Saranathan, "Automated thalamic nuclei segmentation using multi-planar cascaded convolutional neural networks.", Magn Reson Imaging, vol. 73, pp. 45-54, 2020 11. PMCID: PMC7530079  PMID: 32828985


Zahr, N. M., K. M. Pohl, M. Saranathan, E. V. Sullivan, and A. Pfefferbaum, "Hippocampal subfield CA2+3 exhibits accelerated aging in Alcohol Use Disorder: A preliminary study.", Neuroimage Clin, vol. 22, pp. 101764, 2019. PMCID: PMC6434095  PMID: 30904825
Bisla, J. K., M. Saranathan, D. R. Martin, H. Arif-Tiwari, and B. T. Kalb, "MR Imaging Evaluation of the Kidneys in Patients with Reduced Kidney Function: Noncontrast Techniques Versus Contrast-Enhanced Techniques.", Magn Reson Imaging Clin N Am, vol. 27, issue 1, pp. 45-57, 2019 Feb.
Su, J. H., F. T. Thomas, W. S. Kasoff, T. Tourdias, E. Young Choi, B. K. Rutt, and M. Saranathan, "Thalamus Optimized Multi Atlas Segmentation (THOMAS): fast, fully automated segmentation of thalamic nuclei from structural MRI.", Neuroimage, vol. 194, pp. 272-282, 2019 07 01. PMCID: PMC6536348  PMID: 30894331


Keerthivasan, M. B., B. Winegar, J. L. Becker, A. Bilgin, M. I. Altbach, and M. Saranathan, "Clinical Utility of a Novel Ultrafast T2-Weighted Sequence for Spine Imaging.", AJNR Am J Neuroradiol, vol. 39, issue 8, pp. 1568-1575, 2018 08. PMCID: PMC7410539 
Keerthivasan, MB., B. Winegar, JL. Becker, A. Bilgin, M. Altbach, and M. Saranathan, Clinical Utility of a Novel Ultrafast T2-Weighted Sequence for Spine Imaging, 2018.


Pandey, A., U. Yoruk, M. Keerthivasan, J-P. Galons, P. Sharma, K. Johnson, D. R. Martin, M. I. Altbach, A. Bilgin, and M. Saranathan, "Multiresolution imaging using golden angle stack-of-stars and compressed sensing for dynamic MR urography.", J Magn Reson Imaging, vol. 46, issue 1, pp. 303-311, 2017 Jul.
Loening, A. M., D. V. Litwiller, M. Saranathan, and S. S. Vasanawala, "Increased Speed and Image Quality for Pelvic Single-Shot Fast Spin-Echo Imaging with Variable Refocusing Flip Angles and Full-Fourier Acquisition.", Radiology, vol. 282, issue 2, pp. 561-568, 2017 Feb. PMCID: PMC5283873  PMID: 27564132
Saranathan, M., P. W. Worters, D. W. Rettmann, B. Winegar, and J. Becker, "Physics for clinicians: Fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) and double inversion recovery (DIR) Imaging.", J Magn Reson Imaging, 2017 Apr 17.
Levine, E., B. Daniel, S. Vasanawala, B. Hargreaves, and M. Saranathan, "3D Cartesian MRI with compressed sensing and variable view sharing using complementary poisson-disc sampling.", Magn Reson Med, vol. 77, issue 5, pp. 1774-1785, 2017 May. PMCID: PMC5074926 


Hope, T. A., I. Petkovska, M. Saranathan, B. A. Hargreaves, and S. S. Vasanawala, "Combined parenchymal and vascular imaging: High spatiotemporal resolution arterial evaluation of hepatocellular carcinoma.", J Magn Reson Imaging, vol. 43, issue 4, pp. 859-65, 2016 Apr.


Saranathan, M., D. W. Rettmann, B. A. Hargreaves, J. A. Lipson, and B. L. Daniel, "Variable spatiotemporal resolution three-dimensional Dixon sequence for rapid dynamic contrast-enhanced breast MRI.", J Magn Reson Imaging, vol. 40, issue 6, pp. 1392-9, 2014 Dec. PMCID: PMC4019731  PMID: 24227703
Tourdias, T., M. Saranathan, I. R. Levesque, J. Su, and B. K. Rutt, "Visualization of intra-thalamic nuclei with optimized white-matter-nulled MPRAGE at 7T.", Neuroimage, vol. 84, pp. 534-45, 2014 Jan 01. PMCID: PMC3927795  PMID: 24018302