Terry O. Matsunaga, PhD

Professor, Medical Imaging - (Research Scholar Track)
Adjunct Professor Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Matsunaga came to our department in 2007 after 16 years in the private sector where he was a primary developer of lipid-coated microbubbles that have been approved by the FDA and sold under the brand name Definity®. In addition, Dr. Matsunaga focused his attention upon the use of ultrasound-mediated bubble cavitation for dispersing of clots (Sonothrombolysis™). Currently, his efforts focus upon targeted microbubbles for cancer imaging as well as drug and gene delivery. His most recent efforts revolve around phase-change contrast agents for tumor detection and extravascular applications. Dr. Matsunaga received his AB degree in Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, followed by a Pharm.D in Clinical Pharmacy at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Following a year of clinical training as a resident at the University of Michigan, he returned to UCSF where he received his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry under the mentorship of George L. Kenyon. From 1986 - 1992, he was a NIDA post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Victor J. Hruby. Since 2010, he has chaired the Steering Committee for the NHLBI SMARTT (Science Moving Towards Research Translation and Therapy) Program.

Research Interests: 

Ultrasound, microbubbles, contrast agents.

  • PhD: University of California at San Francisco (1987)
  • Other: Pharm D: University of California at San Francisco - San Francisco, 1980
  • University of Michigan (1981): Clinical Pharmacy Residency
  • University of Arizona Dept. of Chemistry, NIDA post-doctoral fellowship, 1988-1990
  • University of Arizona Dept. of Chemistry, Post doctoral Scholar, 1987-1988/1990-1992

Select Publications


Valdez, M. A., E. Fernandez, T. Matsunaga, R. P. Erickson, and T. P. Trouard, "Distribution and Diffusion of Macromolecule Delivery to the Brain via Focused Ultrasound using Magnetic Resonance and Multispectral Fluorescence Imaging.", Ultrasound Med Biol, vol. 46, issue 1, pp. 122-136, 2020 Jan. PMCID: PMC6937597  PMID: 31585767


Cromey, B., A. McDaniel, T. Matsunaga, J. Vagner, K. Kieu, and B. Banjeree, Pancreatic Cancer Cell Detection by Targeted Lipid Microbubbles and Multiphoton Imaging, 2018.
Weinkauf, C. C., K. Concha-Moore, J. R. Lindner, E. R. Marinelli, K. P. Hadinger, S. Bhattacharjee, S. S. Berman, K. Goshima, L. R. Leon, T. O. Matsunaga, et al., "Endothelial vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 is a marker for high-risk carotid plaques and target for ultrasound molecular imaging.", J Vasc Surg, vol. 68, issue 6S, pp. 105S-113S, 2018 12. PMCID: PMC6089675  PMID: 29452833
Hadinger, K. P., J. P. Marshalek, P. S. Sheeran, P. A. Dayton, and T. O. Matsunaga, "Optimization of Phase-Change Contrast Agents for Targeting MDA-MB-231 Breast Cancer Cells.", Ultrasound Med Biol, vol. 44, issue 12, pp. 2728-2738, 2018 Dec. PMCID: PMC6215505  PMID: 30228045
Cromey, B., A. McDaniel, T. Matsunaga, J. Vagner, K. Quoc Kieu, and B. Banerjee, "Pancreatic cancer cell detection by targeted lipid microbubbles and multiphoton imaging.", J Biomed Opt, vol. 23, issue 4, pp. 1-8, 2018 04.


Lin, S., A. Shah, J. Hernández-Gil, A. Stanziola, B. I. Harriss, T. O. Matsunaga, N. Long, J. Bamber, and M-X. Tang, "Optically and acoustically triggerable sub-micron phase-change contrast agents for enhanced photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging.", Photoacoustics, vol. 6, pp. 26-36, 2017 Jun. PMCID: PMC5423321  PMID: 28507898


Marshalek, J. P., P. S. Sheeran, P. Ingram, P. A. Dayton, R. S. Witte, and T. O. Matsunaga, "Intracellular delivery and ultrasonic activation of folate receptor-targeted phase-change contrast agents in breast cancer cells in vitro.", J Control Release, vol. 243, pp. 69-77, 2016 Dec 10. PMCID: PMC5191940  PMID: 27686582
Harpel, K., R. Dawson Baker, B. Amirsolaimani, S. Mehravar, J. Vagner, T. O. Matsunaga, B. Banerjee, and K. Kieu, "Imaging of targeted lipid microbubbles to detect cancer cells using third harmonic generation microscopy.", Biomed Opt Express, vol. 7, issue 7, pp. 2849-60, 2016 Jul 01. PMCID: PMC4948635 


Li, S., S. Lin, Y. Cheng, T. O. Matsunaga, R. J. Eckersley, and M-X. Tang, "Quantifying activation of perfluorocarbon-based phase-change contrast agents using simultaneous acoustic and optical observation.", Ultrasound Med Biol, vol. 41, issue 5, pp. 1422-31, 2015 May. PMID: 25656747


Sheeran, P. S., S. Luois, P. A. Dayton, and T. O. Matsunaga, "Formulation and acoustic studies of a new phase-shift agent for diagnostic and therapeutic ultrasound.", Langmuir, vol. 27, issue 17, pp. 10412-20, 2011 Sep 06. PMCID: PMC3164903  PMID: 21744860