Robert Bok, MD, PhD

Robert Bok, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology, UCSF

Phone: (415) 353-9410 (voice)
Box 2520, UCSF
San Francisco, CA 94143-2520

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Cancer Center Membership

Associate Member » Prostate Cancer

Research Summary

Robert Bok, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and the Hyperpolarized MRI Technology Resource Center at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Bok obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois in 1984, and he earned his MD in Medicine from The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore in 1989. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis in 1992, followed by a fellowship in Hematology-Oncology from UCSF in 1996.

At the UCSF Mission Bay Surbeck Laboratory, Dr. Bok provides physician coverage for research on MRI/MRSI scans performed on patients. Dr. Bok’s research activities focuses on the development of better molecular imaging methods for detecting and monitoring prostate cancer. His primary interest is on the use of pre-clinical animal models to improve recent advances in MRSI for prostate cancer. This includes hyperpolarized carbon-13 techniques, high-resolution magic angle spectroscopy, and the use of novel nanoparticles. Dr. Bok and his colleagues are also investigating the use of hyperpolarized 13C-pryuvate in a transgenic mouse model for prostate cancer known as Transgenic Adenocarcinoma of Mouse Prostate (TRAMP).

Dr. Bok is a current member of the American Association of Cancer Research, the Cancer and Leukemia Group B, the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Association of North California Oncologists, and the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. He has 49 published articles and he has written 53 peer-reviewed articles and 62 abstracts.




Prostate cancer, TRAMP, nanoparticles

Professional Interests:

Prostate cancer, urologic oncology, molecular imaging, hyperpolarized carbon-13 spectroscopy, high-resolution magic-angle spin spectroscopy, transgenic cancer models, extracellular proteases, metastases, molecular biomarkers

Education and Training:

• Medical School: The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore - Medicine

• Internship: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis - Internal Medicine

• Residency: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis - Internal Medicine

• Fellowship: University of California, San Francisco - Hematology-Oncology

• Doctor of Philosophy: University of Illinois, Urbana - Biochemistry

• Medical License, State of California

• ABIM, Board Certification in Internal Medicine

• ABIM, Board Certification in Medical Oncology

• ACLS Certification


Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN, B.S., 1980, Biology and Chemistry
University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL, Ph.D., 1984, Biochemistry
John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, M.D., 1989, Medicine
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, Residency, 1992, Internal Medicine
University of California, San Francisco, Fellow, 1996, Hematology-Oncology

Professional Experience

  • 1980-84
    Biochemical studies on the regulation of plasminogen activation by fibrin and lysine-binding sites, University of Illinois, Biochemistry Department. Advisor: Walter Mangel, Ph.D.- As Graduate Student
  • 1984-85
    Studies on the distribution of ubiquitin, a regulator of intracellular proteolysis, in biological systems, St. Jude Children's Research hospital, Memphis, TN. Advisor: Victor Fried, Ph.D. -- as Post-Doc
  • 1985-86
    Summer research project on evaluation of small molecule serine protease inhibitor in cell culture system, Children's Hospital, university of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA Advisor: Walter Laug, M.D. -- as Medical Student
  • 1987
    Research elective studying inhibition of tumor angiogensis by the antibiotic minocycline, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Brain Tumor Lab, Baltimore MD. Advisor: Henry Brem, M.D. -- as Medical Student
  • 1988
    Research elective investigating serum of patients with Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP) for potential anti-endothelial cell auto-antibodies, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Hematology Division, Baltimore, MD. Advisor: William Bell M.D. -- As Medical Student
  • 1990
    Research honors rotation studying the effect of HSB on Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor -- 1 (PAI-1) expression by endothelal Cells, University of Minnesota, Hematology Division, Dept. of Medicine, Minneapolis, MN. Advisor: Greg Vercellotti, M.D. -- As Medical Resident
  • 1992-96
    Isolation and characterization of genomic fragments of the murine beta3 integrin gene for purposes of homologous recombination, Hematology-Oncology Division, Univ. of Calif., San Francisco. Advisor: Marc Shuman, M.D. -- As Hematology-Oncology Fellow
  • 1996-98
    Characterization of integrins in basal cells of prostatic epithelium; Targeting of recombinant proteins to platelet granules via Dodecapeptide sequence, Hem.-Onc. Div., UCSF. Advisor: Marc Shuman, M.D. -- As Visiting Post-Doc
  • 1998-2000
    Clinical Instructor, Urological Oncology Program, UCSF/Mt. Zion Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA. Assistant Clinical Professor appointment pending. Establishment of TRAMP transgenic mouse colony and protease expression analysis in conjunction with the Protease Project Group at UCSF.

Selected Publications

  1. Flavell RR, von Morze C, Blecha JE, Korenchan DE, Van Criekinge M, Sriram R, Gordon JW, Chen HY, Subramaniam S, Bok RA, Wang ZJ, Vigneron DB, Larson PE, Kurhanewicz J, Wilson DM. Application of Good's buffers to pH imaging using hyperpolarized (13)C MRI. Chem Commun (Camb). 2015 Sep 1; 51(74):14119-22.
    View on PubMed
  2. Koelsch BL, Reed GD, Keshari KR, Chaumeil MM, Bok R, Ronen SM, Vigneron DB, Kurhanewicz J, Larson PE. Rapid in vivo apparent diffusion coefficient mapping of hyperpolarized (13) C metabolites. Magn Reson Med. 2015 Sep; 74(3):622-33.
    View on PubMed
  3. Keshari KR, Wilson DM, Sai V, Bok R, Jen KY, Larson P, Van Criekinge M, Kurhanewicz J, Wang ZJ. Noninvasive In Vivo Imaging of Diabetes-Induced Renal Oxidative Stress and Response to Therapy Using Hyperpolarized 13C Dehydroascorbate Magnetic Resonance. Diabetes. 2015 Feb; 64(2):344-52.
    View on PubMed
  4. Tang S, Jiang W, Chen HY, Bok R, Vigneron DB, Larson PE. A 2DRF pulse sequence for bolus tracking in hyperpolarized (13) C imaging. Magn Reson Med. 2015 Aug; 74(2):506-12.
    View on PubMed
  5. von Morze C, Bok RA, Reed GD, Ardenkjaer-Larsen JH, Kurhanewicz J, Vigneron DB. Simultaneous multiagent hyperpolarized (13) C perfusion imaging. Magn Reson Med. 2014 Dec; 72(6):1599-609.
    View on PubMed
  6. Park I, Larson PE, Tropp JL, Carvajal L, Reed G, Bok R, Robb F, Bringas J, Kells A, Pivirotto P, Bankiewicz K, Vigneron DB, Nelson SJ. Dynamic hyperpolarized carbon-13 MR metabolic imaging of nonhuman primate brain. Magn Reson Med. 2014 Jan; 71(1):19-25.
    View on PubMed
  7. Reed GD, von Morze C, Bok R, Koelsch BL, Van Criekinge M, Smith KJ. High resolution (13)C MRI with hyperpolarized urea: in vivo T(2) mapping and (15)N labeling effects. IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2014 Feb; 33(2):362-71.
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  8. Nelson SJ, Kurhanewicz J, Vigneron DB, Larson PE, Harzstark AL, Ferrone M, van Criekinge M, Chang JW, Bok R, Park I, Reed G, Carvajal L, Small EJ, Munster P, Weinberg VK, Ardenkjaer-Larsen JH, Chen AP, Hurd RE, Odegardstuen LI, Robb FJ, Tropp J, Murray JA. Metabolic imaging of patients with prostate cancer using hyperpolarized [1-¹³C]pyruvate. Sci Transl Med. 2013 Aug 14; 5(198):198ra108.
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  9. Swisher CL, Larson PE, Kruttwig K, Kerr AB, Hu S, Bok RA, Goga A, Pauly JM, Nelson SJ, Kurhanewicz J, Vigneron DB. Quantitative measurement of cancer metabolism using stimulated echo hyperpolarized carbon-13 MRS. Magn Reson Med. 2014 Jan; 71(1):1-11.
    View on PubMed
  10. Ohliger MA, Larson PE, Bok RA, Shin P, Hu S, Tropp J, Robb F, Carvajal L, Nelson SJ, Kurhanewicz J, Vigneron DB. Combined parallel and partial fourier MR reconstruction for accelerated 8-channel hyperpolarized carbon-13 in vivo magnetic resonance Spectroscopic imaging (MRSI). J Magn Reson Imaging. 2013 Sep; 38(3):701-13.
    View on PubMed
  11. Larson PE, Hurd RE, Kerr AB, Pauly JM, Bok RA, Kurhanewicz J, Vigneron DB. Perfusion and diffusion sensitive 13C stimulated-echo MRSI for metabolic imaging of cancer. Magn Reson Imaging. 2013 Jun; 31(5):635-42.
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  12. Hu S, Larson PE, Vancriekinge M, Leach AM, Park I, Leon C, Zhou J, Shin PJ, Reed G, Keselman P, von Morze C, Yoshihara H, Bok RA, Nelson SJ, Kurhanewicz J, Vigneron DB. Rapid sequential injections of hyperpolarized [1-¹³C]pyruvate in vivo using a sub-kelvin, multi-sample DNP polarizer. Magn Reson Imaging. 2013 May; 31(4):490-6.
    View on PubMed
  13. von Morze C, Sukumar S, Reed GD, Larson PE, Bok RA, Kurhanewicz J, Vigneron DB. Frequency-specific SSFP for hyperpolarized ¹³C metabolic imaging at 14.1 T. Magn Reson Imaging. 2013 Feb; 31(2):163-70.
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  14. Park I, Hu S, Bok R, Ozawa T, Ito M, Mukherjee J, Phillips JJ, James CD, Pieper RO, Ronen SM, Vigneron DB, Nelson SJ. Evaluation of heterogeneous metabolic profile in an orthotopic human glioblastoma xenograft model using compressed sensing hyperpolarized 3D 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging. Magn Reson Med. 2013 Jul; 70(1):33-9.
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  15. Hu S, Yoshihara HA, Bok R, Zhou J, Zhu M, Kurhanewicz J, Vigneron DB. Use of hyperpolarized [1-13C]pyruvate and [2-13C]pyruvate to probe the effects of the anticancer agent dichloroacetate on mitochondrial metabolism in vivo in the normal rat. Magn Reson Imaging. 2012 Dec; 30(10):1367-72.
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  16. von Morze C, Bok RA, Sands JM, Kurhanewicz J, Vigneron DB. Monitoring urea transport in rat kidney in vivo using hyperpolarized ¹³C magnetic resonance imaging. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2012 Jun 15; 302(12):F1658-62.
    View on PubMed
  17. Reed GD, Larson PE, Morze Cv, Bok R, Lustig M, Kerr AB, Pauly JM, Kurhanewicz J, Vigneron DB. A method for simultaneous echo planar imaging of hyperpolarized ¹³C pyruvate and ¹³C lactate. J Magn Reson. 2012 Apr; 217:41-7.
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  18. Costello LC, Franklin RB, Zou J, Feng P, Bok R, Swanson MG, Kurhanewicz J. Human prostate cancer ZIP1/zinc/citrate genetic/metabolic relationship in the TRAMP prostate cancer animal model. Cancer Biol Ther. 2011 Dec 15; 12(12):1078-84.
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  19. von Morze C, Larson PE, Hu S, Yoshihara HA, Bok RA, Goga A, Ardenkjaer-Larsen JH, Vigneron DB. Investigating tumor perfusion and metabolism using multiple hyperpolarized (13)C compounds: HP001, pyruvate and urea. Magn Reson Imaging. 2012 Apr; 30(3):305-11.
    View on PubMed
  20. Keshari KR, Kurhanewicz J, Bok R, Larson PE, Vigneron DB, Wilson DM. Hyperpolarized 13C dehydroascorbate as an endogenous redox sensor for in vivo metabolic imaging. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Nov 15; 108(46):18606-11.
    View on PubMed

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