John Kurhanewicz, PhD

John Kurhanewicz, PhD

Professor, Departments of Radiology, Bioengineering, and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UCSF

Phone: (415) 353-9410 (voice)
Box 0946
San Francisco, CA 94143-0946

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Cancer Center Membership

Program Member » Prostate Cancer

Research Summary

John Kurhanewicz, PhD, is a Professor in Residence of Radiology, Urology and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. He is the Director of the Body Imaging Research Group, Director of the Body Research Interest Group, and Director of Kurhanewicz Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Kurhanewicz is recognized internationally for his research in magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopic imaging of patients with prostate cancer, and he is involved in the development and translation of this technology into the clinic. Dr. Kurhanewicz received his BS in Chemistry from the University of South Florida/New College in 1982, and obtained his PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of South Florida, Tampa in 1987, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in MRI/MRS from the University of California, San Francisco in 1990.

Accurate characterization of prostate cancer has become a major problem and Dr. Kurhanewicz and his colleagues have developed a program with new anatomic and metabolic MR spectroscopic imaging methods to provide an improved assessment of prostate cancer for individual patients. Dr. Kurhanewicz is involved in the development and clinical translation of an extraordinary new molecular imaging technique utilizing hyperpolarized 13C labeled metabolic substrates that has the potential to revolutionize the way we use MR imaging in the risk assessment of prostate cancer patients.

Dr. Kurhanezwicz has served as a scientific reviewer for over 20 different journals. He is a member of 7 societies and groups, he has served as grant reviewer for over 20 organizations, and presently serves on several departmental committees. Dr. Kurhanezwicz has 169 published articles and he has written 196 peer-reviewed articles, 19 book chapters, and 352 abstracts.




Prostate cancer, urology, pharmaceutical chemistry

Professional Interests:

Magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, hyperpolarized 13C MR cancer, dynamic nuclear polarization, hyperpolarized probes, micro-imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, dynamic contrast enhanced imaging, prostate cancer, imaging biomarkers, high-resolution magic angle spinning (HR-MAS) spectroscopy, 13C and 31P spectroscopy, immunohistochemistry, gene expression, clinical translation

Education and Training:

• Bachelor of Science: University of South Florida/New College - BS, Chemistry

• Doctor of Philosophy: University of South Florida, Tampa - Physical Chemistry

• Postdoctoral Fellowship: University of California, San Francisco - Vivo MRI/MRS


New College, Sarasota, FL, B.S., 1976-1982, Chemistry
University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, Ph.D., 1982-1987, Chemistry
University of California San Francisco, CA, Post-Doc., 1987-1990, In vivo Spectroscopy

Professional Experience

  • 1993-2000
    Assistant Professor of Radiology, Bioengineering and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2000-2006
    Associate Professor of Radiology, Bioengineering and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UCSF
  • 2006-present
    Professor of Radiology, Bioengineering and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UCSF

Honors & Awards

  • Phi Beta Kappa (scholastic honorary)
  • Outstanding Chemistry Alumnus, University of South Florida

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.
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  2. Sriram R, Van Criekinge M, Hansen A, Wang ZJ, Vigneron DB, Wilson DM, Keshari KR, Kurhanewicz J. Real-time measurement of hyperpolarized lactate production and efflux as a biomarker of tumor aggressiveness in an MR compatible 3D cell culture bioreactor. NMR Biomed. 2015 Sep; 28(9):1141-9.
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  3. Keshari KR, Wilson DM, Van Criekinge M, Sriram R, Koelsch BL, Wang ZJ, VanBrocklin HF, Peehl DM, O'Brien T, Sampath D, Carano RA, Kurhanewicz J. Metabolic response of prostate cancer to nicotinamide phophoribosyltransferase inhibition in a hyperpolarized MR/PET compatible bioreactor. Prostate. 2015 Oct; 75(14):1601-9.
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  4. Leon Swisher C, Koelsch B, Sukumar S, Sriram R, Santos RD, Wang ZJ, Kurhanewicz J, Vigneron D, Larson P. Dynamic UltraFast 2D EXchange SpectroscopY (UF-EXSY) of hyperpolarized substrates. J Magn Reson. 2015 Aug; 257:102-9.
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  5. Tufts L, Shet Vishnudas K, Fu E, Kurhanewicz J, Ries M, Alliston T, Li X. Correlating high-resolution magic angle spinning NMR spectroscopy and gene analysis in osteoarthritic cartilage. NMR Biomed. 2015 May; 28(5):523-8.
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  6. Flavell RR, Westphalen AC, Liang C, Sotto CC, Noworolski SM, Vigneron DB, Wang ZJ, Kurhanewicz J. Abnormal findings on multiparametric prostate magnetic resonance imaging predict subsequent biopsy upgrade in patients with low risk prostate cancer managed with active surveillance. Abdom Imaging. 2014 Oct; 39(5):1027-35.
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  7. 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.
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  8. Korn N, Kurhanewicz J, Banerjee S, Starobinets O, Saritas E, Noworolski S. Reduced-FOV excitation decreases susceptibility artifact in diffusion-weighted MRI with endorectal coil for prostate cancer detection. Magn Reson Imaging. 2015 Jan; 33(1):56-62.
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  9. 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.
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  10. Wilson DM, Kurhanewicz J. Hyperpolarized 13C MR for molecular imaging of prostate cancer. J Nucl Med. 2014 Oct; 55(10):1567-72.
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  11. Chen L, Shu Y, Liang X, Chen EC, Yee SW, Zur AA, Li S, Xu L, Keshari KR, Lin MJ, Chien HC, Zhang Y, Morrissey KM, Liu J, Ostrem J, Younger NS, Kurhanewicz J, Shokat KM, Ashrafi K, Giacomini KM. OCT1 is a high-capacity thiamine transporter that regulates hepatic steatosis and is a target of metformin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jul 8; 111(27):9983-8.
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  12. Salgaonkar VA, Prakash P, Rieke V, Ozhinsky E, Plata J, Kurhanewicz J, Hsu IC, Diederich CJ. Model-based feasibility assessment and evaluation of prostate hyperthermia with a commercial MR-guided endorectal HIFU ablation array. Med Phys. 2014 Mar; 41(3):033301.
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  13. Anwar M, Westphalen AC, Jung AJ, Noworolski SM, Simko JP, Kurhanewicz J, Roach M, Carroll PR, Coakley FV. Role of endorectal MR imaging and MR spectroscopic imaging in defining treatable intraprostatic tumor foci in prostate cancer: quantitative analysis of imaging contour compared to whole-mount histopathology. Radiother Oncol. 2014 Feb; 110(2):303-8.
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  14. Aggarwal R, Kurhanewicz J. The changing role of imaging in clinical care. Nat Rev Urol. 2014 Feb; 11(2):75-7.
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  15. 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.
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  16. Muller BG, Fütterer JJ, Gupta RT, Katz A, Kirkham A, Kurhanewicz J, Moul JW, Pinto PA, Rastinehad AR, Robertson C, de la Rosette J, Sanchez-Salas R, Jones JS, Ukimura O, Verma S, Wijkstra H, Marberger M. The role of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in focal therapy for prostate cancer: recommendations from a consensus panel. BJU Int. 2014 Feb; 113(2):218-27.
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  17. Crehange G, Krishnamurthy D, Cunha JA, Pickett B, Kurhanewicz J, Hsu IC, Gottschalk AR, Shinohara K, Roach M, Pouliot J. Cold spot mapping inferred from MRI at time of failure predicts biopsy-proven local failure after permanent seed brachytherapy in prostate cancer patients: implications for focal salvage brachytherapy. Radiother Oncol. 2013 Nov; 109(2):246-50.
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  18. Jung AJ, Westphalen AC, Kurhanewicz J, Wang ZJ, Carroll PR, Simko JP, Coakley FV. Clinical utility of endorectal MRI-guided prostate biopsy: preliminary experience. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2014 Aug; 40(2):314-23.
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  19. 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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  20. Starobinets O, Guo R, Simko JP, Kuchinsky K, Kurhanewicz J, Carroll PR, Greene KL, Noworolski SM. Semiautomatic registration of digital histopathology images to in vivo MR images in molded and unmolded prostates. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2014 May; 39(5):1223-9.
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