Blake Benyard

Graduate Student, Department of Bioengineering

Contact Information

Tel:(215) 898-9357
Fax: (215) 573-2113


Bioengineering Pre-Doctoral Student, 2020-Present, University of Pennsylvania

B.S. 2017, (Physics) Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA

Blake Benyard is a 2nd year PhD Student in Bioengineering. He received an undergraduate degree in Physics with a cumulative GPA of 3.75 and a major GPA of 3.70. His graduate coursework includes: Image-Based Anatomy, Molecular Imaging, Foundations of Engineering Mathematics I, Techniques in Magnetic Resonance Imaging, High Scientific Performance Computing, Biomedical Image Analysis, Radiological Physics, and Advanced Biomedical Imaging Applications.

Blake joined the Center for Advanced Metabolic Imaging in Precision Medicine (CAMIPM) in September 2020. His work involves using chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) and Magnetization Transfer (MT) to investigate metabolism in the brain.

Primary Projects

  1. Reproducibility of 3D-NOE MTR of in-vivo healthy brains at 7T.  An emerging way to study lipids and other macromolecules in the brain uses contrast arisng from magnitization transfer due to Nuclear Overhauser Effect (NOE). NOE is mediated via a cross-relaxation which occurs through space, likely between aliphatic moieties and bulk water in the brain, giving rise to a Z-spectrum signal (indicating saturation transfer) 3.5ppm up field from bulk water. Imaging based on this NOE contrast mechanism has been investigated in both animal and human studies, at 3T, 7T and 9.4T. These studies have shown in general that low power radiofrequency (RF) pulses and longer saturation lengths can saturate slower-tumbling protons with minimal direct effect of water. However, no comprehensive studies to date have characterized the dependence of the in vivo NOE contrast on varying saturation power/length, while correcting for Band B1 inhomogeneities, particularly at 7T.  Furthermore, the reproducibility of NOE-MTR and contributions of WM and GM proportions to NOE maps are unknown. NOE in WM has been shown to differentiate tumor grades in animal model and humans, so establishing a standardized protocol to accurately measure NOE would be useful for these clinical studies. The purpose of this study is to perform an extensive characterization of the NOE contrast dependence on saturation parameters and demonstrate the reproducibility of the technique with constant parameters, yielding robust 7T NOE maps of the human brain, corrected for Band Binhomogeneities. From this project, an abstract is submitted the ISMRM 2022 meeting and manuscript is in preparation.  
  2. Feasibility of Nuclear Overhauser Effect Using Inversion RecoveryNOE is a cross-relaxation between two spins, which occurs through space.  Current methods of obtaining NOE contrast from biological tissues like brain requires the generation of z-spectra, which is quite time intensive and requires long acquisition time. Furthermore, z-spectral fitting is needed to isolate direct water saturation and MT effect from the NOE.  To mitigate these problems, we are exploring transient NOE effect from brain and other tissues in which frequency selective inversion of one of the spin systems is used.  This method does not require a z-spectrum, is expected to results in a rapid scan and avoids the direct saturation and MT contributions. Preliminary results from phantoms and brain are promising.  A manuscript from this project is also in preparation.


  1. Kumar, D., Thakuri, D., Benyard, B., Reddy, R. ”Parametric Maps of Creatine Recovery Constants in Exercised Muscle.” ISMRM 2020.
  2. Benyard, B., Armbruster R., Cember, A., Wilson, N., Novelo, L., Reddy, R. “GagCEST Imaging of Healthy and OA Patients at 7 Tesla”. ISMRM 2021.
  3. Benyard, B., Nanga, R., Wilson, N., Thakuri, D., Cember, A., Reddy, R. “Reproducibility of 3D-NOE MTR in a healthy in-vivo healthy human brain at 7T”. ISMRM 2022. Submitted.
  4. Nanga, R., Juul, H., Soni, N., Benyard, B., Swain, A., Armbruster R., Jacobs, P., Reddy, R. “Longitudinal study of GluCEST and MICEST in Alzheimer’s 5xFAD mouse model in vivo. ISMRM 2022. Submitted.