Welcome to the Theis Hyperpolarization Lab




Our research merges traditional disciplines in chemistry, physics and engineering  to overcome the inherent sensitivity limitations of  Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The emerging “Hyperpolarization Chemistry”  enhances typical NMR and MRI signals by up to six orders of magnitude and has important applications in the study of biochemical dynamics and molecular imaging. We innovate magnetic resonance tools and techniques to enable biochemical structure elucidation with unprecedented limits of detection, and molecular imaging to spy on molecular transformations deep inside tissue. We study and control the spin dynamics of chemical hyperpolarization processes and employ quantum mechanical tricks to protect hyperpolarization from relaxation. This promises molecular tracking and imaging on hour-long timescales. The hyperpolarization chemistry enables NMR spectroscopy and MRI imaging of small molecules at physiological concentrations to directly report on molecular function. Furthermore, we develop unconventional NMR detection schemes to probe the hyperpolarized signals. These alternative MR sensors promise ultra sensitive miniaturized and portable NMR and MRI. To propel these efforts, we work with a wide range of collaborators at NC State, UNC, Wayne State, Harvard, Mass Gen, RWTH Aachen, University University of Maryland (UMBC), University of Stuttgart, and UC Berkeley.