My lab focuses on measuring metabolism using MR and hyperpolarized substrates. Hyperpolarization is a term used in magnetic resonance to indicate a sample that has been excited in such a way as to have a significantly higher polarization than that observed at thermal equilibrium. Typically we accomplish this using the technique dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) which transfers polarization from electrons doped into the sample to the observe nuclei. Using DNP, we can produce samples with polarizations as much as 10000 times higher than thermal equilibirum. These compounds can then be used to image metabolism in living tissues in real time (~1 second time resolution).

Currently, I have two major metabolic foci including cancer metabolism and metabolism in the heart and liver. Recently we have shown that hyperpolarized pyruvate can be used to study the perfused heart and the perfused liver with exquisite detail, providing relative fluxes through pyruvate dehydrogenase and pyruvate carboxylase. When combined with traditional carbon-13 isotopomer analyses, a comprehensive overview of TCA cycle metabolism can be obtained.


Undergraduate North Carolina State University at Raleigh (1991), Chemistry
Graduate School Washington University (1996), Chemistry

Research Interest

  • Cancer Metabolism
  • Hepatic Metabolism
  • Hyperpolarization for NMR sensitivity enhancement
  • Magnetic Resonance
  • Myocardial Metabolism


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Inhibition of Carbohydrate Oxidation During the First Minute of Reperfusion After Brief Ischemia: NMR Detection of Hyperpolarized 13CO2 and H13CO3-.
Merritt, Matthew E.; Harrison, Crystal; Storey, Charles; Jeffrey, F. Mark; Sherry, A. Dean; Malloy, Craig R Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2008 60/5 1029-1036
Dipolar cross-relaxation modulates signal amplitudes in the 1H NMR spectrum of hyperpolarized [13C]formate
Merritt, Matthew E.; Harrison, Crystal; Mander, William; Malloy, Craig R.; Sherry, A. Dean Journal of Magnetic Resonance 2007 189/2 280-285
Hyperpolarized 89Y Offers the Potential of Direct Imaging of Metal Ions in Biological Systems by Magnetic Resonance
Merritt, Matthew E.; Harrison, Crystal; Kovacs, Zoltan; Kshirsagar, Preeti; Malloy, Craig R.; Sherry, A. Dean Journal of the American Chemical Society 2007 129/43 12942-12943
Numerical solution of the Bloch equations provides insights into the optimum design of PARACEST agents for MRI.
Woessner, D., Zhang, S., Merritt, M., Sherry, A. D. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2005 53(4) 790-799
TCA cycle turnover and serum glucose sources by automated Bayesian analysis of NMR spectra.
Merritt, M., Bretthorst, GL., Burgess, S., Jeffrey, FMH., Sherry, AD., Malloy, C., Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2003 50(4) 659-663

Honors & Awards

  • UTSW-UTD Cooperative Research
    Pilot Study for MRS of Renal Cell Carcinomas (2007)