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 hyperpolarized dihydroxyacetone (DHA) can be used to assess hepatic glycolytic/gluconeogenic flux. In the heart, we have demonstrated that propionate increases flux through pyruvate dehydrogenase. Both these papers illustrate the keen inisghts into metabolism available using new hyperpolarization methods.


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

Research Interest

  • Cancer Metabolism
  • Dynamic Nuclear Polarization
  • Hepatic Metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance
  • Myocardial Metabolism


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Glutamine oxidation maintains the TCA cycle and cell survival during impaired mitochondrial pyruvate transport.
Yang C, Ko B, Hensley CT, Jiang L, Wasti AT, Kim J, Sudderth J, Calvaruso MA, Lumata L, Mitsche M, Rutter J, Merritt ME, DeBerardinis RJ Mol. Cell 2014 Nov 56 3 414-24
Development and performance of a 129-GHz dynamic nuclear polarizer in an ultra-wide bore superconducting magnet.
Lumata LL, Martin R, Jindal AK, Kovacs Z, Conradi MS, Merritt ME MAGMA 2014 Aug
Simultaneous steady-state and dynamic 13C NMR can differentiate alternative routes of pyruvate metabolism in living cancer cells.
Yang C, Harrison C, Jin ES, Chuang DT, Sherry AD, Malloy CR, Merritt ME, Deberardinis RJ J. Biol. Chem. 2014 Jan
Electron spin resonance studies of trityl OX063 at a concentration optimal for DNP.
Lumata L, Kovacs Z, Sherry AD, Malloy C, Hill S, van Tol J, Yu L, Song L, Merritt ME Phys Chem Chem Phys 2013 May 15 24 9800-7
Transfer of hyperpolarization from long T1 storage nuclei to short T1 neighbors using FLOPSY-8.
Moreno KX, Harrison C, Sherry AD, Malloy CR, Merritt ME J. Magn. Reson. 2011 Dec 213 1 187-91

Honors & Awards

  • NIH R21
    Hyperpolarized 13C imaging for studying beta-oxidative and anaplerotic pathways (2014-2016)
  • CPRIT Multi-investigator Award
    Metabolic Imaging of Hyperpolarized 13C Substrates in Animal Models of Cancer (2012)
  • UTSW-UTD Cooperative Research
    Pilot Study for MRS of Renal Cell Carcinomas (2007)