Kamil Ugurbil, PhD

Professor of Radiology, Medicine (Joint Appointment), and Neuroscience (Joint Appointment), Department of Radiology

Professor of Radiology, Medicine (Joint Appointment), and Neuroscience (Joint Appointment), Department of Radiology

Director, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research

Faculty, PhD Program in Medical Physics

Faculty, Graduate Program in Neuroscience

PhD in Chemical Physics, Columbia University, New York, NY

BA in Physics, Columbia University, New York, NY


Kamil Ugurbil currently holds the McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair Professorship in Radiology, Neurosciences, and Medicine and is the Director of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) at the University of Minnesota. Prof. Ugurbil was educated at Robert Academy, Istanbul (high school) and Columbia University, New York, N.Y. After completing his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in physics, and chemical physics, respectively, at Columbia, he joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1977, and subsequently returned to Columbia as a faculty member in 1979. He moved to the University of Minnesota in 1982 where his research in magnetic resonance led to the evolution of his laboratory into an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary research center, the CMRR.

The work that introduced magnetic resonance imaging of neuronal activity in the human brain (known as fMRI) was accomplished independently and simultaneously in two laboratories, one of which was Ugurbil's in CMRR. Since then, his focus has been on development of methods and instrumentation capable of obtaining high resolution and high accuracy functional information in the human brain, targeting neuronal organizations at the level of cortical columns and layers; this body of work has culminated in unique accomplishments such as the first time imaging of orientation columns in the human primary visual cortex, as well as numerous new instrumentation and image acquisition approaches for functional and anatomical neuroimaging at very high magnetic fields.

Professional Associations

  • Member, National Academy of Medicine (USA)
  • Member American Academy of Arts and Sciences (USA)
  • Recipient of Richard Ernst Medal
  • Gold Medal, International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM)
  • Member, NIH Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Working Group
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Human Connectome Project (http://humanconnectome.org/)
  • Member, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Board of Scientific Advisors


Research Summary/Interests

  • Imaging brain function and connectivity with magnetic resonance (MR) techniques at ultrahigh magnetic fields (7 Tesla and higher)
  • Mechanisms underlying functional mapping signals in fMRI
    Development of biological MR imaging and spectroscopy methods at ultrahigh magnetic fields for biomedical reserach in the human body (the first 7 Tesla instrument for human studies was developed in CMRR in 1999)
  • Development of high frequency RF instrumentation for ultrahigh field MR imaging in humans


Moerel, M, De Martino, F, Ugurbil, K, Yacoub, E & Formisano, E 2019, 'Processing complexity increases in superficial layers of human primary auditory cortex' Scientific reports, vol. 9, no. 1, 5502. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-41965-w

Ugurbil, K, Auerbach, EJ, Moeller, S, Grant, AN, Wu, X, Van de Moortele, P-F, Olman, CA, DelaBarre, L, Schillak, S, Radder, JW, Lagore, RL & Adriany, G 2019, 'Brain imaging with improved acceleration and SNR at 7 Tesla obtained with 64-channel receive array' Magnetic resonance in medicine, vol. 82, no. 1, pp. 495-509. https://doi.org/10.1002/mrm.27695

Kay, KN, Jamison, KW, Vizioli, L, Zhang, R, Margalit, E & Ugurbil, K 2019, 'A critical assessment of data quality and venous effects in sub-millimeter fMRI' NeuroImage, vol. 189, pp. 847-869. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.02.006

Bookheimer, SY, Salat, DH, Terpstra, M, Ances, BM, Barch, DM, Buckner, RL, Burgess, GC, Curtiss, SW, Diaz-Santos, M, Elam, JS, Fischl, B, Greve, DN, Hagy, HA, Harms, MP, Hatch, OM, Hedden, T, Hodge, C, Japardi, KC, Kuhn, TP, Ly, TK, Smith, SM, Somerville, LH, Ugurbil, K, van der Kouwe, A, Van Essen, D, Woods, RP & Yacoub, E 2019, 'The Lifespan Human Connectome Project in Aging: An overview' NeuroImage, vol. 185, pp. 335-348. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.10.009

Eryaman, Y, Kobayashi, N, Moen, S, Aman, JE, Grant, AN, Vaughan, JT, Molnar, GF, Park, MC, Vitek, JL, Adriany, G, Ugurbil, K& Harel, N 2019, 'A simple geometric analysis method for measuring and mitigating RF induced currents on Deep Brain Stimulation leads by multichannel transmission/reception' NeuroImage, vol. 184, pp. 658-668. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.09.072

Wu, X, Auerbach, EJ, Vu, AT, Moeller, S, Van de Moortele, P-F, Yacoub, E & Ugurbil, K 2019, 'Human Connectome Project-style resting-state functional MRI at 7 Tesla using radiofrequency parallel transmission' NeuroImage, vol. 184, pp. 396-408. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.09.038

Harms, MP, Somerville, LH, Ances, BM, Andersson, J, Barch, DM, Bastiani, M, Bookheimer, SY, Brown, TB, Buckner, RL, Burgess, GC, Coalson, TS, Chappell, MA, Dapretto, M, Douaud, G, Fischl, B, Glasser, MF, Greve, DN, Hodge, C, Jamison, KW, Jbabdi, S, Kandala, S, Li, X, Mair, RW, Mangia, S, Marcus, D, Mascali, D, Moeller, S, Nichols, TE, Robinson, EC, Salat, DH, Smith, SM, Sotiropoulos, SN, Terpstra, M, Thomas, KM, Tisdall, MD, Ugurbil, K, van der Kouwe, A, Woods, RP, Zöllei, L, Van Essen, DC & Yacoub, E 2018, 'Extending the Human Connectome Project across ages: Imaging protocols for the Lifespan Development and Aging projects' NeuroImage, vol. 183, pp. 972-984. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.09.060

Wu, X, Auerbach, EJ, Vu, AT, Moeller, S, Lenglet, C, Schmitter, S, Van de Moortele, P-F, Yacoub, E & Ugurbil, K 2018, 'High-resolution whole-brain diffusion MRI at 7T using radiofrequency parallel transmission' Magnetic resonance in medicine, vol. 80, no. 5, pp. 1857-1870. https://doi.org/10.1002/mrm.27189

Vizioli, L, Bratch, A, Lao, J, Ugurbil, K, Muckli, L & Yacoub, E 2018, 'Temporal multivariate pattern analysis (tMVPA): A single trial approach exploring the temporal dynamics of the BOLD signal' Journal of Neuroscience Methods, vol. 308, pp. 74-87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneumeth.2018.06.029

Moerel, M, De Martino, F, Ugurbil, K, Formisano, E & Yacoub, E 2018, 'Evaluating the columnar stability of acoustic processing in the human auditory cortex' Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 38, no. 36, pp. 7822-7832. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3576-17.2018