Melissa Terpstra, PhD

Professor, CMRR

Melissa Terpstra

Contact Info

Professor, CMRR


Dr. Melissa Terpstra specializes in noninvasive quantification of weakly represented neurochemicals in 1H magnetic resonance spectra (MRS). This work was pioneered using ultra-high field magnetic resonance imaging systems, and is being translated for use on clinical scanners. Melissa discovered the presence of the antioxidant ascorbate (vitamin C) resonance using homonuclear edited 1H MR spectroscopy. She is funded by the national institute on aging (NIH) to study whether antioxidant depletion is exacerbated by Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Dr. Terpstra earned her B.S. degree in physics from Bethel University and her PhD in medical physics and biophysical sciences at the University of Minnesota.


Research Summary/Interests

  • To study how normal aging and AD impact the concentrations of the antioxidants ascorbate and GSH in a human brain region that is pertinent to the etiology of AD.
  • To follow up recent findings that IV administration of the antioxidant NAC raises the concentration of GSH in the human brain with studies on efficacy of dosing regimens and utilization of NAC for prevention and alleviation of dementia.
  • To use 1H MRS to study hyperglycemia awareness autonomic failure (HAAF) and parlay this experience into new initiatives on using MRI and MRS to investigate appetite regulation.


  • Emir, U. E., Raatz, S., McPherson, S., Hodges, J. S., Torkelson, C., Tawfik, P., White, T., and Terpstra, M (2011). Noninvasive quantification of ascorbate and glutathione concentration in the elderly human brain, NMR Biomed, 24(7): 888-94.
  • Terpstra, M., Torkelson, C., Emir, U., Hodges, J. S., Raatz, S. (2011). Noninvasive quantification of brain antioxidant concentrations after an intravenous bolus of vitamin C, NMR Biomed, 24(5):521-8.
  • Emir, U. E., Deelchand, D., Henry, P.-G., Terpstra, M. (2010). Noninvasive quantification of T2 and concentrations of ascorbate and glutathione in the human brain from the same double-edited spectra, NMR Biomed, 24(3): 263-9.
  • Terpstra, M., Rao, R. & Tkac, I. (2011). Region specific changes in ascorbate concentration during rat brain development by in vivo 1H NMR spectroscopy, NMR Biomed, 23(9), 1038-1043.
  • Terpstra, M., Ugurbil, K. & Tkac, I. (2010). Noninvasive quantification of human brain ascorbate concentration using 1H NMR spectroscopy at 7 T. NMR Biomed, 23(3), 227-32.
  • Terpstra, M., Marjanska, M., Henry, P.-G., Tkac, I. & Gruetter, R (2006). Detection of an antioxidant profile in the human brain in vivo via double editing with MEGA-PRESS. Magn Reson Med, 56(6), 1192-9.
  • Terpstra, M. & Gruetter, R (2004). 1H NMR detection of vitamin C in human brain in vivo. Magn Reson Med, 51(2), 225-9.
  • Terpstra, M., Henry, P.-G. & Gruetter, R (2003). Measurement of reduced glutathione (GSH) in the human brain using LCModel analysis of difference-edited spectra. Magn Reson Med, 50(1), 19-23.