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Kathryn Keenan (Fed)

Kathryn Keenan, PhD is the Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Project Leader in the Applied Physics Division, where she works to improve the repeatability and reliability of MRI. Dr. Keenan started at NIST as an NRC post-doctoral scholar and created an MRI reference object (phantom) for assessing the accuracy and comparability of breast cancer imaging methods. Currently, she is developing methods to validate advanced quantitative MRI techniques.

Dr. Keenan was a 2019 PECASE recipient, and along with her colleagues Dr. Michael Boss, Dr. Stephen Russek and Dr. Karl Stupic, she won the 2015 CO-LABS Governor’s Award for High-Impact research, public health & life sciences, a 2016 Department of Commerce Gold Medal, as well as the inaugural Department of Commerce Excellence in Innovation Award.

Outside of the lab, Dr. Keenan won a national championship in road cycling, and now she enjoys running the trails in Colorado.

Current Research Projects

  • Developing quantitative MRI methods for low magnetic field strengths
  • Measuring the variability in quantitative MRI for clinical use
  • Validation of advanced quantitative MRI techniques using ‘living phantoms’


Low-field MRI: A report on the 2022 ISMRM workshop

Adrienne Campbell-Washburn, Katy Keenan, Peng Hu, John Mugler, Krishna Nayak, Andrew Webb, Johnes Obungoloch, Kevin Sheth, Jürgen Hennig, Matthew Rosen, Najat Salameh, Daniel Sodickson, Joel Stein, José Marques, Orlando Simonetti

Patents (2018-Present)

Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting Thermometry

NIST Inventors
Kathryn Keenan and Megan Poorman
A method for temperature quantification using magnetic resonance fingerprinting (MRF) includes acquiring MRF data from a region of interest in a subject using an MRF pulse sequence with smoothly varying RF phase for MR resonant frequencies that is played out continuously. For each of a plurality of

Liquid Crystal Thermometer for MRI

NIST Inventors
Elizabeth Mirowski , Michael Snow and Kathryn Keenan
Cost effective and quality assurance friendly magnetic resonance imaging thermometer using non-encapsulated liquid c1ystals to be incorporated in standard reference objects for magnetic resonance imaging.
Created August 1, 2019, Updated February 1, 2023