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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’


Development and Evaluation of Bluetooth Low-Energy Device for Electronic Encounter Metrics

Katy Keenan, Joe Aumentado, Harold Booth, Kimberly Briggman, Mikail Kraft-Molleda, Michele Martin, Rene Peralta, Angela Robinson, Krister Shalm, Michelle Stephens, Emily Townsend, Sae Woo Nam
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic led to the need for tracking of physical contacts and potential exposure to disease. Traditional contact

Patents (2018-Present)

Liquid Crystal Thermometer for MRI

NIST Inventors
Elizabeth Mirowski , Michael Snow and Kathryn Keenan
patent description The invention is liquid crystals with phase change from cholesteric state to isotropic liquid state at a particular temperature. In the MRI, the cholesteric state has dark signal (similar to a solid) due to sho1t T2 and the isotropic liquid state has a bright signal (similar to
Created August 1, 2019, Updated February 1, 2023