Associate Professor

Christopher Macgowan

PhD, University of Toronto

The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute
Peter Giligan Centre for Research and Learning, 686 Bay Street, Room 08.9714, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 0A4
Research Interests
Biomedical Imaging, Cardiovascular Sciences

Research Synopsis

Blood Flow Imaging with MR

My research involves the development of new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods to improve the detection and evaluation of cardiovascular disease in children. In particular, I am interested in the measurement of blood flow and vascular function in congenital heart disease, and the translation of these methods into clinical practice. Previous work in my lab has involved the study of rapid (real-time) MRI measurements of blood flow, optimization of contrast-enhanced pulmonary MR angiography in children and image-processing methods to segment and classify pulmonary veins versus arteries. We have also investigated methods to assess pulmonary vascular impedance non-invasively using velocity-sensitive MR imaging, to better understand how patients with pulmonary hypertension respond to therapy.

Recent work in my lab has focused on cardiovascular physiology in the developing human fetus. Using advanced MRI methods, we are mapping the distribution of blood flow throughout the feto-placental circulation and measuring the oxygen saturation of blood supplied to the fetus. The creation of an image processing approach (metric-optimized gating) that has enabled the first dynamic MR images of the fetal heart and blood flow has been critical to this work.

Recent Publications

  1. Schrauben E, Lim J, Goolaub D, Marini D, Seed M, Macgowan CK. Motion-robust 3D radial phase-contrast MRI: implementation in neonatal CHD Magn. Reson. Med. 83(2):535–548 (2020) doi: 10.1002/mrm.27945
  2. Xu J, Duan AQ, Marini D, Lim JM, Keunen J, Portnoy S, Sled JG, McCrindle BW, Kingdom JC, Macgowan CK, Seed M. The utility of MRI for measuring hematocrit in fetal anemia Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 222(1):81.e1-81.e13 (2020) doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.07.016
  3. Roy CW, Marini D, Segars WP, Seed M, Macgowan CK. Fetal XCMR: A Numerical Phantom for Fetal Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging J. Cardiov. Magn. Reson. 21(1):29 (2019) doi:10.1186/s12968-019-0539-2
  4. Roy CW, Macgowan CK. Dynamic MRI of a Large Fetal Cardiac Mass Radiology 290(2):288 (2019) doi: 10.1148/radiol.2018182025
  5. Schrauben E, Saini B, Darby JRT, Soo JY, Lock MC, Stirrat E, Stortz G, Sled JG, Morrison JL, Seed M, Macgowan CK. Fetal hemodynamics and cardiac streaming assessed by 4D flow cardiovascular magnetic resonance in fetal sheep J. Cardiov. Magn. Reson. 21(1):8 (2019) doi: 10.1186/s12968-018-0512-5
  6. Roy CW, Marini D, Lloyd DFA, Mawad W, Yoo SJ, Seed M, Macgowan CK. Preliminary Experience Using Motion Compensated CINE MRI to Visualize Fetal Congenital Heart Disease: Comparison to Echocardiography Circ. Cardiovasc. Imaging. 11:12 (2018) doi: 10.1161/CIRCIMAGING.118.007745
  7. Goolaub DS, Roy C, Schrauben E, Sussman D, Marini D, Seed M, Macgowan CK. Multidimensional fetal flow imaging with cardiovascular magnetic resonance: a feasibility study J. Cardiov. Magn. Reson. 20(1):77 (2018) doi: 10.1186/s12968-018-0498-z
  8. Portnoy S, Milligan N, Seed M, Sled JG, Macgowan CK. Human umbilical cord blood relaxation times and susceptibility at 3 T Magn. Reson. Med. 79(6): 3194-3206 (2018) doi: 10.1002/mrm.26978
  9. Portnoy S, Seed M, Sled JG, Macgowan CK. Non-invasive evaluation of blood oxygen saturation and hematocrit from T1 and T2 relaxation times: in-vitro validation in fetal blood Magn. Reson. Med. 78(6):2352-2359 (2017) doi:10.1002/mrm.26599
  10. Roy CW, Seed M, Kingdom JC, Macgowan CK. Motion compensated cine CMR of the fetal heart using radial undersampling and compressed sensing J. Cardiov. Magn. Reson. 19:29 (2017) doi: 1186/s12968-017-0346-6
  11. Portnoy S, Osmond M, Zhu MY, Seed M, Sled J, Macgowan CK. Relaxation Properties of Human Umbilical Cord Blood at 1.5 Tesla Magn. Reson. Med. 77(4):1678–1690 (2017) doi: 10.1002/mrm.26231
  12. Zhu MY, Milligan N, Keating S, Windrim R, Keunen J, Thakur V, Ohman A, Portnoy S, Sled JG, Kelly E, Yoo SJ, Gross-Wortmann L, Jaeggi E, Macgowan CK, Kingdom JC, Seed M. The Hemodynamics of Late Onset Intrauterine Growth Restriction by MRI Am J Obstet Gynecol. 214(3):367.e1-367.e17 (2015) doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2015.10.004
  13. Prsa M, van Amerom JFP, Yoo SJ, Grosse-Wortmann L, Jaeggi E, Macgowan CK, Seed M. Normal ranges of blood flow in the major vessels of the normal human fetal circulation at term by phase contrast MRI Circ. Cardiovasc. Imaging. 7:663-670 (2014) doi:10.1161/CIRCIMAGING.1001859
  14. Seed M, van Amerom JFP, Yoo SJ, Al Nafisi B, Grosse-Wortmann L, Jaeggi E, Jansz MS, Macgowan CK. Feasibility of Quantification of the Distribution of Blood Flow in the Normal Human Fetal Circulation Using CMR: A Cross-Sectional Study J. Cardiov. Magn. Reson. 14(79) (2012) doi:10.1186/1532-429X-14-79


External Funding Sources

  • Hemodynamics of Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease Using Accelerated and Motion-Compensated MRI. Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Project Grant.  
  • Accelerated Multi-Dimensional Flow Encoding by MRI. Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Discovery Grant  
  • Going with the flow: Directing nutrient rich blood to the brain. Australian Research Council. Discovery Project. 
  • Dynamic 3D MRI of the fetus: a new method for detecting abnormal blood flow and oxygenation during pregnancy. Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Project Grant.  
  • Environmental factors in placental pathology: a new diagnostic method based on umbilical vessel wave mechanics. National Institutes of Health. U01

Graduate Students

Fatemeh Rastegar