Bruce M. Damon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Visit Lab Site

Faculty Appointments
Associate Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences Associate Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Ph.D., Molecular & Integrative Physiology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IllinoisM.S., Kinesiology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IllinoisB.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts
Office Address
1161 21st Avenue South
MCN AA-1105
Nashville, TN 37232-2310
Research Description
Bruce Damon, Ph.D., a 1987 cum laude B.S. graduate of the University of Massachusetts, earned a M.S. degree and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University, Dr. Damon joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2002. Dr. Damon is an Associate Professor and a core faculty member of the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science (VUIIS). He is also engaged in many intramural and extramural service activities and directs the Chemical and Physical Biology PhD Program. His research focus is the development and application of magnetic resonance imaging methods for studying healthy and pathologic muscle structure and function.

The objectives of my research program are to develop new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) approaches to the study of skeletal muscle structure and function in vivo, to implement these methods in applied physiology and clinical studies, and to provide leadership in these areas to the scientific community. We have several lines of research to support these objectives:

Muscle Structure-Function Relationships
The first line of research in my lab is to understand the relationships among muscle architecture and the internal spatial patterns of strain development, perfusion, and metabolism during contraction. An important theme of our studies to date has been technique development. One of the new capabilities that we have developed combines structural and diffusion-tensor MRI techniques to study skeletal muscle architecture. We are able to form a highly spatially resolved description of the principal architectural features of a muscle, including its line of action, its boundaries, the position and orientation of its internal aponeurosis, and the internal arrangement of its fibers. This description forms a structural scaffold for the muscle, onto which we can overlay functional information and understand it relative to the anatomy. Recently, we have also developed a method for measuring the strain tensor in isometrically contracting skeletal muscle and have combined this approach with diffusion-tensor MRI to provide evidence for a significant deviation of the principal axis of fiber shortening from the principal fiber direction and for the development of shear strain during contraction. We have also implemented or developed methods for measuring perfusion and oxyhemoglobin saturation during contraction using MRI. In the future, we will advance our methods further and conduct a comprehensive study of muscle structure-function relationships in healthy muscle. We will contrast these findings with those from Becker muscular dystrophy patients.

Multi-parametric Characterization of Muscle Damage in the Inflammatory Myopathies
A second aspect of my research program is the development of improved MRI methods for detecting and quantifying muscle damage. For several years, my colleagues and I have been developing MRI-based methods for characterizing tissue microstructure in healthy and diseased tissues; these include measurements of the diffusion-tensor, MRI relaxation time constants, tissue water compartmentalization, perfusion, and tissue macromolecular content. These methods, we believe, will provide for quantitative measures of myofibril disruption, membrane damage, inflammation, and reduced perfusion in damaged muscle. We have designed a series of studies, involving both animal and human models of muscle damage, to test our hypotheses. Ultimately, we intend to apply these methods in studies of patients with inflammatory myopathies.

Section: Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science
Research Keywords
Development and application of novel imaging and spectroscopic approaches to studying muscle function.
Damon BM, Froeling M, Buck AK, Oudeman J, Ding Z, Nederveen AJ, Bush EC, Strijkers GJ. Skeletal muscle diffusion tensor-MRI fiber tracking: rationale, data acquisition and analysis methods, applications and future directions. NMR Biomed [print-electronic]. 2017 Mar; 30(3): PMID: 27257975, PMCID: PMC5136336, DOI: 10.1002/nbm.3563, ISSN: 1099-1492.

Damon BM, Li K, Dortch RD, Welch EB, Park JH, Buck AK, Towse TF, Does MD, Gochberg DF, Bryant ND. Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Skeletal Muscle Disease. J Vis Exp. 2016 Dec 12/18/2016; (118): PMID: 28060254, DOI: 10.3791/52352, ISSN: 1940-087X.

Towse TF, Elder CP, Bush EC, Klockenkemper SW, Bullock JT, Dortch RD, Damon BM. Post-contractile BOLD contrast in skeletal muscle at 7¿T reveals inter-individual heterogeneity in the physiological responses to muscle contraction. NMR Biomed [print-electronic]. 2016 Dec; 29(12): 1720-8. PMID: 27753155, DOI: 10.1002/nbm.3593, ISSN: 1099-1492.

Coolbaugh CL, Bush EC, Caskey CF, Damon BM, Towse TF. FloWave.US: validated, open-source, and flexible software for ultrasound blood flow analysis. J. Appl. Physiol [print-electronic]. 2016 Oct 10/1/2016; 121(4): 849-57. PMID: 27516540, PMCID: PMC5142308, PII: japplphysiol.00819.2015, DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00819.2015, ISSN: 1522-1601.

Towse TF, Childs BT, Sabin SA, Bush EC, Elder CP, Damon BM. Comparison of muscle BOLD responses to arterial occlusion at 3 and 7 Tesla. Magn Reson Med [print-electronic]. 2016 Mar; 75(3): 1333-40. PMID: 25884888, PMCID: PMC4609213, DOI: 10.1002/mrm.25562, ISSN: 1522-2594.

Soslow JH, Damon SM, Crum K, Lawson MA, Slaughter JC, Xu M, Arai AE, Sawyer DB, Parra DA, Damon BM, Markham LW. Increased myocardial native T1 and extracellular volume in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. J Cardiovasc Magn Reson. 2016 Jan 1/21/2016; 18: 5. PMID: 26795569, PMCID: PMC4722665, PII: 10.1186/s12968-016-0224-7, DOI: 10.1186/s12968-016-0224-7, ISSN: 1532-429X.

Damon BM, Li K, Bryant ND. Magnetic resonance imaging of skeletal muscle disease. Handb Clin Neurol. 2016; 136: 827-42. PMID: 27430444, PII: B978-0-444-53486-6.00041-7, DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-444-53486-6.00041-7, ISSN: 0072-9752.

Hooijmans MT, Damon BM, Froeling M, Versluis MJ, Burakiewicz J, Verschuuren JJ, Niks EH, Webb AG, Kan HE. Evaluation of skeletal muscle DTI in patients with duchenne muscular dystrophy. NMR Biomed [print-electronic]. 2015 Nov; 28(11): 1589-97. PMID: 26449628, PMCID: PMC4670831, DOI: 10.1002/nbm.3427, ISSN: 1099-1492.

Buck AK, Elder CP, Donahue MJ, Damon BM. Matching of postcontraction perfusion to oxygen consumption across submaximal contraction intensities in exercising humans. J. Appl. Physiol [print-electronic]. 2015 Aug 8/1/2015; 119(3): 280-9. PMID: 26066829, PMCID: PMC4526707, PII: japplphysiol.01027.2014, DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01027.2014, ISSN: 1522-1601.

Li K, Dortch RD, Kroop SF, Huston JW, Gochberg DF, Park JH, Damon BM. A rapid approach for quantitative magnetization transfer imaging in thigh muscles using the pulsed saturation method. Magn Reson Imaging [print-electronic]. 2015 Jul; 33(6): 709-17. PMID: 25839394, PMCID: PMC4755108, PII: S0730-725X(15)00090-9, DOI: 10.1016/j.mri.2015.03.003, ISSN: 1873-5894.

Miller CO, Cao J, Chekmenev EY, Damon BM, Cherrington AD, Gore JC. Noninvasive measurements of glycogen in perfused mouse livers using chemical exchange saturation transfer NMR and comparison to (13)C NMR spectroscopy. Anal. Chem [print-electronic]. 2015 Jun 6/2/2015; 87(11): 5824-30. PMID: 25946616, PMCID: PMC4920106, DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b01296, ISSN: 1520-6882.

Soslow JH, Damon BM, Saville BR, Lu Z, Burnette WB, Lawson MA, Parra DA, Sawyer DB, Markham LW. Evaluation of post-contrast myocardial t1 in duchenne muscular dystrophy using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Pediatr Cardiol [print-electronic]. 2015 Jan; 36(1): 49-56. PMID: 25070387, PMCID: PMC4439095, DOI: 10.1007/s00246-014-0963-x, ISSN: 1432-1971.

Buck AK, Ding Z, Elder CP, Towse TF, Damon BM. Anisotropic Smoothing Improves DT-MRI-Based Muscle Fiber Tractography. PLoS ONE. 2015; 10(5): e0126953. PMID: 26010830, PMCID: PMC4444336, PII: PONE-D-14-28260, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126953, ISSN: 1932-6203.

Skinner JT, Robison RK, Elder CP, Newton AT, Damon BM, Quarles CC. Evaluation of a multiple spin- and gradient-echo (SAGE) EPI acquisition with SENSE acceleration: applications for perfusion imaging in and outside the brain. Magn Reson Imaging [print-electronic]. 2014 Dec; 32(10): 1171-80. PMID: 25179133, PMCID: PMC4253546, PII: S0730-725X(14)00263-X, DOI: 10.1016/j.mri.2014.08.032, ISSN: 1873-5894.

Li K, Dortch RD, Welch EB, Bryant ND, Buck AK, Towse TF, Gochberg DF, Does MD, Damon BM, Park JH. Multi-parametric MRI characterization of healthy human thigh muscles at 3.0 T - relaxation, magnetization transfer, fat/water, and diffusion tensor imaging. NMR Biomed [print-electronic]. 2014 Sep; 27(9): 1070-84. PMID: 25066274, PMCID: PMC4153695, DOI: 10.1002/nbm.3159, ISSN: 1099-1492.

Bryant ND, Li K, Does MD, Barnes S, Gochberg DF, Yankeelov TE, Park JH, Damon BM. Multi-parametric MRI characterization of inflammation in murine skeletal muscle. NMR Biomed [print-electronic]. 2014 Jun; 27(6): 716-25. PMID: 24777935, PMCID: PMC4134016, DOI: 10.1002/nbm.3113, ISSN: 1099-1492.

Williams SE, Heemskerk AM, Welch EB, Li K, Damon BM, Park JH. Quantitative effects of inclusion of fat on muscle diffusion tensor MRI measurements. J Magn Reson Imaging [print-electronic]. 2013 Nov; 38(5): 1292-7. PMID: 23418124, PMCID: PMC3664247, DOI: 10.1002/jmri.24045, ISSN: 1522-2586.

Hartley KG, Damon BM, Patterson GT, Long JH, Holt GE. MRI techniques: a review and update for the orthopaedic surgeon. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2012 Dec; 20(12): 775-87. PMID: 23203937, PII: 20/12/775, DOI: 10.5435/JAAOS-20-12-775, ISSN: 1067-151X.

Damon BM, Heemskerk AM, Ding Z. Polynomial fitting of DT-MRI fiber tracts allows accurate estimation of muscle architectural parameters. Magn Reson Imaging [print-electronic]. 2012 Jun; 30(5): 589-600. PMID: 22503094, PMCID: PMC3348398, PII: S0730-725X(12)00044-6, DOI: 10.1016/j.mri.2012.02.003, ISSN: 1873-5894.

Berglund ED, Lustig DG, Baheza RA, Hasenour CM, Lee-Young RS, Donahue EP, Lynes SE, Swift LL, Charron MJ, Damon BM, Wasserman DH. Hepatic glucagon action is essential for exercise-induced reversal of mouse fatty liver. Diabetes [print-electronic]. 2011 Nov; 60(11): 2720-9. PMID: 21885872, PMCID: PMC3198076, PII: db11-0455, DOI: 10.2337/db11-0455, ISSN: 1939-327X.

Damon BM, Buck AK, Ding Z. Diffusion-Tensor MRI Based Skeletal Muscle Fiber Tracking. Imaging Med. 2011 Nov; 3(6): 675-87. PMID: 25429308, PMCID: PMC4241547, DOI: 10.2217/iim.11.60, ISSN: 1755-5191.

Sanchez OA, Copenhaver EA, Chance MA, Fowler MJ, Towse TF, Kent-Braun JA, Damon BM. Postmaximal contraction blood volume responses are blunted in obese and type 2 diabetic subjects in a muscle-specific manner. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol [print-electronic]. 2011 Aug; 301(2): H418-27. PMID: 21572006, PMCID: PMC3154659, PII: ajpheart.00060.2011, DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00060.2011, ISSN: 1522-1539.

Englund EK, Elder CP, Xu Q, Ding Z, Damon BM. Combined diffusion and strain tensor MRI reveals a heterogeneous, planar pattern of strain development during isometric muscle contraction. Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol [print-electronic]. 2011 May; 300(5): R1079-90. PMID: 21270344, PMCID: PMC3094039, PII: ajpregu.00474.2010, DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00474.2010, ISSN: 1522-1490.

Elder CP, Cook RN, Wilkens KL, Chance MA, Sanchez OA, Damon BM. A method for detecting the temporal sequence of muscle activation during cycling using MRI. J. Appl. Physiol [print-electronic]. 2011 Mar; 110(3): 826-33. PMID: 21164153, PMCID: PMC3069631, PII: japplphysiol.00185.2010, DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00185.2010, ISSN: 1522-1601.

Damon BM, Buck AKW, Ding Z. Diffusion-tensor MRI based skeletal muscle fiber tracking. Imaging in Medicine. 2011; 3((6)): 675-87.

Elder CP, Cook RN, Chance MA, Copenhaver EA, Damon BM. Image-based calculation of perfusion and oxyhemoglobin saturation in skeletal muscle during submaximal isometric contractions. Magn Reson Med. 2010 Sep; 64(3): 852-61. PMID: 20806379, PMCID: PMC4437700, DOI: 10.1002/mrm.22475, ISSN: 1522-2594.

Sanchez OA, Copenhaver EA, Elder CP, Damon BM. Absence of a significant extravascular contribution to the skeletal muscle BOLD effect at 3 T. Magn Reson Med. 2010 Aug; 64(2): 527-35. PMID: 20665796, PMCID: PMC2914541, DOI: 10.1002/mrm.22449, ISSN: 1522-2594.

Heemskerk AM, Sinha TK, Wilson KJ, Ding Z, Damon BM. Repeatability of DTI-based skeletal muscle fiber tracking. NMR Biomed. 2010 Apr; 23(3): 294-303. PMID: 20099372, PMCID: PMC4416059, DOI: 10.1002/nbm.1463, ISSN: 1099-1492.

Yankeelov TE, Avison MJ, Damon BM, Manning HC, Peterson TE, Gore JC. Frontiers of Biomedical Imaging Science 2009: workshop report and research opportunities. Cancer Res [print-electronic]. 2009 Oct 10/15/2009; 69(20): 7902-4. PMID: 19808955, PMCID: PMC2763022, PII: 0008-5472.CAN-09-2521, DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-2521, ISSN: 1538-7445.

Sanchez OA, Louie EA, Copenhaver EA, Damon BM. Repeatability of a dual gradient-recalled echo MRI method for monitoring post-isometric contraction blood volume and oxygenation changes. NMR Biomed. 2009 Aug; 22(7): 753-61. PMID: 19382156, PMCID: PMC4440456, DOI: 10.1002/nbm.1388, ISSN: 1099-1492.

Kan JH, Heemskerk AM, Ding Z, Gregory A, Mencio G, Spindler K, Damon BM. DTI-based muscle fiber tracking of the quadriceps mechanism in lateral patellar dislocation. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2009 Mar; 29(3): 663-70. PMID: 19243049, PMCID: PMC2676427, DOI: 10.1002/jmri.21687, ISSN: 1053-1807.

Louie EA, Gochberg DF, Does MD, Damon BM. Transverse relaxation and magnetization transfer in skeletal muscle: effect of pH. Magn Reson Med. 2009 Mar; 61(3): 560-9. PMID: 19097244, PMCID: PMC2649690, DOI: 10.1002/mrm.21847, ISSN: 1522-2594.

Heemskerk AM, Sinha TK, Wilson KJ, Ding Z, Damon BM. Quantitative assessment of DTI-based muscle fiber tracking and optimal tracking parameters. Magn Reson Med. 2009 Feb; 61(2): 467-72. PMID: 19161166, PMCID: PMC2632726, DOI: 10.1002/mrm.21819, ISSN: 1522-2594.

Lee DJ, Mencio GA, Hernanz-Schulman M, Nealy BJ, Damon BM, Kan JH. Comparison of acute and subacute treatment of buckle fractures in the pediatric population. Journal of Family Practice. 2009; 58: E1-E6.

Damon BM, Wadington MC, Lansdown DA, Hornberger JL. Spatial heterogeneity in the muscle functional MRI signal intensity time course: effect of exercise intensity. Magn Reson Imaging [print-electronic]. 2008 Oct; 26(8): 1114-21. PMID: 18508220, PMCID: PMC2614829, PII: S0730-725X(08)00051-9, DOI: 10.1016/j.mri.2008.01.023, ISSN: 0730-725X.

Damon BM. Effects of image noise in muscle diffusion tensor (DT)-MRI assessed using numerical simulations. Magn Reson Med. 2008 Oct; 60(4): 934-44. PMID: 18816814, PMCID: PMC2570042, DOI: 10.1002/mrm.21707, ISSN: 1522-2594.

Kan JH, Hernanz-Schulman M, Damon BM, Yu C, Connolly SA. MRI features of three paediatric intra-articular synovial lesions: a comparative study. Clin Radiol [print-electronic]. 2008 Jul; 63(7): 805-12. PMID: 18555039, PII: S0009-9260(08)00038-X, DOI: 10.1016/j.crad.2007.06.013, ISSN: 0009-9260.

Lansdown DA, Ding Z, Wadington M, Hornberger JL, Damon BM. Quantitative diffusion tensor MRI-based fiber tracking of human skeletal muscle. J. Appl. Physiol [print-electronic]. 2007 Aug; 103(2): 673-81. PMID: 17446411, PMCID: PMC4440488, PII: 00290.2007, DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00290.2007, ISSN: 8750-7587.

Damon BM, Wadington MC, Hornberger JL, Lansdown DA. Absolute and relative contributions of BOLD effects to the muscle functional MRI signal intensity time course: effect of exercise intensity. Magn Reson Med. 2007 Aug; 58(2): 335-45. PMID: 17654591, PMCID: PMC4440487, DOI: 10.1002/mrm.21319, ISSN: 0740-3194.

Damon BM, Louie EA, Sanchez OA. Physiological basis of muscle functional MRI. J Gravit Physiol. 2007 Jul; 14(1): P85-8. PMID: 18372712, PMCID: PMC4437701, ISSN: 1077-9248.

Damon BM, Hornberger JL, Wadington MC, Lansdown DA, Kent-Braun JA. Dual gradient-echo MRI of post-contraction changes in skeletal muscle blood volume and oxygenation. Magn Reson Med. 2007 Apr; 57(4): 670-9. PMID: 17390346, PMCID: PMC4437703, DOI: 10.1002/mrm.21191, ISSN: 0740-3194.

Maguire MA, Weaver TW, Damon BM. Delayed blood reoxygenation following maximum voluntary contraction. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Feb; 39(2): 257-67. PMID: 17277589, PII: 00005768-200702000-00007, DOI: 10.1249/01.mss.0000246990.25858.47, ISSN: 0195-9131.

Heemskerk AM and Damon BM. Diffusion Tensor MRI Assessment of Skeletal Muscle Architecture. Current Medical Imaging Reviews. 2007; 3(( )): 152-60.

Heemskerk AM, Damon BM. Diffusion Tensor MRI Assessment of Skeletal Muscle Architecture. Curr Med Imaging Rev. 2007; 3(3): 152-60. PMID: 26236177, PMCID: PMC4520247, DOI: 10.2174/157340507781386988, ISSN: 1573-4056.

Damon BM, Gore JC. Physiological basis of muscle functional MRI: predictions using a computer model. J. Appl. Physiol [print-electronic]. 2005 Jan; 98(1): 264-73. PMID: 15333610, PII: 00369.2004, DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00369.2004, ISSN: 8750-7587.

Damon BM, Gore JC. Biophysical basis of magnetic resonance imaging of small animals. Meth. Enzymol. 2004; 385: 19-40. PMID: 15130731, PII: S007668790485002X, DOI: 10.1016/S0076-6879(04)85002-X, ISSN: 0076-6879.

Damon BM, Gore JC. Biophysical basis of magnetic resonance imaging of small animals. Methods in Enzymology. 2004; 385(()): 19-40.

Wigmore DM, Damon BM, Pober DM, Kent-Braun JA.. MRI Measures of Perfusion-Related Changes in Human Skeletal Muscle During Progressive Contractions. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2004; 97(()): 2385-94.

Damon BM, Wigmore DM, Ding Z, Gore JC, Kent-Braun JA. Cluster analysis of muscle functional MRI data. J. Appl. Physiol [print-electronic]. 2003 Sep; 95(3): 1287-96. PMID: 12766178, PII: 00178.2003, DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00178.2003, ISSN: 8750-7587.

Damon BM, Hsu AC, Stark HJ, Dawson MJ. The carnosine C-2 proton's chemical shift reports intracellular pH in oxidative and glycolytic muscle fibers. Magn Reson Med. 2003 Feb; 49(2): 233-40. PMID: 12541242, DOI: 10.1002/mrm.10384, ISSN: 0740-3194.

Price TB, Kamen G, Damon BM, Knight CA, Applegate B, Gore JC, Eward K, Signorile JF. Comparison of MRI and EMG to study muscle activation by dynamic plantar flexion. Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 2003; 21((8)): 853-61.

Damon BM, Ding Z, Anderson AW, Freyer AS, Gore JC. Validation of diffusion tensor MRI-based muscle fiber tracking. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2002; 48: 97-104.

Ivy JL, Goforth HW, Damon BM, McCauley TR, Parsons EC, Price TB. Early post-exercise muscle glycogen recovery is enhanced with a carbohydrate-protein supplement. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2002; 93: 1337-44.

Damon BM, Gregory CD, Hall KL, Stark HJ, Gulani V, Dawson MJ. Intracellular acidification and volume increases explain 1H R2 decreases during exercise. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2002; 47: 14-23.

Bruce BC, Carragher BO, Damon BM, Dawson MJ, Eurell JA, Gregory CD, Lauterbur PC, Marjanovic MM, Mason-Fossum B, Morris HD, Potter CS, Thakkar U. Chickscope: an interactive MRI classroom curriculum innovation for K-12. Computers and Education Special Issue on Multimedia. 1997; 29: 73-87.