Murali Krishna Cherukuri, Ph.D.

Murali Krishna Cherukuri, Ph.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute
Radiation Biology Branch


Dr. Murali Krishna Cherukuri obtained his Ph.D. in Physics (Magnetic Resonance) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, in 1984. He joined the Radiation Biology Branch, NCI, in the same year. Upon being tenured, he became a Senior investigator in 1993. His research interests concentrate on molecular imaging tools to study tumor the tumor microenvironment. 

The solid tumor microenvironment with its aberrant neo-vasculature is characterized by high interstitial fluid pressure, low pH, low pO2 (hypoxia) and elevated aerobic glycolysis. These unique physiologic and metabolic features in tumors contribute to resistant to radiotherapy, chemotherapy and also provide conditions for metastasis. A priori information about such features by imaging aids in a better understanding of the tumor microenvironment and help design appropriate treatments.  Efforts of our group are to develop and implement molecular imaging techniques which can characterize the tumor microenvironment on a physiologic and metabolic basis. Experience from pre-clinical studies will be translated to the clinic.

We have developed low field magnetic resonance (Electron Paramagnetic Resonance) imaging technology which is the only imaging technique which can provide tissue oxygen maps quantitatively and probe changes in tumor oxygenation dynamically as well as longitudinally in response to treatment. It is currently implemented for small animal imaging research. Efforts are underway for imaging scale up for human studies.    

Our group is also among a handful of research groups involved in a unique imaging research called hyperpolarized MRI using 13C labeled endogenous molecules such as pyruvate which enable imaging enzyme activities associated such as LDHA which is elevated in tumors as well as enzymes in the citric acid cycle. This is used in our lab for pre-clinical studies as well as clinical studies within CCR.

Areas of Expertise


Selected Recent Publications

Molecular Imaging of the Tumor Microenvironment reveals the Relationship between Tumor Oxygenation, Glucose Uptake and Glycolysis in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Yamamoto K, Brender JR, Seki T, Kishimoto S, Oshima N, Choudhuri R, Adler SS, Jagoda E, Saito K, Devasahayam N, Choyke PL, Mitchell JB, Krishna MC
Cancer Res. [Epub ahead of print], 2020. [ Journal Article ]

Dynamic Imaging of LDH Inhibition in Tumors Reveals Rapid In Vivo Metabolic Rewiring and Vulnerability to Combination Therapy

Oshima N, Ishida R, Kishimoto S, Beebe K, Brender JR, Yamamoto K, Urban D, Rai G, Johnson MS, Benavides G, Squadrito GL, Crooks D, Jackson J, Joshi A, Mott BT, Shrimp JH, Moses MA, Lee MJ, Yuno A, Lee TD, Hu X, Anderson T, Kusewitt D, Hathaway HH, Jadhav A, Picard D, Trepel JB, Mitchell JB, Stott GM, Moore W, Simeonov A, Sklar LA, Norenberg JP, Linehan WM, Maloney DJ, Dang CV, Waterson AG, Hall M, Darley-Usmar VM, Krishna MC, Neckers LM
Cell Rep. 30(6): 1798-1810, 2020. [ Journal Article ]

Imaging of glucose metabolism by 13C-MRI distinguishes pancreatic cancer subtypes in mice

Kishimoto S, Brender JR, Crooks DR, Matsumoto S, Seki T, Oshima N, Merkle H, Lin P, Reed G, Chen AP, Ardenkjaer-Larsen JH, Munasinghe J, Saito K, Yamamoto K, Choyke PL, Mitchell J, Lane AN, Fan TW, Linehan WM, Krishna MC
eLife. 8: e46312, 2019. [ Journal Article ]

A Multimodal Molecular Imaging Study Evaluates Pharmacological Alteration of the Tumor Microenvironment to Improve Radiation Response

Takakusagi Y, Naz S, Takakusagi K, Ishima M, Murata H, Ohta K, Miura M, Sugawara F, Sakaguchi K, Kishimoto S, Munasinghe JP, Mitchell JB, Krishna MC
Cancer Res. 78(24): 6828-37, 2018. [ Journal Article ]

Metabolic and Physiologic Imaging Biomarkers of the Tumor Microenvironment Predict Treatment Outcome with Radiation or a Hypoxia-Activated Prodrug in Mice

Matsumoto S, Kishimoto S, Saito K, Takakusagi Y, Munasinghe JP, Devasahayam N, Hart CP, Gillies RJ, Mitchell JB, Krishna MC
Cancer Res. 78(14): 3783-3792, 2018. [ Journal Article ]

Job Vacancies

We have no open positions in our group at this time, please check back later.

To see all available positions at CCR, take a look at our Careers page. You can also subscribe to receive CCR's latest job and training opportunities in your inbox.


Research Fellow
Jeffrey Brender, Ph.D.
Research Fellow
Shun Kishimoto, M.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Yasunori Otowa, Ph.D.
Staff Scientist
Kazutoshi Yamamoto, Ph.D.


Learn more about CCR research advances, new discoveries and more
on our news section.