James R. MacFall

James R. MacFall

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Radiology

My research centers on application and/or development of image processing and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques for a variety of biomedical focus areas in Psychiatry, Oncology, Lung Disorders and Pediatric Neurological Disorders:
Psychiatry: Research is focused on improving automated methods of brain tissue identification and volume measurement using magnetic resonance images in the context of a study of depression in aging. Similar work is ongoing in bipolar disorder. We are also developing ways to use diffusion tensor imaging to assess the damage caused by vascular lesions to white matter tracts.
Oncology: Research efforts center on how to best quantitate MRI-based diffusion and perfusion parameters and apply them to predicting the course and outcome of cancer therapy. Current efforts involve developing robust algorithms for removing distortion from echo-planar MR diffusion images and producing high resolution MR diffusion images on our research 3 Tesla MR imaging system (Center for Advanced MR Development, CAMRD). I am also collaborating with Radiologists and Oncologists to develop rapid quantitation of tumor vascular permeability and relate changes in the permeability to a variety of vascular targeted therapies in clinical trials. A second effort centers on using MRI to monitor temperature and other tissue parameters during hyperthermia therapy.
Pediatric Neurology/Psychiatry: I am collaborating with researchers at Duke to use MRI methods to evaluate childhood epilepsy, addictions, trauma and abuse. Some of these involve multi-site studies. We are developing ways to use new technology available for advanced analysis and data mining  for such multi-site research.
All of this work is very collaborative between technology oriented and disease oriented researchers. There are continuing opportunities in my group for student research with subsets of data currently under analysis.
Lung Disorders: The lung is particularly challenging to image with MRI. I am collaborating with colleagues to develop MRI methods to image the lungs to provide non-invasive biomarkers for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD).

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Adjunct Professor in the Department of Radiology
  • Affiliate of the Center for Brain Imaging and Analysis

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 1812C Hosp North, Durham, NC 27710
  • Office Phone: (919) 684-7808
  • Email Address: james.macfall@duke.edu


  • Ph.D. University of Maryland, College Park, 1976
  • M.S. University of Maryland, College Park, 1971
  • B.A. Northwestern University, 1967

Research Interests

MacFall's research centers on application and/or development of image processing and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques for a variety of biomedical focus areas in psychiatry, oncology, lung disorders and pediatric neurological disorders.


Medical Imaging

Courses Taught

  • MEDPHY 530: Modern Medical Diagnostic Imaging System
  • MEDPHY 731: Advanced Medical Imaging Physics

Representative Publications

  • Taylor, WD; Zhao, Z; Ashley-Koch, A; Payne, ME; Steffens, DC; Krishnan, RR; Hauser, E; MacFall, JR, Fiber tract-specific white matter lesion severity Findings in late-life depression and by AGTR1 A1166C genotype., Human Brain Mapping, vol 34 no. 2 (2013), pp. 295-303 [10.1002/hbm.21445] [abs].
  • Craciunescu, OI; Yoo, DS; Cleland, E; Muradyan, N; Carroll, MD; MacFall, JR; Barboriak, DP; Brizel, DM, Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI in head-and-neck cancer: the impact of region of interest selection on the intra- and interpatient variability of pharmacokinetic parameters., International Journal of Radiation: Oncology - Biology - Physics, vol 82 no. 3 (2012), pp. e345-e350 [10.1016/j.ijrobp.2011.05.059] [abs].
  • Chi, J-T; Thrall, DE; Jiang, C; Snyder, S; Fels, D; Landon, C; McCall, L; Lan, L; Hauck, M; MacFall, JR; Viglianti, BL; Dewhirst, MW, Comparison of genomics and functional imaging from canine sarcomas treated with thermoradiotherapy predicts therapeutic response and identifies combination therapeutics., Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, vol 17 no. 8 (2011), pp. 2549-2560 [10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-2583] [abs].
  • Taylor, WD; Macfall, JR; Boyd, B; Payne, ME; Sheline, YI; Krishnan, RR; Murali Doraiswamy, P, One-year change in anterior cingulate cortex white matter microstructure: relationship with late-life depression outcomes., American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, vol 19 no. 1 (2011), pp. 43-52 [10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181e70cec] [abs].
  • Wyatt, CR; Soher, BJ; MacFall, JR, Correction of breathing-induced errors in magnetic resonance thermometry of hyperthermia using multiecho field fitting techniques., Medical physics, vol 37 no. 12 (2010), pp. 6300-6309 [10.1118/1.3515462] [abs].
  • Soher, BJ; Wyatt, C; Reeder, SB; MacFall, JR, Noninvasive temperature mapping with MRI using chemical shift water-fat separation., Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, vol 63 no. 5 (2010), pp. 1238-1246 [10.1002/mrm.22310] [abs].
  • Benjamin, S; McQuoid, DR; Potter, GG; Payne, ME; MacFall, JR; Steffens, DC; Taylor, WD, The brain-derived neurotrophic factor Val66Met polymorphism, hippocampal volume, and cognitive function in geriatric depression., American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, vol 18 no. 4 (2010), pp. 323-331 [10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181cabd2b] [abs].
  • Sheline, YI; Pieper, CF; Barch, DM; Welsh-Bohmer, K; McKinstry, RC; MacFall, JR; D'Angelo, G; Garcia, KS; Gersing, K; Wilkins, C; Taylor, W; Steffens, DC; Krishnan, RR; Doraiswamy, PM, Support for the vascular depression hypothesis in late-life depression: results of a 2-site, prospective, antidepressant treatment trial., Archives of General Psychiatry, vol 67 no. 3 (2010), pp. 277-285 [10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.204] [abs].
  • Craciunescu, OI; Stauffer, PR; Soher, BJ; Wyatt, CR; Arabe, O; Maccarini, P; Das, SK; Cheng, K-S; Wong, TZ; Jones, EL; Dewhirst, MW; Vujaskovic, Z; MacFall, JR, Accuracy of real time noninvasive temperature measurements using magnetic resonance thermal imaging in patients treated for high grade extremity soft tissue sarcomas., Medical physics, vol 36 no. 11 (2009), pp. 4848-4858 [10.1118/1.3227506] [abs].
  • Hazlett, HC; Poe, MD; Lightbody, AA; Gerig, G; Macfall, JR; Ross, AK; Provenzale, J; Martin, A; Reiss, AL; Piven, J, Teasing apart the heterogeneity of autism: Same behavior, different brains in toddlers with fragile X syndrome and autism., Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, vol 1 no. 1 (2009), pp. 81-90 [10.1007/s11689-009-9009-8] [abs].
  • Craciunescu, OI; Blackwell, KL; Jones, EL; Macfall, JR; Yu, D; Vujaskovic, Z; Wong, TZ; Liotcheva, V; Rosen, EL; Prosnitz, LR; Samulski, TV; Dewhirst, MW, DCE-MRI parameters have potential to predict response of locally advanced breast cancer patients to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and hyperthermia: a pilot study., International Journal of Hyperthermia (Informa), vol 25 no. 6 (2009), pp. 405-415 [10.1080/02656730903022700] [abs].
  • Kim, KW; MacFall, JR; Payne, ME, Classification of white matter lesions on magnetic resonance imaging in elderly persons., Biological Psychiatry, vol 64 no. 4 (2008), pp. 273-280 [10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.03.024] [abs].
  • Barboriak, DP; MacFall, JR; Viglianti, BL; Dewhirst Dvm, MW, Comparison of three physiologically-based pharmacokinetic models for the prediction of contrast agent distribution measured by dynamic MR imaging., Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, vol 27 no. 6 (2008), pp. 1388-1398 [10.1002/jmri.21344] [abs].
  • Zhao, Z; Taylor, WD; Styner, M; Steffens, DC; Krishnan, KRR; MacFall, JR, Hippocampus shape analysis and late-life depression., PloS one, vol 3 no. 3 (2008) [10.1371/journal.pone.0001837] [abs].
  • Taylor, WD; Macfall, JR; Payne, ME; McQuoid, DR; Steffens, DC; Provenzale, JM; Krishnan, KRR, Orbitofrontal cortex volume in late life depression: influence of hyperintense lesions and genetic polymorphisms., Psychological Medicine, vol 37 no. 12 (2007), pp. 1763-1773 [10.1017/S0033291707000128] [abs].
  • MacFall, JR; Soher, BJ, From the RSNA refresher courses: MR imaging in hyperthermia., Radiographics : a review publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc, vol 27 no. 6 (2007), pp. 1809-1818 [10.1148/rg.276075097] [abs].
  • Taylor, WD; MacFall, JR; Gerig, G; Krishnan, RR, Structural integrity of the uncinate fasciculus in geriatric depression: Relationship with age of onset., Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, vol 3 no. 5 (2007), pp. 669-674 [abs].
  • Bae, JN; MacFall, JR; Krishnan, KRR; Payne, ME; Steffens, DC; Taylor, WD, Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex white matter alterations in late-life depression., Biological Psychiatry, vol 60 no. 12 (2006), pp. 1356-1363 [10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.03.052] [abs].
  • Viglianti, BL; Ponce, AM; Michelich, CR; Yu, D; Abraham, SA; Sanders, L; Yarmolenko, PS; Schroeder, T; MacFall, JR; Barboriak, DP; Colvin, OM; Bally, MB; Dewhirst, MW, Chemodosimetry of in vivo tumor liposomal drug concentration using MRI., Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, vol 56 no. 5 (2006), pp. 1011-1018 [10.1002/mrm.21032] [abs].
  • Michelich, CR; Song, AW; Macfall, JR, Dependence of gradient-echo and spin-echo BOLD fMRI at 4 T on diffusion weighting., Nmr in Biomedicine, vol 19 no. 5 (2006), pp. 566-572 [10.1002/nbm.1035] [abs].
  • MacFall, JR; Taylor, WD; Rex, DE; Pieper, S; Payne, ME; McQuoid, DR; Steffens, DC; Kikinis, R; Toga, AW; Krishnan, KRR, Lobar distribution of lesion volumes in late-life depression: the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN)., Neuropsychopharmacology (Nature), vol 31 no. 7 (2006), pp. 1500-1507 [10.1038/sj.npp.1300986] [abs].
  • Taylor, WD; MacFall, JR; Payne, ME; McQuoid, DR; Steffens, DC; Provenzale, JM; Krishnan, RR, Greater MRI lesion volumes in elderly depressed subjects than in control subjects., Psychiatry Research, vol 139 no. 1 (2005), pp. 1-7 [10.1016/j.pscychresns.2004.08.004] [abs].
  • Taylor, WD; MacFall, JR; Payne, ME; McQuoid, DR; Provenzale, JM; Steffens, DC; Krishnan, KRR, Late-life depression and microstructural abnormalities in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex white matter., American Journal of Psychiatry, vol 161 no. 7 (2004), pp. 1293-1296 [10.1176/appi.ajp.161.7.1293] [abs].
  • Viglianti, BL; Abraham, SA; Michelich, CR; Yarmolenko, PS; MacFall, JR; Bally, MB; Dewhirst, MW, In vivo monitoring of tissue pharmacokinetics of liposome/drug using MRI: illustration of targeted delivery., Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, vol 51 no. 6 (2004), pp. 1153-1162 [10.1002/mrm.20074] [abs].
  • Taylor, WD; Hsu, E; Krishnan, KRR; MacFall, JR, Diffusion tensor imaging: background, potential, and utility in psychiatric research., Biological Psychiatry, vol 55 no. 3 (2004), pp. 201-207 [abs].
  • Taylor, WD; MacFall, JR; Provenzale, JM; Payne, ME; McQuoid, DR; Steffens, DC; Krishnan, KRR, Serial MR imaging of volumes of hyperintense white matter lesions in elderly patients: correlation with vascular risk factors., AJR. American journal of roentgenology, vol 181 no. 2 (2003), pp. 571-576 [10.2214/ajr.181.2.1810571] [abs].
  • Taylor, WD; MacFall, JR; Steffens, DC; Payne, ME; Provenzale, JM; Krishnan, KRR, Localization of age-associated white matter hyperintensities in late-life depression., Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, vol 27 no. 3 (2003), pp. 539-544 [10.1016/S0278-5846(02)00358-5] [abs].
  • Hsieh, M-H; McQuoid, DR; Levy, RM; Payne, ME; MacFall, JR; Steffens, DC, Hippocampal volume and antidepressant response in geriatric depression., International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, vol 17 no. 6 (2002), pp. 519-525 [10.1002/gps.611] [abs].
  • Guo, AC; MacFall, JR; Provenzale, JM, Multiple sclerosis: diffusion tensor MR imaging for evaluation of normal-appearing white matter., Radiology, vol 222 no. 3 (2002), pp. 729-736 [10.1148/radiol.2223010311] [abs].
  • Lewis, DV; Barboriak, DP; MacFall, JR; Provenzale, JM; Mitchell, TV; VanLandingham, KE, Do prolonged febrile seizures produce medial temporal sclerosis? Hypotheses, MRI evidence and unanswered questions., Progress in Brain Research, vol 135 (2002), pp. 263-278 [abs].
  • Steffens, DC; Bosworth, HB; Provenzale, JM; MacFall, JR, Subcortical white matter lesions and functional impairment in geriatric depression., Depression and Anxiety, vol 15 no. 1 (2002), pp. 23-28 [abs].
  • MacFall, JR; Payne, ME; Provenzale, JE; Krishnan, KR, Medial orbital frontal lesions in late-onset depression., Biological Psychiatry, vol 49 no. 9 (2001), pp. 803-806 [abs].
  • Engelter, ST; Provenzale, JM; Petrella, JR; DeLong, DM; MacFall, JR, The effect of aging on the apparent diffusion coefficient of normal-appearing white matter., AJR. American journal of roentgenology, vol 175 no. 2 (2000), pp. 425-430 [10.2214/ajr.175.2.1750425] [abs].
  • Kao, YH; MacFall, JR, Correction of MR kappa-space data corrupted by spike noise., IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, vol 19 no. 7 (2000), pp. 671-680 [abs].
  • Craciunescu, OI; Samulski, TV; MacFall, JR; Clegg, ST, Perturbations in hyperthermia temperature distributions associated with counter-current flow: numerical simulations and empirical verification., IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, vol 47 no. 4 (2000), pp. 435-443 [10.1109/10.828143] [abs].
  • Vujaskovic, Z; Poulson, JM; Gaskin, AA; Thrall, DE; Page, RL; Charles, HC; MacFall, JR; Brizel, DM; Meyer, RE; Prescott, DM; Samulski, TV; Dewhirst, MW, Temperature-dependent changes in physiologic parameters of spontaneous canine soft tissue sarcomas after combined radiotherapy and hyperthermia treatment., International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, vol 46 no. 1 (2000), pp. 179-185 [abs].
  • Donnelly, LF; MacFall, JR; McAdams, HP; Majure, JM; Smith, J; Frush, DP; Bogonad, P; Charles, HC; Ravin, CE, Cystic fibrosis: combined hyperpolarized 3He-enhanced and conventional proton MR imaging in the lung--preliminary observations., Radiology, vol 212 no. 3 (1999), pp. 885-889 [10.1148/radiology.212.3.r99se20885] [abs].
  • Kao, YH; Wan, X; MacFall, JR, Simultaneous multislice acquisition with arterial-flow tagging (SMART) using echo planar imaging (EPI)., Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, vol 39 no. 4 (1998), pp. 662-665 [abs].
  • Carter, DL; MacFall, JR; Clegg, ST; Wan, X; Prescott, DM; Charles, HC; Samulski, TV, Magnetic resonance thermometry during hyperthermia for human high-grade sarcoma., International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, vol 40 no. 4 (1998), pp. 815-822 [abs].
  • MacFall, JR; Prescott, DM; Charles, HC; Samulski, TV, 1H MRI phase thermometry in vivo in canine brain, muscle, and tumor tissue., Medical physics, vol 23 no. 10 (1996), pp. 1775-1782 [10.1118/1.597760] [abs].
  • MacFall, JR; Charles, HC; Black, RD; Middleton, H; Swartz, JC; Saam, B; Driehuys, B; Erickson, C; Happer, W; Cates, GD; Johnson, GA; Ravin, CE, Human lung air spaces: potential for MR imaging with hyperpolarized He-3., Radiology, vol 200 no. 2 (1996), pp. 553-558 [10.1148/radiology.200.2.8685356] [abs].
  • MacFall, JR; Byrum, CE; Parashos, I; Early, B; Charles, HC; Chittilla, V; Boyko, OB; Upchurch, L; Krishnan, KR, Relative accuracy and reproducibility of regional MRI brain volumes for point-counting methods., Psychiatry Research, vol 55 no. 3 (1994), pp. 167-177 [abs].
  • Foo, TK; MacFall, JR; Sostman, HD; Hayes, CE, Single-breath-hold venous or arterial flow-suppressed pulmonary vascular MR imaging with phased-array coils., Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, vol 3 no. 4 (1993), pp. 611-616 [abs].
  • Wu, JJ; MacFall, JR; Sostman, HD; Hedlund, LW, Clot-blood contrast in fast gradient-echo magnetic resonance imaging., Investigative Radiology, vol 28 no. 7 (1993), pp. 586-593 [abs].
  • Foo, TK; MacFall, JR; Hayes, CE; Sostman, HD; Slayman, BE, Pulmonary vasculature: single breath-hold MR imaging with phased-array coils., Radiology, vol 183 no. 2 (1992), pp. 473-477 [10.1148/radiology.183.2.1561352] [abs].
  • MacFall, JR; Sostman, HD; Foo, TK, Thick-section, single breath-hold magnetic resonance pulmonary angiography., Investigative Radiology, vol 27 no. 4 (1992), pp. 318-322 [abs].