Richard G. Spencer, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Laboratory of Clinical Investigation


251 Bayview Boulevard
Suite 100
Baltimore, MD 21224


Research Topics

The Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy Section (MRISS) performs biophysical and physiological studies on human subjects, experimental animals, and tissue and cellular preparations. Current research includes imaging studies of engineered cartilage tissue, with particular emphasis on correlates between NMR-derived parameters such as matrix fixed charge, magnetization transfer, and local diffusion coefficient, tissue biomechanics, and tissue biochemistry. The response of engineered cartilage to a variety of growth conditions and pharmacologic interventions may be assessed in detail using our methods. We have also initiated studies of cartilage defects in small animals with the goal of investigating biological interventions.


Richard Spencer obtained his Ph.D. in Medical Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1987, working with Professor Joanne Ingwall at the NMR Laboratory for Physiological Chemistry of Harvard Medical School, and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1988. He was a postdoctoral fellow with Professor Robert Griffin at the Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory of MIT before joining the NIH. Dr. Spencer joined the National Institute on Aging in 1991, as Chief of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Unit. He completed medical residency training at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, Maryland.

Selected Publications

  1. Bouhrara M, Bonny JM, Ashinsky BG, Maring MC, Spencer RG. Noise Estimation and Reduction in Magnetic Resonance Imaging Using a New Multispectral Nonlocal Maximum-likelihood Filter. IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2017;36(1):181-193.

  2. Cameron D, Bouhrara M, Reiter DA, Fishbein KW, Choi S, Bergeron CM, Ferrucci L, Spencer RG. The effect of noise and lipid signals on determination of Gaussian and non-Gaussian diffusion parameters in skeletal muscle. NMR Biomed. 2017;30(7).

  3. Bouhrara M, Reiter DA, Celik H, Fishbein KW, Kijowski R, Spencer RG. Analysis of mcDESPOT- and CPMG-derived parameter estimates for two-component nonexchanging systems. Magn Reson Med. 2016;75(6):2406-20.

  4. Ashinsky BG, Coletta CE, Bouhrara M, Lukas VA, Boyle JM, Reiter DA, Neu CP, Goldberg IG, Spencer RG. Machine learning classification of OARSI-scored human articular cartilage using magnetic resonance imaging. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015;23(10):1704-12.

  5. Bouhrara M, Reiter DA, Bergeron CM, Zukley LM, Ferrucci L, Resnick SM, Spencer RG. Evidence of demyelination in mild cognitive impairment and dementia using a direct and specific magnetic resonance imaging measure of myelin content. Alzheimers Dement. 2018.

This page was last updated on August 13th, 2018