J. Thomas "Tommy" Vaughan, Jr.


351 Engineering Terrace
Mail Code 8904

Tel(212) 853-1157
Fax(212) 854-8725

J. Thomas "Tommy" Vaughan, Jr. joined Columbia as Director of Magnetic Resonance Research in 2016 to launch a new university-wide initiative to develop and apply MR methods and technologies to advance biomedical research and clinical diagnostics. He is a leading pioneer in MR and its utility for science and medicine.  

Research Interests

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), , functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); MR systems, MR magnets, , radiofrequency subsystems and coils for MR; MR applications including neuroimaging, cardiac imaging and breast imaging; MR safety.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are used to noninvasively observe the human anatomy, metabolism, and mind in states of health, disease, and therapeutic intervention.  These powerful new research tools will be developed in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and applied to basic research at the Zuckerman Mind, Brain, Behavior Institute and to translational research at the Columbia University Medical Center.

Vaughan was recruited from the University of Minnesota where he held the Quist-Henline Chair in Biomedical Research and was Director of Engineering at the Center of Magnetic Resonance Research, with appointments in Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering.  Vaughan has enjoyed a thirty-year career in academic research at UT Southwestern, U. Alabama Birmingham, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard, and U. Minnesota.  In addition to the research centers he’s helped to found and build at these institutions, his achievements are recorded in 120 articles, a number of books and chapters, and 45 patents.  Thomas Vaughan is a Fellow in IEEE and ISMRM societies, on the editorial board of NMR in Biomedicine, active in the NIH and journal peer review, and CTO of two small biotech businesses, including one, MR Safe Devices, LLC. 


  • Pioneer of High Field MRI, MRS, fMRI Technologies, Methods, Applications
  • PI, Lead Engineer for MR Systems Development, 1.5T, 2T, 4T, 7T, 9.4T, 10.5T.
  • Co-founder, Principal of 5 MR Research Laboratories


  • Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, 2016–
  • Professor and Lillian Quist–Joyce Henline Chair, Biomedical Research, University of Minnesota,
  • Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, 1995–1999
  • Assistant Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1989–1995


  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM)


  • Lillian Quist-Henline Chair in Biomedical Research, University of Minnesota Medical School, 2015
  • Fellow, IEEE
  • Fellow, ISMRM


  • J. T. Vaughan, H. P. Hetherington, J. O. Otu, J. W. Pan, and G. M. Pohost, "High frequency volume coils for clinical NMR imaging and spectroscopy," Magn Reson Med, vol. 32, pp. 206-18, Aug. 1994. PMID: 7968443
  • J. T. Vaughan, M. G. Garwood, C. M. Collins, W. Liu, L. J. DelaBarre, G. Adriany, P. Anderson, H. Merkle, R. Goebel, M.B. Smith, K. Ugurbil,  "7T vs. 4T: RF power, homogeneity, and signal-to-noise comparison in head images," Magn Reson Med, vol. 46, pp. 24-30, Jul. 2001. PMID: 11443707
  • J. T. Vaughan, L. J. DelaBarre, C. J. Snyder, J. Tian, C. E. Akgun, D. Shrivastava, W. Liu, C. Olson, G. Adriany, J. Strupp, P. Andersen, A. Gopinath, P.F. van de Moortele, M. Garwood, K Ugurbil, "9.4T human MRI: preliminary results," Magn Reson Med, vol. 56, pp. 1274-1282, Dec. 2006. PMID: 17075852
  • J. J. Suttie, L. J. DelaBarre, A. Pitcher, P.-F. Van de Moortele, S. Dass, C. J. Snyder, J.M. Francis, G.J. Metzger, P. Weale, K. Ugurbil, M. Robson, T. Vaughan. "7 Tesla (T) human cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging using FLASH and SSFP to assess cardiac function: validation against 1.5 T and 3 T," NMR Biomed, vol. 25, pp. 27-34, Jan. 2012. PMID: 21774009
  • D. Shrivastava, L. Utecht, J. Tian, J. Hughes, and J. T. Vaughan, "In vivo radiofrequency heating in swine in 3T (123.2-MHz) birdcage whole body coil," Magn Reson Med, vol 72(4) pp.1141-1150 Oct. 2014  PMID: 24259413
  • Sohn S-M, Vaughan JT, Lagore RL, Garwood M, Idiyatullin D. “In vivo MR imaging with simultaneous RF transmission and reception,” Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2016. (In Early view, DOI: 10.1002/mrm.26464)