James Michael Provenzale


Professor of Radiology

I have the following major research areas:
I. Diffusion tensor imaging (an MR technique that measures rate and direction of microscopic water motion) to examine white matter pathways in the brain. This technique is used by many investigators in an attempt to understand white matter microstructure. My recent work has centered on the histological correlation of DTI metrics. In addition, because DTI metrics can vary substantially within a single scanner at multiple time points as well as between scanners, my work is focused on understanding causes of such variability and designing methods to decrease it. 
Since 1998, I have mentored third-year students at Duke University School of Medicine (typically one medical student per year) in both DTI research and perfusion imaging research. Although the research techniques are highly advanced, our implementation of various "user-friendly" software programs allows students with little or no prior experience to analyze data in a productive manner. Our research is also well-suited to individuals with advanced computer skills or an interest in biomedical or electrical engineering. Students work closely with research personnel on a daily basis. They also meet with collaborators from various basic science and clinical departments and me in a laboratory meeting once a week. The focus of these meetings is to plan experiments, refine research methods, discuss experimental results and prepare manuscripts. Students serve as first authors or co-authors on manuscripts based on their specific research project. The results of a number of such projects have been published.

II. Applications of nanotechnology to treatment of cancer (both CNS and non-CNS) and brain disorders. My research involves design and implementation of nanoparticles and fluorescent molecules for cancer diagnosis and therapy. Although I am trained as a neurologist and neuroradiologist, most of my nanotechnology-based research is oriented towards non-CNS tumors such as breast cancer and sarcomas. In the past few years, my Emory and Georgia Tech colleagues and I have conducted research using animals with naturally-occurring tumors at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. This work has focused on the use of a handheld device to detect fluorophores that are administered intravenously prior to surgery. We are presently validating the use of this combination of imaging device and contrast agent to guide surgical resection of tumors. I am also interested in development of nanotechnology-based non-invasive and minimally invasive devices that can continuously monitor tumor physiological characteristics and response to therapy. This work is done in conjunction with a number of colleagues in Biomedical Engineering at both Duke and Emory and supported by a number of NIH grants. Finally, I have a strong interest in use of nanotechnology for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. 

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Professor of Radiology
  • Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 1533 Hosp North, Durham, NC
  • Office Phone: +1 919 684 7409
  • Email Address: prove001@mc.duke.edu


  • M.D. Albany Medical College, 1983

Representative Publications

  • Provenzale, JM; Isaacson, J; Chen, S; Stinnett, S; Liu, C, Correlation of apparent diffusion coefficient and fractional anisotropy values in the developing infant brain., AJR Am J Roentgenol, vol 195 no. 6 (2010), pp. W456-W462 [10.2214/AJR.10.4886] [abs].
  • Mohs, AM; Mancini, MC; Singhal, S; Provenzale, JM; Leyland-Jones, B; Wang, MD; Nie, S, Hand-held spectroscopic device for in vivo and intraoperative tumor detection: contrast enhancement, detection sensitivity, and tissue penetration., Anal Chem, vol 82 no. 21 (2010), pp. 9058-9065 [10.1021/ac102058k] [abs].
  • Mohs, AM; Provenzale, JM, Applications of nanotechnology to imaging and therapy of brain tumors., Neuroimaging Clin N Am, vol 20 no. 3 (2010), pp. 283-292 [10.1016/j.nic.2010.04.002] [abs].
  • Provenzale, JM; Ison, C; Delong, D, Bidimensional measurements in brain tumors: assessment of interobserver variability., AJR Am J Roentgenol, vol 193 no. 6 (2009), pp. W515-W522 [10.2214/AJR.09.2615] [abs].
  • Provenzale, JM; Silva, GA, Uses of nanoparticles for central nervous system imaging and therapy., AJNR Am J Neuroradiol, vol 30 no. 7 (2009), pp. 1293-1301 [10.3174/ajnr.A1590] [abs].
  • Crow, MJ; Grant, G; Provenzale, JM; Wax, A, Molecular imaging and quantitative measurement of epidermal growth factor receptor expression in live cancer cells using immunolabeled gold nanoparticles., AJR Am J Roentgenol, vol 192 no. 4 (2009), pp. 1021-1028 [10.2214/AJR.07.3535] [abs].
  • Madden, DJ; Spaniol, J; Costello, MC; Bucur, B; White, LE; Cabeza, R; Davis, SW; Dennis, NA; Provenzale, JM; Huettel, SA, Cerebral white matter integrity mediates adult age differences in cognitive performance., J Cogn Neurosci, vol 21 no. 2 (2009), pp. 289-302 [10.1162/jocn.2009.21047] [abs].
  • Viola, RJ; Provenzale, JM; Li, F; Li, C-Y; Yuan, H; Tashjian, J; Dewhirst, MW, In vivo bioluminescence imaging monitoring of hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha, a promoter that protects cells, in response to chemotherapy., AJR Am J Roentgenol, vol 191 no. 6 (2008), pp. 1779-1784 [10.2214/AJR.07.4060] [abs].
  • Sampson, JH; Akabani, G; Archer, GE; Berger, MS; Coleman, RE; Friedman, AH; Friedman, HS; Greer, K; Herndon, JE; Kunwar, S; McLendon, RE; Paolino, A; Petry, NA; Provenzale, JM; Reardon, DA; Wong, TZ; Zalutsky, MR; Pastan, I; Bigner, DD, Intracerebral infusion of an EGFR-targeted toxin in recurrent malignant brain tumors., Neuro Oncol, vol 10 no. 3 (2008), pp. 320-329 [10.1215/15228517-2008-012] [abs].
  • Provenzale, JM; Liang, L; DeLong, D; White, LE, Diffusion tensor imaging assessment of brain white matter maturation during the first postnatal year., AJR Am J Roentgenol, vol 189 no. 2 (2007), pp. 476-486 [10.2214/AJR.07.2132] [abs].
  • Beam, D; Poe, MD; Provenzale, JM; Szabolcs, P; Martin, PL; Prasad, V; Parikh, S; Driscoll, T; Mukundan, S; Kurtzberg, J; Escolar, ML, Outcomes of unrelated umbilical cord blood transplantation for X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy., Biol Blood Marrow Transplant, vol 13 no. 6 (2007), pp. 665-674 [10.1016/j.bbmt.2007.01.082] [abs].
  • Madden, DJ; Spaniol, J; Whiting, WL; Bucur, B; Provenzale, JM; Cabeza, R; White, LE; Huettel, SA, Adult age differences in the functional neuroanatomy of visual attention: a combined fMRI and DTI study., Neurobiol Aging, vol 28 no. 3 (2007), pp. 459-476 [10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2006.01.005] [abs].
  • Provenzale, JM, Imaging of angiogenesis: clinical techniques and novel imaging methods., AJR Am J Roentgenol, vol 188 no. 1 (2007), pp. 11-23 [10.2214/AJR.06.0280] [abs].
  • Provenzale, JM; Mukundan, S; Barboriak, DP, Diffusion-weighted and perfusion MR imaging for brain tumor characterization and assessment of treatment response., Radiology, vol 239 no. 3 (2006), pp. 632-649 [10.1148/radiol.2393042031] [abs].
  • Provenzale, JM; Mukundan, S; Dewhirst, M, The role of blood-brain barrier permeability in brain tumor imaging and therapeutics., AJR Am J Roentgenol, vol 185 no. 3 (2005), pp. 763-767 [10.2214/ajr.185.3.01850763] [abs].
  • Kealey, SM; Kim, Y; Whiting, WL; Madden, DJ; Provenzale, JM, Determination of multiple sclerosis plaque size with diffusion-tensor MR Imaging: comparison study with healthy volunteers., Radiology, vol 236 no. 2 (2005), pp. 615-620 [10.1148/radiol.2362040014] [abs].
  • McGraw, P; Liang, L; Escolar, M; Mukundan, S; Kurtzberg, J; Provenzale, JM, Krabbe disease treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: serial assessment of anisotropy measurements--initial experience., Radiology, vol 236 no. 1 (2005), pp. 221-230 [10.1148/radiol.2353040716] [abs].
  • Provenzale, JM; Mukundan, S, Getting small is suddenly very big: review of the proceedings of the third annual meeting of the Society for Molecular Imaging., AJR Am J Roentgenol, vol 184 no. 6 (2005), pp. 1736-1739 [10.2214/ajr.184.6.01841736] [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 Res, vol 139 no. 1 (2005), pp. 1-7 [10.1016/j.pscychresns.2004.08.004] [abs].
  • Provenzale, JM, Introduction to the AJR Technology Forum: issues, controversies & utility of PET/CT imaging., AJR Am J Roentgenol, vol 184 no. 5 Suppl (2005) [10.2214/ajr.184.5_supplement.01840sii] [abs].
  • York, G; Barboriak, D; Petrella, J; DeLong, D; Provenzale, JM, Association of internal carotid artery injury with carotid canal fractures in patients with head trauma., AJR Am J Roentgenol, vol 184 no. 5 (2005), pp. 1672-1678 [10.2214/ajr.184.5.01841672] [abs].
  • Holmes, TM; Petrella, JR; Provenzale, JM, Distinction between cerebral abscesses and high-grade neoplasms by dynamic susceptibility contrast perfusion MRI., AJR Am J Roentgenol, vol 183 no. 5 (2004), pp. 1247-1252 [10.2214/ajr.183.5.1831247] [abs].
  • Provenzale, JM; McGraw, P; Mhatre, P; Guo, AC; Delong, D, Peritumoral brain regions in gliomas and meningiomas: investigation with isotropic diffusion-weighted MR imaging and diffusion-tensor MR imaging., Radiology, vol 232 no. 2 (2004), pp. 451-460 [10.1148/radiol.2322030959] [abs].
  • Kealey, SM; Kim, Y; Provenzale, JM, Redefinition of multiple sclerosis plaque size using diffusion tensor MRI., AJR Am J Roentgenol, vol 183 no. 2 (2004), pp. 497-503 [10.2214/ajr.183.2.1830497] [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., Am J Psychiatry, vol 161 no. 7 (2004), pp. 1293-1296 [10.1176/appi.ajp.161.7.1293] [abs].