A photo of Zackary Cleveland.

Zackary I. Cleveland, PhD

  • Associate Director, Center for Pulmonary Imaging Research
  • Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
  • UC Department of Biomedical Engineering



Although hyperpolarized gases have been used to investigate regional pulmonary structure and function since the late 1990, the technology was not widely disseminated, because it relied on the rare and expensive stable isotope 3He. Dr. Cleveland helped pioneer the use of more readily available 129Xe, paving the way for clinical hyperpolarized gas MRI. Dr. Cleveland also helped expand the limits of preclinical MRI by demonstrating the feasibility of high resolution HP 129Xe imaging in rats and mice and by demonstrating the the first, in vivo molecular imaging applications of HP gases.

PhD: Department of Chemistry, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.

Postdoctoral Fellowship: Department of Radiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Services and Specialties

Cystic Fibrosis Center


Hyperpolarized gases; pulmonary imaging; translational studies; preclinical MRI

Research Areas

Pulmonary Medicine, Imaging, Fibrosis


Short-term structural and functional changes after airway clearance therapy in cystic fibrosis. West, ME; Spielberg, DR; Roach, DJ; Willmering, MM; Bdaiwi, AS; Cleveland, ZI; Woods, JC. Journal of Cystic Fibrosis. 2023; 22:926-932.

B1 and magnetization decay correction for hyperpolarized 129 Xe lung imaging using sequential 2D spiral acquisitions. Bdaiwi, AS; Costa, ML; Plummer, JW; Willmering, MM; Walkup, LL; Cleveland, ZI. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2023; 90:473-482.

Diffusion weighted hyperpolarized 129 Xe MRI of the lung with 2D and 3D (FLORET) spiral. Bdaiwi, AS; Willmering, MM; Wang, H; Cleveland, ZI. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2023; 89:1342-1356.

Childhood to adulthood: Accounting for age dependence in healthy-reference distributions in 129 Xe gas-exchange MRI. Plummer, JW; Willmering, MM; Cleveland, ZI; Towe, C; Woods, JC; Walkup, LL. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2023; 89:1117-1133.

Pediatric 129 Xe Gas-Transfer MRI-Feasibility and Applicability. Willmering, MM; Walkup, LL; Niedbalski, PJ; Wang, H; Wang, Z; Hysinger, EB; Myers, KC; Towe, CT; Driehuys, B; Cleveland, ZI; et al. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 2022; 56:1207-1219.

Improving hyperpolarized 129 Xe ADC mapping in pediatric and adult lungs with uncertainty propagation. Bdaiwi, AS; Niedbalski, PJ; Hossain, MM; Willmering, MM; Walkup, LL; Wang, H; Thomen, RP; Ruppert, K; Woods, JC; Cleveland, ZI. NMR in Biomedicine. 2022; 35:e4639.

Hyperpolarized 129Xenon MRI Ventilation Defect Quantification via Thresholding and Linear Binning in Multiple Pulmonary Diseases. Roach, DJ; Willmering, MM; Plummer, JW; Walkup, LL; Zhang, Y; Hossain, MM; Cleveland, ZI; Woods, JC. Academic Radiology. 2022; 29 Suppl 2:S145-S155.

Protocols for multi-site trials using hyperpolarized 129 Xe MRI for imaging of ventilation, alveolar-airspace size, and gas exchange: A position paper from the 129 Xe MRI clinical trials consortium. Niedbalski, PJ; Hall, CS; Castro, M; Eddy, RL; Rayment, JH; Svenningsen, S; Parraga, G; Zanette, B; Santyr, GE; Thomen, RP; et al. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2021; 86:2966-2986.

Removal of off-resonance xenon gas artifacts in pulmonary gas-transfer MRI. Willmering, MM; Cleveland, ZI; Walkup, LL; Woods, JC. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2021; 86:907-915.

Preclinical MRI to Quantify Pulmonary Disease Severity and Trajectories in Poorly Characterized Mouse Models: A Pedagogical Example Using Data from Novel Transgenic Models of Lung Fibrosis. Stecker, IR; Freeman, MS; Sitaraman, S; Hall, CS; Niedbalski, PJ; Hendricks, AJ; Martin, EP; Weaver, TE; Cleveland, ZI. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Open. 2021; 6-7:100013.