Skip to main content
Puneet Bagga, PhD
Puneet Bagga, PhD

Puneet Bagga, PhD

Assistant Member, St. Jude Faculty

  • Director, Metabolic Imaging Research Hub



Postdoctoral Fellowship – Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
PhD – Jawaharlal Nehru University
BE – Punjab University

Honors & Awards 

  • 2016  Junior Fellow of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
  • 2016  Suma cum Laude at ISMRM

Research Interests

  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Molecular MRI
  • Cancer metabolism and in vivo biomarkers

My laboratory is interested in developing non-invasive techniques to image cellular metabolic pathways in cancer. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a great tool to detect biochemical changes non-invasively. Combining regular 1H MRS with administration of non-radioactive substrates including 2H/13C labeled glucose and acetate has been shown as a promising non-invasive approach to evaluate cellular metabolism. Our goal is to extend the 1H/multinuclear MRS studies and firstly apply them to preclinical patient derived xenograft models to ultimately design clinically translatable MRS methods.

Further, imaging certain molecules may provide important information regarding the physiological condition of a tissue. Chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) MRI is a contemporary technique with tremendous potential in imaging neurotransmitters (GluCEST), cellular oxidative phosphorylation (CrCEST), cancer metabolism (GlucoCEST), cancer pathophysiology (APT/NOE) and so on. Our goal is to extend the molecular MRI studies including CEST and PET to design clinically translatable tools for assisting oncologists/neurologists in decision making regarding therapeutic approaches and evaluating treatment progress. 

Selected Publications

Li Y, Steinberg J, Coleman Z, Wang S, Subramanian C, Li Y, Patay Z, Akers W, Rock CO, Jackowski S, Bagga P. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy detects cerebral metabolic derangement in a mouse model of brain coenzyme A deficiency. J Transl Med 20(1):103, 2022.

Cember ATJ, Wilson NE, Rich LJ, Bagga P, Nanga RPR, Swago S, Swain A, Thakuri D, Elliot M, Schnall MD, Detre JA, Reddy R. Integrating 1H MRS and deuterium labeled glucose for mapping the dynamics of neural metabolism in humans. Neuroimage 118977, 2022.

Driscoll N, Erickson B, Murphy BB, Richardson AG, Robbins G, Apollo NV, Mentzelopoulos G, Mathis T, Hantanasirisakul K, Bagga P, Gullbrand SE, Sergison M, Reddy R, Wolf JA, Chen HI, Lucas TH, Dillingham TR, Davis KA, Gogotsi Y, Medaglia JD, Vitale F. MXene-infused bioelectronic interfaces for multiscale electrophysiology and stimulation. Sci Transl Med Sep 22;13(612):eabf8629, 2021. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abf8629. Epub Sep 22, 2021.

Amjad S, Nisar S, Bhat AA, Shah AR, Frenneaux MP, Fakhro K, Haris M, Reddy R, Patay Z, Baur J, Bagga P. Role of NAD(+) in regulating cellular and metabolic signaling pathways. Mol Metab Jul;49:101195. doi: 10.1016/j.molmet.2021.101195, 2021. Epub Feb 17, 2021.

Nisar S, Bhat AA, Hashem S, Yadav SK, Rizwan A, Singh M, Bagga P, Macha MA, Frenneaux MP, Reddy R, Haris M.  Non-invasive biomarkers for monitoring the immunotherapeutic response to cancer. J Transl Med Dec 9;18(1):471, 2020. doi: 10.1186/s12967-020-02656-7.

Parker KR, Migliorini D, Perkey E, Yost KE, Bhaduri A, Bagga P, Haris M, Wilson NE, Liu F, Gabunia K, Scholler J, Montine TJ, Bhoj VG, Reddy R, Mohan S, Maillard I, Kriegstein AR, June CH, Chang HY, Posey AD, Satpathy AT. CD19 expression in human brain mural cells as a target of immunotherapy-associated neurotoxicity. Cell 2020.

Rich LR, Bagga P, Wilson NE, Schnall MD, Detre JA, Haris M, Reddy R. 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy of 2H-to-1H exchange quantifies the dynamics of cellular metabolism in vivo. Nature Biomedical Engineering 4:335-342, 2020. 

Bagga P, Hariharan H, D’Aquilla K, Wilson N, Elliot M, Nanga RPR, Haris M, Detre J, Reddy R. Single-Voxel 1H MR spectroscopy of cerebral nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) in humans at 7T using 32-channel volume coil. Magn Reson Med 83:806-814, 2020.

Bagga P, Wilson N, Rich L, Marincola FM, Schnall MD, Hariharan H, Haris M, Reddy R. Sugar alcohol provides imaging contrast in cancer detection. Sci Rep 9:11092, 2019.

Zhou R, Bagga P, Nath K, Hariharan H, Mankoff D, Reddy R. Glutamate-weighted chemical exchange saturation transfer magnetic resonance imaging (GluCEST MRI) detects glutaminase inhibition in a mouse model of triple-negative breast cancer. Cancer Res 78:5521-5526, 2018.

Bagga P, Pickup S, Crescenzi R, Martinez D, Borthakur A, D'Aquilla K, Singh A, Verma G, Detre JA, Greenberg J, Hariharan H, Reddy R. In vivo GluCEST MRI: Reproducibility, background contribution and source of glutamate changes in the MPTP model of Parkinson's disease. Sci Rep 8:2883, 2018.

Haris M, Bagga P, Hariharan H, McGettigan-Croce B, Johnson L and Reddy R, Molecular imaging biomarkers for cell-based immunotherapies. J Trasl Med 15:140, 2017.

Bagga P, Haris M, D’Aquilla K, Wilson NE, Marincola FM, Schnall MD, Hariharan H and Reddy R, Non-caloric sweetener provides magnetic resonance imaging contrast for cancer detection. J Trasl Med 15:119, 2017.

Bagga P, Crescenzi R, Krishnamoorthy G, Nanga RP, Garimall S, D’Aquilla K, Reddy D, Greenberg JH, Detre JA, Hariharan H and Reddy R, GluCEST as an imaging biomarker for metabolic and motor function alterations in mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. J Neurochem 139:432-439, 2016.

DeBrosse C, Nanga R, Bagga P, Nath K, Haris M, Marincola F, Schnall M, Hariharan H, Reddy R. Lactate Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer (LATEST) Imaging in vivo: A biomarker for LDH activity. Sci Rep 6:19517, 2015.

Bagga P, Chugani AN, Patel AB. Neuroprotective effects of caffeine in MPTP model of Parkinson’s Disease: A 13C NMR study. Neurochem Int 92:25-34, 2016.

Bagga P, Behar KL, Mason GF, De Feyter H, Rothman DL, Patel AB. Evidence for plasma glutamine uptake by brain: Implications for metabolic modeling of 13C NMR data. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 34:1666-72, 2014.

Veeraiah P, Noronha JM, Maitra S, Bagga P, Khandelwal N, Chakravarty S, Kumar A, Patel AB. Dysfunctional Glutamatergic and GABAergic activities in prefrontal cortex of mice in social defeat model of depression. Biol Psychiatry 76:231-38, 2013.

Bagga P, Chugani AN, Varadarajan KS, Patel AB. In vivo NMR studies of regional cerebral energetics in MPTP Model of Parkinson’s Disease: Recovery of Cerebral Metabolism with Acute Levodopa Treatment. J Neurochem 127:365-77, 2013.

Last update: March 2022