University of Vermont

College of Medicine

MRI Center for Biomedical Imaging

Bio for Richard Watts

Richard Watts

Associate Professor
Department of Radiology

Contact Information
Office Location:
COM Dept of Radiology, FAHC, MCHV Campus


BSc (Hons) in Physics, 1st Class, University of York, UK
DPhil in Physics, University of York, UK
Postdoctoral Research at Centre d'Études Nucléaires, Grenoble, France
University of Sheffield, UKWeill-Cornell Medical College, NY

Academic Interests

T1? Imaging in Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, Brain Tumors
Multimodal imaging of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)
Therapeutic Hypothermia: Measurement of brain temperature, and resulting changes in blood flow, metabolic rate, vascular reactivity
High b-value Diffusion Imaging and Connectomes


Prof. Hugh Garavan (UVM Dept of Psychiatry).  Neuroimaging of drug and alcohol abuse, including a recent publication on prediction of alcohol misuse in adolescents that was published in Nature (Whelan, Watts et al, Nature 2014).

Prof. Naomi Fukagawa, Medicine.  Effect of Prenatal Exposure to Particulate Matter on Adiposity (murine model, mice exposed to petro-diesel and bio-diesel)

Prof. George Pinder, College of Engineering and Mathematics.  Transport Behavior in and at the Interface of Fine-Grained Sediments; Visualization, Simulation and Analysis.

My current position at the University of Vermont involves providing data acquisition and analysis support to the local neuroimaging community.


MRI physics, data acquisition and analysis.  Specific expertise in neurological MRI, including publications relating to functional and resting-state MRI, arterial spin labeled perfusion (ASL) and diffusion imaging.

Academic Appointments

Research Associate Professor
Co-Director of the University of Vermont MRI Center for Biomedical Imaging
Director of Radiology Research

Research Grants

National Science Foundation (NSF) PD 14-1440
Pinder (PI)    9/1/2015-9/1/2017
Contaminant transport behavior in and at the interface of fine-grained sediments; visualization, simulation and analysis EAGER

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute 2R01-HL071944
Bernstein (PI)   9/1/2010-5/31/2015
Pre-pregnancy phenotype and predisposition to pre-eclampsia

Health Research Council of New Zealand 11/283
Woodward (PI)   09/01/11-08/31/14
Neurological development of the very preterm infant: A longitudinal study

University of Canterbury
Watts (PI)    01/01/05-12/31/07
Development of MR Elastography

Neurological Foundation of New Zealand 0531-PG
Anderson (PI)   06/01/06-05/31/08
Parkinson’s Disease – Mild Cognitive Impairment: Eye Movements and Brain Imaging.

Awards and Honors

Stott Prize for Postgraduate Research, University of York, UK


1. Whelan R, Watts R, Orr CA, et al. Neuropsychosocial profiles of current and future adolescent alcohol misusers. Nature 2014;512(7513):185-189.
2. Watts R, Thomas A, Filippi CG, Nickerson JP, Freeman K. Potholes and molehills: bias in the diagnostic performance of diffusion-tensor imaging in concussion. Radiology 2014;272(1):217-223.
3. Watts R, Andrews T, Hipko S, Gonyea JV, Filippi CG. In vivo whole-brain T1-rho mapping across adulthood: Normative values and age dependence. Journal of magnetic resonance imaging : JMRI 2014;40(2):376-382.
4. Poudel GR, Innes CR, Bones PJ, Watts R, Jones RD. Losing the struggle to stay awake: Divergent thalamic and cortical activity during microsleeps. Human brain mapping 2014;35(1):257-269.
5. Lieberman G, Shpaner M, Watts R, et al. White matter involvement in chronic musculoskeletal pain. The Journal of Pain 2014.
6. Le Heron CJ, Wright SL, Melzer TR, et al. Comparing cerebral perfusion in Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease dementia: an ASL-MRI study. Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism 2014;34(6):964-970.
7. Gardner GC, Nickerson JP, Watts R, Nelson L, Dittus KL, O'Brien PJ. Quantitative and Morphologic Change Associated with Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema. Comparison of 3.0T MRI to External Measures. Lymphat Res Biol 2014;12(2):95-102.
8. Orr C, Morioka R, Behan B, et al. Altered resting-state connectivity in adolescent cannabis users. The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse 2013;39(6):372-381.
9. Melzer TR, Watts R, Macaskill MR, et al. White matter microstructure deteriorates across cognitive stages in Parkinson disease. Neurology 2013;80(20):1841-1849.
10. Lomond KV, Henry SM, Jacobs JV, et al. Protocol to assess the neurophysiology associated with multi-segmental postural coordination. Physiological measurement 2013;34(10):N97-N105.
11. Filippi CG, Watts R, Duy LA, Cauley KA. Diffusion-tensor imaging derived metrics of the corpus callosum in children with neurofibromatosis type I. AJR American journal of roentgenology 2013;200(1):44-49.
12. Filippi CG, Maxwell AW, Watts R. Magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging metrics in perilesional white matter among children with periventricular nodular gray matter heterotopia. Pediatric radiology 2013.
13. Filippi CG, Duncan CT, Watts R, et al. In vivo quantification of T1rho in lumbar spine disk spaces at 3 T using parallel transmission MRI. AJR American journal of roentgenology 2013;201(1):W110-116.
14. Behan B, Connolly CG, Datwani S, et al. Response inhibition and elevated parietal-cerebellar correlations in chronic adolescent cannabis users. Neuropharmacology 2013.
15. Walhovd KB, Watts R, Amlien I, Woodward LJ. Neural tract development of infants born to methadone-maintained mothers. Pediatric neurology 2012;47(1):1-6.
16. Pitcher TL, Melzer TR, Macaskill MR, et al. Reduced striatal volumes in Parkinson's disease: a magnetic resonance imaging study. Translational neurodegeneration 2012;1(1):17.
17. Melzer TR, Watts R, MacAskill MR, et al. Grey matter atrophy in cognitively impaired Parkinson's disease. Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 2012;83(2):188-194.
18. McLellan T, Wilcke JC, Johnston L, Watts R, Miles LK. Sensitivity to posed and genuine displays of happiness and sadness: A fMRI study. Neuroscience letters 2012.
19. Wu B, Millane RP, Watts R, Bones PJ. Prior estimate-based compressed sensing in parallel MRI. Magnetic resonance in medicine : official journal of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine / Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2011;65(1):83-95.
20. Nik SJ, Meyer J, Watts R. Optimal material discrimination using spectral x-ray imaging. Physics in medicine and biology 2011;56(18):5969-5983.
21. Melzer TR, Watts R, MacAskill MR, et al. Arterial spin labelling reveals an abnormal cerebral perfusion pattern in Parkinson's disease. Brain : a journal of neurology 2011;134(Pt 3):845-855.
22. Dalrymple-Alford JC, Livingston L, MacAskill MR, et al. Characterizing Mild Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson's Disease. Movement Disorders 2011;26(4):629-636.
23. Poudel GR, Jones RD, Innes CR, Watts R, Davidson PR, Bones PJ. Measurement of BOLD changes due to cued eye-closure and stopping during a continuous visuomotor task via model-based and model-free approaches. IEEE transactions on neural systems and rehabilitation engineering : a publication of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society 2010;18(5):479-488.
24. Dalrymple-Alford JC, MacAskill MR, Nakas CT, et al. The MoCA Well-suited screen for cognitive impairment in Parkinson disease. Neurology 2010;75(19):1717-1725.
25. Wu B, Millane RP, Watts R, Bones PJ. Improved matrix inversion in image plane parallel MRI. Magnetic resonance imaging 2009;27(7):942-953.
26. Wilcke JC, O'Shea RP, Watts R. Frontoparietal activity and its structural connectivity in binocular rivalry. Brain research 2009;1305:96-107.
27. Tabelow K, Polzehl J, Ulu AM, et al. Accurate localization of brain activity in presurgical FMRI by structure adaptive smoothing. IEEE transactions on medical imaging 2008;27(4):531-537.
28. Maclaren JR, Bones PJ, Millane RP, Watts R. MRI with TRELLIS: a novel approach to motion correction. Magnetic resonance imaging 2008;26(4):474-483.
29. Chappell MH, Brown JA, Dalrymple-Alford JC, Ulug AM, Watts R. Multivariate analysis of diffusion tensor imaging data improves the detection of microstructural damage in young professional boxers. Magnetic resonance imaging 2008;26(10):1398-1405.
30. Voss HU, Watts R, Ulug AM, Ballon D. Fiber tracking in the cervical spine and inferior brain regions with reversed gradient diffusion tensor imaging. Magnetic resonance imaging 2006;24(3):231-239.
31. Voss HU, Uluc AM, Dyke JP, et al. Possible axonal regrowth in late recovery from the minimally conscious state. The Journal of clinical investigation 2006;116(7):2005-2011.
32. Liston C, Watts R, Tottenham N, et al. Frontostriatal microstructure modulates efficient recruitment of cognitive control. Cerebral Cortex 2006;16(4):553-560.
33. Chappell MH, Ulug AM, Zhang L, et al. Distribution of microstructural damage in the brains of professional boxers: a diffusion MRI study. Journal of magnetic resonance imaging : JMRI 2006;24(3):537-542.
34. Zhang HL, Khilnani NM, Prince MR, et al. Diagnostic accuracy of time-resolved 2D projection MR angiography for symptomatic infrapopliteal arterial occlusive disease. AJR American journal of roentgenology 2005;184(3):938-947.
35. Holodny AI, Watts R, Korneinko VN, et al. Diffusion tensor tractography of the motor white matter tracts in man: Current controversies and future directions. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 2005;1064:88-97.
36. Holodny AI, Gor DM, Watts R, Gutin PH, Ulug AM. Diffusion-tensor MR tractography of somatotopic organization of corticospinal tracts in the internal capsule: initial anatomic results in contradistinction to prior reports. Radiology 2005;234(3):649-653.
37. Heller SL, Heier LA, Watts R, et al. Evidence of cerebral reorganization following perinatal stroke demonstrated with fMRI and DTI tractography. Clinical imaging 2005;29(4):283-287.
38. Zhang HL, Kent KC, Bush HL, et al. Soft tissue enhancement on time-resolved peripheral magnetic resonance angiography. Journal of magnetic resonance imaging : JMRI 2004;19(5):590-597.
39. Trost DW, Zhang HL, Prince MR, et al. Three-dimensional MR angiography in imaging platinum alloy stents. Journal of magnetic resonance imaging : JMRI 2004;20(6):975-980.
40. Davidson MC, Horvitz JC, Tottenham N, et al. Differential cingulate and caudate activation following unexpected nonrewarding stimuli. NeuroImage 2004;23(3):1039-1045.
41. Ballon D, Watts R, Dyke JP, et al. Imaging therapeutic response in human bone marrow using rapid whole-body MRI. Magnetic resonance in medicine : official journal of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine / Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2004;52(6):1234-1238.
42. Watts R, Liston C, Niogi S, Ulug AM. Fiber tracking using magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging and its applications to human brain development. Mental retardation and developmental disabilities research reviews 2003;9(3):168-177.
43. Wang Y, Truong TN, Yen C, et al. Quantitative evaluation of susceptibility and shielding effects of nitinol, platinum, cobalt-alloy, and stainless steel stents. Magnetic resonance in medicine : official journal of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine / Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2003;49(5):972-976.
44. Nuval A, Nguyen TD, Watts R, Wang Y. An improved real-time navigator gating algorithm for reducing motion effects in coronary magnetic resonance angiography. Journal of X-ray science and technology 2003;11(3):115-123.
45. Kolmogorov VN, Watts R, Prince MR, Zabih R, Wang Y. Simultaneous multiple volume (SMV) acquisition algorithm for real-time navigator gating. Magnetic resonance imaging 2003;21(9):969-975.
46. Ho B, Chao M, Zhang HL, Watts R, Prince MR. Improved venous suppression on renal MR angiography with recessed elliptical centric ordering of K-space. Journal of X-ray science and technology 2003;11(3):141-147.
47. Filippi CG, Lin DD, Tsiouris AJ, et al. Diffusion-tensor MR imaging in children with developmental delay: preliminary findings. Radiology 2003;229(1):44-50.
48. Ersoy H, Watts R, Sanelli P, et al. Atherosclerotic disease distribution in carotid and vertebrobasilar arteries: clinical experience in 100 patients undergoing fluoro-triggered 3D Gd-MRA. Journal of magnetic resonance imaging : JMRI 2003;17(5):545-558.
49. Durston S, Davidson MC, Thomas KM, et al. Parametric manipulation of conflict and response competition using rapid mixed-trial event-related fMRI. NeuroImage 2003;20(4):2135-2141.
50. Yoo SK, Watts R, Winchester PA, Zabih R, Wang Y, Prince MR. Postprocessing techniques for time-resolved contrast-enhanced MR angiography. Radiology 2002;222(2):564-568.
51. Watts R, Wang Y, Redd B, et al. Recessed elliptical-centric view-ordering for contrast-enhanced 3D MR angiography of the carotid arteries. Magnetic resonance in medicine : official journal of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine / Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2002;48(3):419-424.
52. Watts R, Wang Y. k-space interpretation of the Rose Model: noise limitation on the detectable resolution in MRI. Magnetic resonance in medicine : official journal of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine / Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2002;48(3):550-554.
53. Wang Y, Chen CZ, Chabra SG, et al. Bolus arterial-venous transit in the lower extremity and venous contamination in bolus chase three-dimensional magnetic resonance angiography. Investigative radiology 2002;37(8):458-463.
54. Prince MR, Chabra SG, Watts R, et al. Contrast material travel times in patients undergoing peripheral MR angiography. Radiology 2002;224(1):55-61.
55. Narayanan JT, Watts R, Haddad N, Labar DR, Li PM, Filippi CG. Cerebral activation during vagus nerve stimulation: a functional MR study. Epilepsia 2002;43(12):1509-1514.
56. Kim J, Prince MR, Zabih R, et al. Automatic selection of mask and arterial phase images for temporally resolved MR digital subtraction angiography. Magnetic resonance in medicine : official journal of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine / Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2002;48(6):1004-1010.
57. Khilnani NM, Winchester PA, Prince MR, et al. Peripheral vascular disease: combined 3D bolus chase and dynamic 2D MR angiography compared with x-ray angiography for treatment planning. Radiology 2002;224(1):63-74.
58. Cooke MD, Hatton HJ, Wang LC, et al. Influence of interfaces on magnetostrictive granular films. Phys Rev B 2002;65(17).
59. Watts R, Wang Y, Prince MR, Winchester PA, Khilnani NM, Kent KC. Anatomically tailored k-Space sampling for bolus-chase three-dimensional MR digital subtraction angiography. Radiology 2001;218(3):899-904.
60. Wang Y, Winchester PA, Khilnani NM, et al. Contrast-enhanced peripheral MR angiography from the abdominal aorta to the pedal arteries: combined dynamic two-dimensional and bolus-chase three-dimensional acquisitions. Investigative radiology 2001;36(3):170-177.
61. Wang Y, Watts R, Mitchell I, et al. Coronary MR angiography: selection of acquisition window of minimal cardiac motion with electrocardiography-triggered navigator cardiac motion prescanning--initial results. Radiology 2001;218(2):580-585.
62. Nguyen TD, Wang Y, Watts R, Mitchell I. k-Space weighted least-squares algorithm for accurate and fast motion extraction from magnetic resonance navigator echoes. Magnetic resonance in medicine : official journal of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine / Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2001;46(5):1037-1040.
63. Nguyen TD, Ding G, Watts R, Wang Y. Optimization of view ordering for motion artifact suppression. Magnetic resonance imaging 2001;19(7):951-957.
64. Wang Y, Winchester PA, Yu L, et al. Breath-hold three-dimensional contrast-enhanced coronary MR angiography: motion-matched k-space sampling for reducing cardiac motion effects. Radiology 2000;215(2):600-607.
65. Gehring GA, Cooke MD, Gregory IS, Karl WJ, Watts R. Cantilever unified theory and optimization for sensors and actuators. Smart Mater Struct 2000;9(6):918-931.
66. Cooke MD, Wang LC, Watts R, et al. The effect of thermal treatment, composition and substrate on the texture and magnetic properties of FeCo thin films. J Phys D Appl Phys 2000;33(12):1450-1459.
67. Ali M, Watts R. Measurement of saturation magnetostriction using novel strained substrate techniques and the control of the magnetic anisotropy. J Magn Magn Mater 1999;202(1):85-94.
68. Ali M, Watts R, Karl WJ, Gibbs MRJ. The use of stress for the control of magnetic anisotropy in amorphous FeSiBC thin films: a magneto-optic study. J Magn Magn Mater 1998;190(3):199-204.
69. Watts R, Gibbs MRJ, Karl WJ, Szymczak H. Finite-element modelling of magnetostrictive bending of a coated cantilever. Appl Phys Lett 1997;70(19):2607-2609.
70. Watts R, Wilkinson DK, Barkshire IR, Prutton M, Chambers A. Magnetic Profiles of Compositionally Tailored Permalloy-Copper Films - a Theoretical and Experimental Comparison .1. Growth and Stoichiometric Characterization Using Scanning Auger Microscopy. Phys Rev B 1995;52(1):451-456.
71. Watts R, Whiting JSS, Chambers A, Thompson SM. Experimental and theoretical studies of permalloy-copper alloy bilayers by spin-wave resonance. J Magn Magn Mater 1995;140:599-600.
72. Watts R, Whiting JSS. Magnetic Profiles of Compositionally Tailored Permalloy-Copper Films - a Theoretical and Experimental Comparison .2. Spin-Wave Resonance. Phys Rev B 1995;52(1):457-461.