Curtis Johnson, Ph.D.

Curtis Johnson

 Associate Professor

Associate Professor

STAR Campus
540 S. College Avenue, Ste 109C
P: 302-831-4098

Lab Website


  • Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, 2013, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering, 2010, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, 2007, Georgia Institute of Technology


  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Elastography
  • Brain Tissue Mechanics
  • Neuroimaging


Dr. Johnson uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the mechanics of tissues in the body and how they can be used to understand the structure, function, and health of various organs, with a specific focus on the human brain. In particular, Dr. Johnson uses the magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) technique, which noninvasively probes tissue viscoelasticity through the imaging of shear waves generated in the body. His research includes the development of high-resolution MRE imaging protocols through MRI pulse sequence design, image reconstruction schemes for accelerated MRE, and incorporation of advanced tissue models such as anisotropy and poroelasticity. Dr. Johnson explores using the MRE technique for a variety of applications in neuroscience, neurology, and neurosurgery, such as better understanding the structure-function relationship of the hippocampus and evaluating meningiomas prior to surgical resection.


GR Huesmann, H Schwarb, DR Smith, RT Pohlig, AT Anderson, MDJ McGarry, KD Paulsen, TM Wszalek, BP Sutton, CL Johnson, “Hippocampal Stiffness in Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Measured with MR Elastography: Preliminary Comparison with Healthy Participants,” NeuroImage: Clinical,2020; 27:102313.

G McIlvain, RG Clements, EM Magoon, JM Spielberg, EH Telzer, CL Johnson, “Viscoelasticity of Reward and Control Systems in Adolescent Risk Taking,” NeuroImage, 2020; 215:116850.

DR Smith, CA Guertler, RJ Okamoto, AJ Romano, PV Bayly, CL Johnson, “Multi-Excitation Magnetic Resonance Elastography of the Brain: Wave Propagation in Anisotropic White Matter,” Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 2020; 142(7):071005.

LV Hiscox, CL Johnson, MDJ McGarry, H Marshall, CW Ritchie, EJR van Beek, N Roberts, JM Starr, “Mechanical Property Alterations Across the Cerebral Cortex due to Alzheimer’s Disease,” Brain Communications, 2020; 2(1):fcz049.

CA Chaze, G McIlvain, DR Smith, GM Villermaux, PL Delgorio, HG Wright, KJ Rogers, F Miller, JR Crenshaw, CL Johnson, “Altered Brain Tissue Viscoelasticity in Pediatric Cerebral Palsy Measured by Magnetic Resonance Elastography,” NeuroImage: Clinical, 2019; 22:101750.

G McIlvain, H Schwarb, NJ Cohen, EH Telzer, CL Johnson, “Mechanical Properties of the in vivo Adolescent Human Brain,” Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 2018; 34:27-33.

CL Johnson, H Schwarb, KM Horecka, MDJ McGarry, CH Hillman, AF Kramer, NJ Cohen, AK Barbey, “Double Dissociation of Structure-Function Relationships in Memory and Fluid Intelligence Observed with Magnetic Resonance Elastography,” NeuroImage, 2018; 171:99-106.

H Schwarb, CL Johnson, AM Daugherty, CH Hillman, AF Kramer, NJ Cohen, AK Barbey, “Aerobic Fitness, Hippocampal Viscoelasticity, and Relational Memory Performance,” NeuroImage, 2017; 153:179-188.

CL Johnson, H Schwarb, MDJ McGarry, AT Anderson, GR Huesmann, BP Sutton, NJ Cohen, “Viscoelasticity of Subcortical Gray Matter Structures,” Human Brain Mapping, 2016; 37(12):4221-4233.

CL Johnson, JL Holtrop, MDJ McGarry, JB Weaver, KD Paulsen, JG Georgiadis, BP Sutton, “3D Multislab, Multishot Acquisition for Fast, Whole-Brain MR Elastography with High Signal-to-Noise Efficiency,” Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2014; 71(2):477-485.