Christopher D. Kroenke, Ph.D.


Dr. Christopher Kroenke


Oregon National Primate Research Center
Advanced Imaging Research Center


The Kroenke laboratory develops magnetic resonance techniques for characterizing brain throughout the lifespan, with a focus on the fetal developmental period.  Specific areas of interest include:

Using non-invasive imaging to model brain growth:  Recent advances in fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques have provided us with high resolution 3D images of the fetal human brain throughout gestation. The Kroenke laboratory is characterizing this highly dynamic phase of brain development in multiple mammalian species, with the goal of relating information available through fetal MRI to underlying biological processes such as cell proliferation and morphological development.

The role of biomechanics in the formation of gyri and sulci:  The folded cerebral cortical surface distinguishes the brains of many phylogenetically-advanced species from lissencephalic (“smooth-brained”) species such as mice and rats. Observations of abnormal brain folding patterns in individuals affected by various neurodevelopmental disorders suggest that folding relates to functional development of the brain. The Kroenke laboratory contributes to this research area by integrating imaging data with mechanical measurements and computational simulations of growth, to understand how mechanical phenomena influence cortical folding in development.

Understanding how cell morphology influences diffusion-weighted MRI:  Diffusion MRI (also sometimes termed diffusion tensor imaging, or DTI) can be used to non-invasively measure the direction of axon fibers within a specific brain region, and this technique is used in “fiber tractography,” the delineation of the major white matter fiber bundles of the brain. The Kroenke laboratory has contributed understanding of the biophysics that links diffusion MRI data to the underlying structure of tissue, and ongoing work aims to use this information in studies of cellular development at the time in which functional neural circuits are formed.

Animal models of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disease:  The Kroenke laboratory has developed animal models of neurodevelopmental disorders, and collaborated extensively with other OHSU investigators, to apply MRI in the characterization of environmental influences on brain development and function. Examples include the influence of alcohol exposure throughout the lifespan, and characterization of various perturbations to fetal brain development. Such studies aim to expand our understanding of findings from neuroimaging studies of human subjects by enabling precise experimental control over research subjects, and validation of MRI-based findings with independent experimental approaches.

Dr. Kroenke received his Ph.D. in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University in 2000. He pursued his postdoctoral fellowship in the Washington University Department of Radiology. He was an Assistant Professor of Radiology at Washington University before he joined OHSU in 2006. Dr. Kroenke holds affiliate appointments in the OHSU Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Behevioral Neuroscience.


Ph.D., 2000, Columbia University

Fellowship:      Postdoctoral fellowship, Washington University, Department of Radiology

Areas of interest

  • Fetal development
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neurodevelopment disorders
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders


  1. J.O. Lo, M.C. Schabel, V.H.J. Roberts, T.K. Morgan, S.S. Fei, L. Gao, K.G. Ray, K.S. Lewandowski, N.P. Newman, J.A. Bohn, K.A. Grant, A.E. Frias, C.D. Kroenke, “Effects of early excess alcohol exposure on placental function and fetal growth in a rhesus macaque model”, Am. J. Obstet. Gyn., 226:130.e11 (2022).
  2. N.S. Higano, X. Cao, J. Guo, X. Wang, C.D. Kroenke, A.L. Filuta, J.P. Bridges, J.C. Woods, “Fetal lung development via quantitative biomarkers from diffusion MRI and histological validation in rhesus macaques”, J. Perinatol. (2021).
  3. K.E. Garcia, X. Wang, C.D. Kroenke, “A model of tension-induced fiber growth predicts white matter organization during brain folding”, Nat. Comm. 12,6681 (2021).
  4. A.R. Weiss, Z. Liu, X. Wang, W.A. Liguore, C.D. Kroenke, J.L. McBride, “The macaque brain ONPRC18 template with combined gray and white matter labelmap for multimodal neuroimaging studies of nonhuman primates”, NeuroImage, 225:117517 (2021).
  5. C. Studholme, C.D. Kroenke, M. Dighe, “Motion corrected MRI differentiates male and female brain growth trajectories from mid-gestation”, Nat. Comm. 11:3038 (2020).
  6. B. Zimmerman, P. Kundu, Z. Liu, H. Urbanski, C.D. Kroenke, S.G. Kohama, C.L. Bethea, J. Raber, “Longitudinal effects of immediate and delayed estradiol on cognitive performance in a spatial maze and hippocampal volume in menopausal macaques under an obesogenic diet”, Front. Neurol. 11:539 (2020).
  7. X. Wang, V.C. Cuzon Carlson, C. Studholme, N. Newman, M.M. Ford, K.A. Grant, C.D. Kroenke, “In utero MRI identifies consequences of early-gestation alchohol drinking on fetal brain development in rhesus macaques”, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA, 117:10035-10044 (2020).
  8. Z. Quan, Y. Gao, S. Qu, X. Wang, R.M. Friedman, M.M. Chernov, C.D. Kroenke, A.W. Roe, X. Zhang, “A 16-channel loop array for in vivo macaque whole-brain imaging at 3T”, Magn. Reson. Imag. 68:167-172 (2020).
  9. Z. Liu, X. Wang, N. Newman, K.A. Grant, C. Studholme, C.D. Kroenke, “Anatomical and diffusion MRI brain atlases of the fetal rhesus macaque brain at 85, 110, and 135 days gestation”, NeuroImage, 206:116310 (2020).
  10. R.J. Steinbach, N.N. Haese, J.L. Smith, L.M.A. Colgin, R.P. MacAllister, J.M. Greene, C.J. Parkins, J.B. Kempton, E. Porsov, X. Wang, L.M. Renner, T.J. McGill, B.L. Dozier, C.N. Kreklywich, T.F. Andoh, M.R. Grafe, H.L. Pecoraro, T. Hodge, R.M. Friedman, L.A. Houser, T.K. Morgan, P. Stenzel, J.R. Lindner, R.L. Schelonka, J.B. Sacha, V.H.J. Roberts, M. Neuringer, J.V. Brigande, C.D. Kroenke, A.E. Frias, A.D. Lewis, M.A. Kelleher, A.J. Hirsch, D.N. Streblow, “A neonatal nonhuman primate model of gestational Zika virus infection with evidence of microencephaly, seizures and cardiomyopathy”, PLoS One, 15:e0227676 (2020).
  11. T.A. Shnitko, Z. Liu, X. Wang, K.A. Grant, C.D. Kroenke, "Chronic alcohol drinking slows brain development in adolescent and young adult non-human primates", eNeuro, 6:ENEURO.0044-19.2019 (2019).
  12. A.M. Tseng, A.H. Mahnke, A.B. Wells, N.A. Salem, V.H.J. Roberts, N. Newman, N.A.R. Walter, C.D. Kroenke, K.A. Grant, L.K. Akison, K.M. Moritz, C.D. Chambers, R.C. Miranda, Collaborative Inititiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorters, "Maternal circulating miRNAs that predict infant FASD outcomes influence placental maturation", Life Sci. Alliance, 2:e201800252 (2019).
  13. V.A. Jimenez, X. Wang, N. Newman, N.A.R. Walter, S. Gonzales, J.O. Lo, M.M. Ford, V.C.C. Carlson, K.A. Grant, C.D. Kroenke, “Detecting neurodevelopmental effects of early-gestation ethanol exposure: A non-human primate model of ethanol drinking during pregnancy”, Alc. Clin. Exp. Res., 43:250-261 (2019).
  14. Z. Liu, M. Neuringer, J.W. Erdman, Jr., M.J. Kuchan, L. Renner, E.E. Johnson, X. Wang, C.D. Kroenke, “The effects of breastfeeding versus formula-feeding on cerebral cortex maturation in infant rhesus macaques”, NeuroImage, 184:372-385 (2019).
  15. J.A. Salati, V.H.J. Roberts, M.C. Schabel, J.O. Lo, C.D. Kroenke, K.S. Lewandowski, J.R. Lindner, K.L. Grove, A.E. Frias, “Maternal high-fat diet reversal improves placental hemodynamics in a nonhuman primate model of diet-induced obesity”, Int. J. Obesity, 43:906-916 (2019).
  16. A.K. Andelin, J.F. Olavarria, I. Fine, E.N. Taber, D. Schwartz, C.D. Kroenke, A.A. Stevens, “The effect of onset age of visual deprivation on visual cortex surface area across species”, Cereb. Cortex, 29:4321-4333 (2018).