Dr Steven Sourbron


I am a medical physicist with core experise in quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). I currently lead the Leeds Imaging Biomarkers Group which focuses on the development of imaging biomarkers and applications thereof in clinical studies, drug development and basic research. Our main aim is to improve our basic understanding of human disease (in particular those aspects that do not translate well from animal models such as multi-morbidity, chronic disease, treatment effects & toxicity) as well as development of novel treatments and personalised patient management through better non-invasive characterisation of earlier and more subtle effects of disease in body tissue - before this is detectable as gross anatomical abnormalities on conventional radiology, or as downstream markers in body fluids. We do this by developing and applying advanced medical imaging techniques that provide a more accurate and more biologically specific assessment of tissue perfusion, function, microstructure and composition. Often this involves a combination of novel image acquisition procedures with advanced computational modelling of the biophysics of MRI signal formation to bridge the gap between directly observable and hidden tissue properties, and improve the speed and accuracy of the measurement by maximally exploiting prior information.

Examples of current work include the development of novel methods for liver function mapping and applications in prediction of drug toxicity, staging of cirrhosis and risk prediction of liver surgery; extensive imaging-based phenotyping of chronic renal disease with applications in prediction of disease progression in diabetic kidney disease and patient stratification of revascularise in renal artery stenosis; optimisation of novel cancer treatments (eg. immunotherapy) by early detection of treatment effects, characterisation of ischemia and the effect of intervention (mechanical thrombectomy) by combining circulating and imaging biomarkers of blood-brain-barrier leakage. Our work covers all stages of the imaging biomarker development pipeline, from identification and development of novel biomarkers, over technical development of improved assays (faster, more accurate), analytical validation of accuracy and precision through experimental travelling volunteer studies and computational modelling, proof of mechanism and link to biology, demonstration of clinical utlity through explorative and multi-centre clinical trials, and investment in scaleability for instance by automating analysis pipelines. We are also developing a service model to offer those tools as endpoints in clinical trials by third parties, and I am active in national and international research coordination and stakeholder engagement as a means of maximising reproducibility and reusability of research, and societal impact.

Prior to Leeds I worked as a post-doc in the Radiology department of LMU Munich (2005-2010), as PhD student in the radiology department of the VUB Brussels (200-2005), and as a research assistant in the department of mathematics of the VUB (1999-2000).  


  • Group lead

Research interests

Principal Investigator projects

Co-Investigator projects


  • PhD in Physics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 2005
  • BSc/MSc in Physics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 1999
  • BSc/MSc in Product Development, Universiteit Antwerpen, 1995

Professional memberships

  • International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
  • Scientific Advisory Board of the European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research
  • European Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and Biology

Student education

Module leadership on Research Projects Module on the Intercalated BSc in Medical Imaging

MSc/BSc research project supervision

PhD supervision (currently 6 PhD students)

Teaching on Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Image Analysis

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>