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Scott Beeman

Assistant professor
PhD, biomedical engineering, Arizona State University, 2012

Areas of expertise and bio

Expertise: Quantitative MRI, biophysical modeling, imaging, metabolism

Scott Beeman has a long history with Arizona State University, dating back to the 1960s when his grandfather joined the civil engineering faculty.

“The university has always been important to me,” Beeman says, “and I have always wanted to return to ASU to help build a world-class biomedical imaging program.”

He chose to study bioengineering at ASU as a student because it allowed him to pursue his passion for the physical and applied sciences as well as do good in the world by advancing medicine.

Now returning to ASU after graduating with his doctorate in 2012, Beeman brings 16 years of expertise in magnetic resonance imaging to the faculty of the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, one of the six Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

“I love using imaging to quite literally see how diseases develop and progress,” Beeman says. “MRI can reveal things about health and disease that no other research methods can.”

Beeman’s current research is focused on studying how people develop type 2 diabetes. As he returns to ASU, he is particularly interested in exploring metabolic imaging using deuterium MRI. Deuterium is a stable isotope of hydrogen that can be used to watch cells take in glucose and turn it into lactate, for example.

“The concept is that one can replace hydrogen atoms with MRI-detectable deuterium atoms on metabolites like glucose,” Beeman says. “By doing so, one could potentially see where the labeled metabolites go and what the cells do with them.”

This method presents a major step forward in studying and diagnosing diseases such as cancer and type 2 diabetes.

One of Beeman’s career highlights to date is receiving a National Institutes of Health K01 career development award in 2016 as a postdoctoral researcher. He says the award launched his career as an independent investigator of diabetes-related imaging research and allowed him to study with the world’s leading metabolism, diabetes, magnetic resonance and biophysics experts. Now Beeman is bringing that wealth of knowledge and experience to ASU.