Olivia Viessmann, PhD

Professional Information


Research Fellow in Radiology, Harvard Medical School
Research Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital


PhD , University of Oxford, UK, 2017

Research Fellow


Mailing Address

Building 149, Room 2301
13th Street
Charlestown, MA 02129 USA

General Contact Information



The brain is one of the most fascinating objects one could study and it happens that I always found magnets exciting and fun to play around with,  so a PhD in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was just right for me. My early research focused on imaging the vasculature of the human brain at the high field of 7 Tesla. I worked in sequence development to depict the vessel walls of major cerebral arteries and further studied the impact of the cardiac cycle on MR signals. As a postdoctoral research fellow at the Martinos Center I study the impact of vascular geometry and physiology on the formation of functional MRI (fMRI) signals. The ultimate goal of fMRI is to measure neuronal activity in the brain, however these signals are derived from vascular changes in blood volume, flow and oxygenation level. Vessel size and geometric organisation heavily bias the signal and only a profound understanding of these phenomena will allow us to correctly interpret and infer neuronal activity. My aim is to quantify the effect of vascular anatomy and geometric arrangement in the cortex, on various fMRI techniques to define which methods are the most promising to provide the highest neuronal specificity at ultra-high field to advance future neuroscientific research.