Melissa Terpstra portrait

Melissa Terpstra

Director of NextGen Imaging, Professor, Biological and Biomedical Engineering

1101 Hospital Drive, NextGen Precision Health Institute

Phone: 573.882.1026

Email: melissa.terpstra@missouri.edu

Chemical and Biomedical Engineering


Melissa Terpstra is a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and a professor of radiology within the School of Medicine. Terpstra is also the director of the NextGen Imaging Facility. She has a PhD in medical physics and is an expert on uncovering tiny signals in magnetic resonance spectra (MRS) using ultra-high field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Notably, she discovered and optimized techniques to measure signals from vitamin C and other antioxidants and neurotransmitters noninvasively from the human brain using MRI. She launched her independent career by applying this technology to study aging and Alzheimer’s disease via sustained funding from the National Institutes of Health. Furthermore, she continues to study the reliability of in vivo human brain MRS technique. Prof. Terpstra is a principal investigator on the nationwide Human Connectome Project on Aging (HCPA), which collected structural, functional, and diffusion images from over 1000 individuals. With an accompanying R01, she acquired MRS data from her local HCPA cohort, and MRS will be part of the upcoming nationwide project, the Adult Aging Brain Connectome. These consortia also collect extensive health, behavioral, cognitive, and COVID data. Prof. Terpstra reviews for several journals and study sections at the National Institutes of Health. She has experience using in vivo MRS to study cancer.


PhD (medical physics and biophysical sciences) from University of Minnesota

Technical Focus

Alzheimer's Disease

Human connectome magnetic resonance imaging

Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy