Dr Samantha Jane Holdsworth

BSc (Hons) Physics Canterbury, MSc Medical Physics QUT Australia, PhD Radiology UQ Australia.


Dr Samantha Holdsworth is a medical physicist with expertise in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), with a special focus on advanced imaging of the human brain.

Samantha completed her undergraduate studies in physics at the University of Canterbury, her masters of medical physics at the Queensland University of Technology, followed by her PhD at the University of Queensland in 2006. She then spent 11 years first as a postdoctoral fellow and then as a senior research scientist at Stanford University.

In 2018, Samantha became a senior lecturer at the Department of Anatomy and Medical Imaging at the University of Auckland, based in the Centre for Advanced MRI (CAMRI). She is a principal investigator at CBR, and is helping to establish CBR’s Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) research platform. She also returned home to Gisborne-Tairāwhiti to establish Mātai, a medical imaging research and innovation centre. She is the Research Director at Mātai, and through this initiative, she aims to bring leading medical imaging technology, expertise and health-related R&D home to improve the health, socioeconomic status and wellbeing of the people of Gisborne-Tairāwhiti.

Samantha is a pioneer of fast, high resolution MRI methods. She has worked on ways of improving the resolution, speed, and motion-robustness of various MRI methodologies, including structural, microstructural, physiological, and functional MRI. Some of these methods have led to better detection of brain injury, stroke and neurodegenerative disease. Her team is currently developing a non-invasive MRI method called “amplified MRI (aMRI)” – for visualising the pulsatile brain motion to help understand obstructive brain disorders like Chiari Malformation. Further research in aMRI may allow us to understand the effect of obstructive disorders of the brain and also provide a means of measuring the brain’s biomechanical properties that could lead to clinical applications, including in the understanding and modelling of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Through her roles in the CBR Traumatic Brain Injury platform and Mātai, Dr Holdsworth is helping to draw together multi-disciplinary teams to collaborate on various tests with the aim of developing an objective test for mild traumatic brain injury (concussion).   

Teaching | Current

MEDIMAGE 714 (Fundamentals of Clinical MRI)

MEDIMAGE 715 (MRI technology) 

MEDSCI 737 (Advanced Biomedical Imaging) 

PHYS 160 (Physics for Life Sciences)

MEDIMAGE 201 (Fundamentals of Medical Imaging)  

MEDIMAGE 202 (Medical Imaging Science) 

MEDIMAGE 306 (Specialised Medical Imaging)


Masterate in Medical Physics, with high distinction (University of Queensland, Australia)

Bachelor of Science in Physics, with First Class Honors (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)

Areas of expertise

Developing new fast/high resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and image processing methods

New MRI contrast mechanisms

Simultaneous whole-body PET/MRI

Translating research MRI & image reconstruction methods to the clinics. 

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Soman, S., Dai, W., Dong, L., Hitchner, E., Lee, K., Baughman, B. D., ... Moseley, M. E. (2020). Identifying cardiovascular risk factors that impact cerebrovascular reactivity: An ASL MRI study. Journal of magnetic resonance imaging : JMRI, 51 (3), 734-747. 10.1002/jmri.26862
  • Mayercik, V., Ma, M., Holdsworth, S., Heit, J., & Iv, M. (2019). Arterial Spin-Labeling MRI Identifies Hypervascular Meningiomas. AJR. American journal of roentgenology, 213 (5), 1124-1128. 10.2214/ajr.18.21026
  • Kim, L. H., Lee, E. H., Galvez, M., Aksoy, M., Skare, S., O'Halloran R, ... Yeom, K. W. (2019). Reduced field of view echo-planar imaging diffusion tensor MRI for pediatric spinal tumors. Journal of neurosurgery. Spine, 1-9. 10.3171/2019.4.spine19178
  • Xiang, M., Chan, C., Wang, L., Jani, K., Holdsworth, S. J., Iv, M., ... Soltys, S. G. (2019). Physiological motion of the optic chiasm and its impact on stereotactic radiosurgery dose. The British journal of radiology, 92 (1099)10.1259/bjr.20190170
  • Holdsworth, S. J., O'Halloran R, & Setsompop, K. (2019). The quest for high spatial resolution diffusion-weighted imaging of the human brain in vivo. NMR in biomedicine, 32 (4)10.1002/nbm.4056
  • Iv, M., Samghabadi, P., Holdsworth, S., Gentles, A., Rezaii, P., Harsh, G., ... Daldrup-Link, H. E. (2019). Quantification of Macrophages in High-Grade Gliomas by Using Ferumoxytol-enhanced MRI: A Pilot Study. Radiology, 290 (1), 198-206. 10.1148/radiol.2018181204
  • Jahanian, H., Holdsworth, S., Christen, T., Wu, H., Zhu, K., Kerr, A. B., ... Zaharchuk, G. (2019). Advantages of short repetition time resting-state functional MRI enabled by simultaneous multi-slice imaging. Journal of neuroscience methods, 311, 122-132. 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2018.09.033
  • Terem, I., Ni, W. W., Goubran, M., Rahimi, M. S., Zaharchuk, G., Yeom, K. W., ... Holdsworth, S. J. (2018). Revealing sub-voxel motions of brain tissue using phase-based amplified MRI (aMRI). Magnetic resonance in medicine, 80 (6), 2549-2559. 10.1002/mrm.27236


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 505 - Bldg 505
Level B, Room B38B
New Zealand

Web links