James Hyde


Dr. James Hyde (1932-2022) was professor and chair of the Biophysics Department at the Medical College of Wisconsin from 1975 to 2016. He was a pioneer and innovator in Electron Paramagnetic Resonance and Magnetic Resonance Imaging, but is most known by the Organization for Human Brain Mapping Community for setting up a physical and intellectual environment that fostered early and fundamental advancements in functional MRI (fMRI).

Dr. Hyde was born in 1932 in Mitchell, South Dakota. He received his BS degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in physics in 1954. He continued his studies at MIT and received his PhD degree in solid-state physics in the laboratory of Professor Arthur R. von Hippel in 1959. He was employed that year by the Analytical Instrument Division of Varian Associates in Palo Alto, California. In this capacity, he has been credited with leading the evolution of EPR spectroscopy from applications in physics to applications in chemistry and biology. His colleagues at Varian were well known in the field of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR): M.E. Packard, Richard R. Ernst, W. A. Anderson, and R. Freeman. In 1975 he was recruited by to join the faculty of the Medical College of Wisconsin. In the 1980’s Dr. Hyde became involved in early research in the field of MRI through long-standing interactions between MCW and General Electric Medical Systems based in Milwaukee, WI. He has mentored several PhD students who have continued to successful academic careers in both MRI and EPR.

In MRI, Dr. Hyde recognized that the technology of EPR could be extended to radio frequency (RF) surface coils for improved diagnostic radiology. He introduced to MRI the first report on parallel acquisition of MRI data from multiple non-interacting surface coils. He also fostered the development of localized anatomy-specific gradient coils in his department, resulting in the development of a local head gradient coil which was critically important for the acquisition of time series echo planar images (EPI). EPI provided the necessary temporal resolution and time series stability for early success in fMRI.

Several of his students contributed seminal early work in fMRI method development while in graduate school. These include Eric Wong, Peter Bandettini, Allen Song, and Bharat Biswal. Other prominent members of the Biophysics Department included Bob Cox, Rasmus Birn, Chris Pawella, and Jerzy Bodurka – all who have made fundamental contributions to fMRI methods.

Overall, Dr. Hyde pioneered instrumentation and methodology which has had substantial and lasting impact on the field, but, more importantly, he had helped foster the intellectual careers of many prominent researchers in the field of brain imaging today.