Biomedical imaging research themes
The Priority Group has a number of key research themes encompassing:
Magnetic resonance at ultra-high-field (7 Tesla)
The largest internal research programme is the development of magnetic resonance (MR) techniques for use at ultra-high-field, based on a Philips 7 Tesla system, funded by the Wellcome Trust (£3M), and supported by a recently renewed joint Medical Research Council (MRC)/Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC Programme Grant (£1.8M (2005-9), £2.4M (2010-2015) with functional neuroimaging and spectroscopy its primary objective. Fundamental new approaches are required, including:
electromagnetic modelling of radiofequency (RF) fields
the development of parallel transmit probes and imaging techniques
Hyperpolarization technologies can enhance the MR signal by some five orders of magnitude and could transform clinical diagnostic procedures: hyperpolarized gas magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):
has the potential to deliver high quality functional lung imaging in a clinical environment
is expected to have a major impact on the diagnosis and management of lung disease
Physiological measurement and applications to pathology
A strong multidisciplinary team brings together expertise in MRI, gastroenterology and food science, together with industrial partners to develop MRI techniques to measure multiple parameters of the GI response to food, providing a cost effective and convenient one stop shop for assessing gastric function clinically. Novel MRI measurements are also being successfully applied to understand the causes of compromised foetal and neonatal development.
The Group's interest in the development of functional MRI (fMRI) has led it to examine complementary techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) which traditionally have had poor spatial resolution but much higher temporal resolution than fMRI ─ they are direct measures of the neuronal activity. They have developed a strong MEG Physics group with a good publication record in methodologies for source localisation and a growing reputation on the international stage.
Other imaging platforms
The Priority Group includes non-MR-based imaging platforms that provide powerful and extensive information on biomedical systems at a range of length-scales. In collaboration with MR and also on their own and in combination with other techniques, they aim to explore novel approaches to imaging across length-scales and materials. They have included researchers expert in the development of novel imaging tools, their analysis and also end users in an effort to bring together as wide a range of expertise as possible to explore new areas.