Luca Marciani

Associate Professor in GI MRI

Phone: 0115 823 1248


My personal expertise is in imaging the human gastrointestinal (GI) tract using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). My research focuses on gastrointestinal physiology and pathology using MRI methods in combination with other physiological and behavioural techniques.


How would you explain your research?

My personal expertise is in looking inside the human gastrointestinal tract using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). My research focuses on imaging gastrointestinal function in health and disease. 

This includes looking at gastric emptying, bowel volumes, movement and transport using MRI methods in combination with other physiological and behavioural techniques. My current interests include studying the fate of foods, beverages, devices and formulations inside the body, the distribution of fluid inside the intestine and the development of novel MRI tests for gut motility and transit. 

What inspired you to pursue this area?

My grandfather was a builder, my father was a builder, and the younger me had always wanted to become a builder, until the very end of my secondary school where I came across a fabulous physics teacher.

He was so inspiring that I quickly changed my mind and signed up for physics at University, where I took to biomedical imaging straight away.

This set in motion a – fortunate – series of events that eventually led me to Nottingham, where I fell in love with gastrointestinal MRI and never looked back. 

What’s been the greatest moment of your career so far? 

All of it, really, but if I had to choose I would definitely say every time I see the PhD students and Research Fellows in the team curious, engaged and enthusiastic about their research! 

How will your research affect the average person? 

In many ways. For example, I am developing a new MRI test to measure the time it takes for food to go through the gut in children with constipation; this could avoid the use of harmful ionizing radiation and provide a better tool to help clinicians make early choices of treatment for these young patients.

I am also helping a leading group of pharmaceutical scientists to understand a bit better what kind of environment really exists inside the gut for drug tablets to dissolve; this could lead to design of more reliable tablets for people to take for their treatments. Additionally, I am investigating how the body digests breakfast foods made from sustainable, ancient grains such as pearl millet; this could lead to alternative healthy breakfast options, made with grains that can be grown in harsh climates and needing little water. 

If you weren't doing this what would you be doing?

I know: I’d be a builder! 

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