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Precision Imaging

Precision Imaging

The University of Nottingham is the home of MRI.

Our pioneering invention continues to transform lives and medical care across the world. MRI, which grew from an idea in our Physics department 50 years ago, is now used in more than 60 million clinical examinations around the world every year.

Discover a world of innovation and beyond

Focusing on diseases that have the biggest impacton our societies and lack adequate treatment, our advances in imaging for precision medicine offer the prospect of new understanding and revolutionary treatments to offer personalised care.


Meet some of our experts

Dorothee Auer
Precision Imaging Director and Professor of Neuroimaging

My current research interest is to develop imaging biomarkers in the field of Clinical Neurosciences by using advanced MRI techniques. The aims are

  1. To understand the pathophysiology of diseases or complex symptoms across diseases
  2. To improve diagnostic accuracy
  3. To predict and assess therapeutic interventions.

Methods used are MR proton spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging, perfusion, relaxometry, high resolution carotid imaging and combined electrophysiological/functional MRI with special interst in brian connectivity analysis.

Professor of Neuroimaging Dorothee Auer next to MRI scanner.

The clinical applications are for prediction of risk of stroke, monitoring neurodegeneration, classification and response prediction in paediatric and adult brain cancer, and understanding the neural basis of pain and depression treatment.

Penny Gowland
Professor of Physics

I am particularly interested in exploiting the capabilities of functional and anatomical ultra-high field MRI in neuroscience, in using the increased contrast to noise ratio available at ultrahigh field to study 'single trial' fMRI of brain function, and in developing techniques to probe the origin of the BOLD effect which is responsible for fMRI.

 My research focusses on developing quantitative MRI for biomedical applications

I am also the physics lead on a unique interdisciplinary project which has developed MRI methods to study many aspects of gastrointestinal (GI) function; this could revolutionize the diagnostic pathway for patients with GI problems.

Professor Penny Gowland standing in front of the MRI scanner

I have a strong interest in apply quantitative imaging methods to studying human development particularly in the fetus. Finally in recent years I have taken a particular interest in studying the safety of MRI.

Richard Bowtell
Head of Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre and Professor of Physics

My research involves the development of new techniques and hardware for magnetic resonance imaging and their application in the biomedical sciences. This includes the design of improved gradient and shim coils for use in the next generation of magnetic resonance scanners and the generation of improved contrast for studies of the anatomy and function of the human brain.

My current work is focused on realising the advantages of ultra-high (7 T) magnetic field for human imaging studies and the combination of other imaging modalities, such as electroencephalography (EEG), with magnetic resonance imaging.

Richard Bowtell next to 3T Wide Bore scanner

For more detail please see the web pages of the  Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre

I became Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy in August 2008. I currently lecture to 1st year students on the  Frontiers in Physics module.

Stephen Coombes
Professor of Applied Mathematics 

My research interests lie in the area of mathematical biology and in particular the application of principles from nonlinear dynamics and statistical physics to the study of neural systems.

Stephen Coombes Professor of Applied Mathematics - seated with folder and chess set

My current work with the Beacon includes EEG & functional MRI studies of brain microstates associated with anaesthesia-induced loss of consciousness.

 Anaesthesia-induced loss of consciousness (LOC) is a particularly revealing model for the study of electrical phenomena that differ between the conscious and unconscious brain.


The objective of our work is to characterise spatio-temporal patterns of coherent and incoherent brain activation in altered levels of consciousness in humans using a combined fMRI and EEG approach.

In parallel with this experimental work, defining specific regional brain activity and synchronisation levels between the brainstem, hypothalamus, thalamus and the neocortex as well as cortico-cortical interactions, we are developing coarse-grained neural field models of thalamo-cortical loops that will help us unravel the different modes of neural dynamics underlying consciousness, sedation and LOC.



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