Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre

SPMIC Members


Richard Bowtell
Centre Director

Research interests: Development of new techniques and hardware for biomedical imaging.

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My research involves developing new techniques and hardware for biomedical imaging and applying them in the biomedical sciences. This work includes the design of improved gradient and shim coils for use in the next generation of magnetic resonance imaging 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 magnetic field for human imaging studies and on developing wearable magnetoencephalography scanners based on the use of optically pumped magnetometers. 

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.



Prof. Dorothee Auer (Neuroimaging)
Research Interests: Neuroimaging, clinical MRI, MR spectroscopy, preclinical MRI, image analysis.

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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, and (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. 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.


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

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The focus of my research is the development of new techniques to non-invasively image the function of the brain using MRI. I specialise in the measurement of aspects of brain physiology that are typically difficult to acquire using any other method. For example, most recently I have been developing new technologies for measuring oxygen metabolism in the human brain. Conventionally such measurements are performed using PET (Positron Emission Tomography) resulting in exposure to ionising radiation and long acquisition times. Even more importantly the equipment to perform these PET measurements is poorly available in the UK. In contrast 3T MRI is widely available in the NHS. Currently my team are collaborating with clinical colleagues to demonstrate the potential of these techniques in acute stroke, traumatic brain injury and brain tumours.


Prof. Matt Brookes (Physics & Astronomy)
My research is focussed on the development and application of multi-modal functional brain imaging. I have been active in this field for nearly 20 years and I have published over 100 papers in leading journals, on topics including MEG, MRI, fMRI and EEG.

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My primary area is Magnetoencephalography (MEG) - the process of inferring electrophysiological brain function via measurement of magnetic fields generated by current flow in neural assemblies. I have developed new methods for mathematical modelling of MEG data, in particular to enable source localisation, and to measure functional connectivity. Such measurements have had impact in both basic neuroscience and are currently being applied in multiple clinical scenarios including schizophrenia and concussion.

Recently, our group has also focussed on development of MEG hardware, and in particular the promise of new compact and highly sensitive quantum enabled sensors for magnetic field measurement. Our group, working in collaboration with industry, have designed and fabricated one of the most advanced brain imaging systems in the world. Unlike conventional systems, this instrument allows complete flexibility to adapt to any head shape or size, it enables free movement of the participant during data collection, and provides increased sensitivity and spatial specificity.

My research is backed by major grants from the EPSRC, Wellcome, and MRC. I also collaborate widely within the UK and worldwide.


Michael leads the PhysImAls (, whose research focuses on the development of novel analysis methods that enable medical imaging to be used to make spatially resolved measurements of physiological processes in living organisms, most notably in the study of diseases in patients.

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The PhysImAl group develops software tools to enable wider dissemination of their methods and the greater adoption of physiological imaging methods in basic and clinical science studies. Their main software outputs are:

  • Quantiphyse - a GUI-based software product for physiological image analysis, including tools for quantification of physiology from a wide range of different data.
  • BASIL - a toolbox for perfusion quantification in the brain using Arterial Spin Labelling MRI, distributed as part of the FMRIB Software Library.

Much of my research has been in brain imaging, including developing methods for the quantification of perfusion and other haemodynamics using MRI methods such as Arterial Spin Labelling, as well as techniques for extracting information on the cellular environment (such as pH) using Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer MRI. Through a range of collaborations I contribute to research projects in acute stroke, brain tumours and dementia. Contact Michael Chappell: 


Ron Dineen
I am an academic and clinical neuroradiologist based in the Division of Clinical Neurosciece at the University of Nottingham, and affiliated to the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre and the Beacon of Excellence in Imaging for Precision Medicine.

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My research interest is the application of neuroimaging techniques to characterise pathophysiological mechanisms in neurological diseases. My current active research includes:

  • Imaging in multicentre stroke trials (Imaging lead for NIHR-funded TICH-2, TARDIS and DASH trials)
  • MRI to provide markers of disease status in multiple sclerosis
  • Mechanistic imaging of neural effects of excercise interventions in people with dementia (NIHR-funded PrAISED-2 trial)
  • Imaging biomarkersto predict biology and outcomes in childhood brain tumours
  • Quantitative imaging to of neurodegeneration in Ataxia Telangiectasia

Since appointment in 2009 I have been applicant on over £7.8M of awarded research grants.  

Contact Rob Dineen:


Prof. Sue Francis (Physics & Astronomy)
My research has centred on developing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) methods for biomedical applications, over the last ~ 15 years in this field.

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This has included the application and development of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques in neuroscience, and the development of quantitative MRI methods. I have developed/implemented arterial spin labelling (ASL) methods to measure blood flow and blood volume non-invasively in the brain. Since 2005, I have worked on applications of these techniques at ultra-high field (7T). I have a strong interest in fMRI and EEG/MEG correlates, with extensive collaborations and applications in high resolution fMRI, particularly to assess somatosensory and visual function, and the brain-gut interactions.

I have also a strong interest in applying these techniques to the body, in particular the kidney and liver, with a programme of work in this field to assess quantitative biomarkers of disease in these organs, using the methods developed for perfusion and quantitative structural mapping. To date, I have supervised 22 PhD students since my appointment to Lecturer in 2001 with colleagues in SPMMRC, School of Community Health Sciences, School of Psychology, and the Division of Academic Radiology and Food Sciences. I have co-authored more than 100 papers, and I have secured external funding from Research councils (MRC, BBSRC) and industry (Mars plc., Unilever plc., SAB Miller plc., Baxter Pharmaceuticals, and Fresenius).


Dr Paul Glover (Physics & Astronomy)
My research is centred on developments and applications of magnetic resonance imaging. Of particular interest is the design of radio-frequency probes to generate the required excitation fields and to pick up the signals. At high frequencies the short wavelength causes problems with image homogeneity.

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By careful design and using new multiple transmit methods these problems can be overcome. I am also researching the use of high temperature superconductive probes in MRI. Another area of interest is that of safety of magnetic fields and their interaction with the human body. Working in and around very high magnetic fields can cause dizziness, a metallic taste in the mouth and flashing lights in the eyes. Understanding the interaction mechanisms fully should lead to appropriate safety legislation related to magnetic fields.


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Prof. Penny Gowland (Physics & Astronomy)
Research Interests: Development and application of novel and established quantitative MR methods for experimental medicine. Currently particularly interested in z-spectrum (magnetization transfer), oximetry and ultrahigh field whole body methods, and gastroenterology, hepatology, neurology and obstetrics applications.

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Developing quantitative MRI for biomedical applications. 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. 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. 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.


Prof Paul Greenhaff (Life Sciences)
Research interests are centred on the changes in body composition and the dysregulation of muscle fuel and protein metabolism in ageing, immobilisation, acute trauma and inflammation and chronic disease, and strategies (including exercise, nutritional and pharmacological interventions) to offset these negative and pathophysiological effects. Research is primarily focused on the field of human integrative physiology/experimental medicine.

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Research approaches include dovetailing of human metabolic physiology techniques (e.g., indirect calorimetry, blood sampling, tissue biopsies, substrate and drug infusions) with intermediary metabolism, molecular biology, stable isotope turnover and MRI/S measurements in collaboration with clinical and scientist colleagues.

I fully agree with the vision that advances in techniques such as medical imaging, combined with powerful ‘omics technologies and stable isotope tracers, now allow us to approach the human as the ultimate experimental animal for improving human health in ageing and disease.


Dr Peter Harvey (Medicine/Chemistry)
Research interests: Synthesis and application of MRI contrast agents and other molecular imaging approaches in preclinical studies. Particularly focused towards neuroscience applications, including neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation, and brain delivery of therapeutics and diagnostics.

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Our work spans Chemistry and Medicine, using chemical synthesis to design and characterise new molecular imaging agents. These agents include both small molecule and nanoparticle approaches and are designed to be more disease-targeted than current clinical contrast agents. We are also particularly interested in developing multichannel imaging approaches for MRI and combining imaging modalities to increase the biological information obtained from imaging data. My aim is to develop a toolbox of molecular imaging probes that can report on the biochemical nature of disease in real-time. I am also the academic champion of preclinical MRI at UoN.


Prof. Stephen Jackson (Psychology)
A central theme of my research programme has been to understand the psychological and brain mechanisms through which sensory information is used to plan and control human action.

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During goal directed movements such as reaching out to pick up a glass of water, sensory signals must be transformed into appropriate motor commands. For visually guided movements, this involves translating visual information, signalling the spatial position of the target, into a motor plan which specifies the sequence of postural changes required to bring the hand to the target. An issue of fundamental importance is therefore to understand how visual information, specifying position, shape and surface texture of an object, is combined with somatosensory information signalling the current state of the body (e.g. limb position), and then used to generate the appropriate motor command signals.

My colleagues and I investigate the nature of the sensorimotor transformations which underlie goal-directed action in three ways. Firstly, we examine how unconstrained reaching movements are planned and executed by healthy adults. A key focus of these investigations is frequently to dissociate visual and somatosensory cues during the planning and execution of movement. Secondly, we examine how movement planning and control mechanisms are altered by brain damage or brain disease. Finally, we try to localise the brain mechanisms which underlie our ability to plan and control human action using a variety of non-invasive brain imaging techniques such as event-related electroencephalography, transcranial magnetic stimulation and functional magnetic resonance imaging.


Dr Walter Kockenberger (Physics & Astronomy)
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are important tools in many scientific disciplines, including medical diagnostics, molecular biology, pharmaceutical and material sciences.

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However, due to fundamental principles that relate to the low energy of interaction between a strong magnetic field and the weak magnetic moment of certain nuclei such as hydrogen, the sensitivity of these techniques is usually low in comparison to other spectroscopic techniques. I am currently involved in the design and testing of an novel spectrometer which will provide much higher sensitivity. The instrument relies on exploiting the interaction between unpaired electrons and nuclear spins in a process called dynamic nuclear polarisation (DNP). The approach is technically very challenging since it requires the accommodation of two iso-centres within a superconductive magnet. The realisation of such a prototype instrument will have strong impact on many research areas since the generation of a much stronger NMR signal will open up a range of novel applications such as NMR microscopy with very high spatial resolution and very fast spectroscopy of the interaction of different nuclei. For instance, it will make micro-imaging and spectroscopic studies on a single cell level possible or it may enable us to perform NMR spectroscopy experiments with very high temporal resolution.

I am also interested in theoretical aspects of DNP and the use of parahydrogen to enhance the NMR signal. In this context I have used principles based on optimal control to design strategies for the distribution of spin polarisation in a system containing more than two coupled spins. Further details of NMR and MRI research projects can be found on the Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre webpage. Current Teaching Biomedical Physics (F31AB1) Molecular Biophysics (F32SB3) Computational Physics (F32SC2)


Prof. Luca Marciani (Medicine)
Research Interests: In-body imaging of foods, beverages, dosage forms, medical devices and formulations, intestinal fluid distribution and the development of novel MRI tests for gastrointestinal motility and transit. Studies of gastrointestinal function in physiology and pathology using MRI methods in combination with other physiological and behavioural techniques.

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I lead the NIHR-funded MAGIC project developing a new MRI medical device to measure gastrointestinal transit in paediatric constipation and the UK part of a FDA-funded project with the University of Michigan using MRI to study the in vivo fluid and motility environment of the undisturbed gut, with a view to improve physiological relevance of in vitro testing methods and in silico transport analyses for prediction of bioperformance of oral dosage forms.

I also lead postgraduate research projects looking at colon drug delivery, gastrointestinal responses to breakfast porridges from different grains and to rice in healthy participants, to gluten free diet in coeliac disease and at the motility responses to feeding in Crohn's disease.

I am also involved in a range of projects within the Nottingham GI MRI Research Group. These include imaging of novel dosage forms, the development of novel luminal contrast agents, small bowel imaging in inflammatory diseases, colonic motility in constipation and the effect of various food materials on gastrointestinal function and symptoms in health and disease.


Research Interests: Translational, NC3Rs, hyperpolarized 129Xe, MRI NMR, Krypton 83

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As the Chair of Translational Imaging Group, my work aims to develop novel magnetic resonance imaging techniques in the micro-imaging laboratory and ‘translate’ these concepts to the pre-clinical setting. My research is at the interface between chemistry, physics, material science and the biomedical sciences, compelling the group to take a truly multi-dispensary approach to research.


Prof. Peter Morris (Physics & Astronomy)
Research Interests: The development of techniques for 1H MRS, MNS and DNP and their application in studies of human skeletal muscle and brain. MRI/S at high and ultra-high field. MEG and the study of brain network dynamics.

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Trained in theoretical physics at the University of Cambridge and supervised for a PhD in solid state NMR by Sir Peter Mansfield at Nottingham, I helped, in 1977, to construct the worlds first whole body line-scanning MRI system (now in the London Science Museum). I helped establish the fundamental principles of MRI encapsulated in "Mansfield and Morris" (Academic Press, 1982), which became a source of inspiration to the field for more than a decade. A growing interest in biomedical applications took me to the Medical Research Council's National Biomedical NMR Centre and then to Cambridge as University Lecturer in Biochemistry, where I characterised new NMR cation indicators and was the first to study cardiac calcium transients in intact hearts. I am now Professor of Physics at the University of Nottingham, and Head of the Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre, a research facility for the development of novel magnetic resonance techniques and for their application in biomedical and other fields. Its outstanding contributions were recognised in 2001 through the award to the University of Nottingham of a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education. I lead a major research programme on the development of techniques for single-event fMRI, multimodal imaging (fMRI, EEG and MEG) and the use of 13C MRS to understand the metabolic basis of neural activation - work recognised in the award of the Sylvanus Thompson Lecture and Medal of the British Institute of Radiology in 1995. I have published widely (over 150 full papers, and 200 peer reviewed notes and abstracts), and have given more than 100 plenary / invited lectures at international meetings. I have served on the Board of Trustees of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and chaired its Publication Committee. I was elected President of the Dynamic Spectroscopy Group of the ISMRM for 2000/2001 and President of its UK Chapter (1999-2004). I have served as a Board Member of the MRC on two occasions and as a Panel Member of the UK's Research Assessment Exercise. I hold an MRC Programme Grant on 'Functional neuroimaging at ultra-high magnetic field' and a JIF award to establish a 'National ultra-high-field facility for functional magnetic resonance'. This is housed in an extension of the Sir Peter Mansfield M. R. Centre, which also provides laboratory and office space for a Hyperpolarised Technologies Programme, funded under the joint research councils Basic Technology Programme and a new SRIF funded MEG facility installed in early 2007.

For more details see


Prof. Paul Morgan (Medical Physics)
Research Interests: Application of MR Physics for translational research in a clinical setting, facilitating interdisciplinary research involving optimised MR Physics and Image Analysis techniques, multisite clinical trials using MRI (Multimodal assessment of paediatric brain tumours; Implementing improved characterisation of Multiple Sclerosis), assessment of Multiple Sclerosis using new 7T and 3T MRI techniques, direct clot imaging & vascular MRI

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My research focus is on the application of MR Physics for translational research in a clinical setting, and facilitating interdisciplinary research involving optimised MR Physics and Image Analysis techniques. In particular multimodal assessment of paediatric brain tumours using pragmatic multisite trials; assessment of Multiple Sclerosis using MRI techniques both in multisite trials and high field MRI; and direct clot imaging to improve visualisation and understanding of atherosclerosis.


Dr Karen Mullinger (Physics & Astronomy)
Research Interests: Developing Simultaneous EEG-fMRI methods (acquisition and analysis), multi-modal neuroimaging (fMRI [BOLD and CBF], MEG, EEG) to improve our understanding of neurophysiology, post-stimulus responses, negative BOLD signals

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Research Interests: Rheo-NMR, biological fluids, MRI, NMR

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Dr Alexey Potapov (Physics & Astronomy)

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Dr Denis Schluppeck (Psychology)
The aim of my research is to understand how we use our senses of vision and touch to gather information about the world and how we use that information to make decisions. I use a combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 3T and 7T, psychophysics, and computational modeling.

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In the visual domain, I study how humans perceive the colour, form, and motion of visual objects and make decisions based on those perceptions. In the somatosensory system, I am mostly interested how the sensory sheet of the body surface is topographically mapped onto cortical (and subcortical) areas and how other basic stimulus properties are encoded in the brain.


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Prof. Sebastien Serres (Life Sciences)

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My research is interdisciplinary and translational, combining magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and spectroscopy methods, immunohistochemistry and molecular biology. During my work at Oxford, I used these approaches to investigate cellular metabolism, vascular function and inflammatory processes in animal models.


Research Interests: Neuroimage Analysis, Brain connectivity/Connectome estimation, Diffusion MRI analysis & Tractography, Functional MRI analysis, Brain microstructure & Biophysical modeling, Big data scientific computing

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I am an Associate Professor in the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, School of Medicine and I also hold an honorary affiliation with the University of Oxford (Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain).

I am the Head of the Computational Neuroimaging Group at the University of Nottingham. I develop computational methods for exploring brain organisation using Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Specifically, I am interested in brain connectivity and brain tissue microstrucure in health and disease. My research focuses on the biophysical modelling and inference of brain connections at different scales mostly using diffusion MRI, but I am also particularly interested in data fusion approaches for combining strengths and bridging the gaps across modalities.

The methodology we develop is made publicly available through FSL, the most widely-used software package for brain image analysis.

I also review for the top journals in the field and I am a member of the Editorial Board of NeuroImage and of Brain Multiphysics. More details on Publons.