Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS



Project ID: 8041
Funded under: FP6-MOBILITY
Country: United Kingdom

Final Activity Report Summary - MAGRESTRAINING (Training in Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Techniques, Hardware and Applications)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive technique for imaging the human body, which has revolutionised the field of diagnostic medicine. Future advances in 'digital medicine' will strongly rely on the realisation of the huge potential that MRI has in this area. The aim of the MAGRESTRAINING project was to provide a comprehensive education in MRI technology, to promote interdisciplinary collaboration and to offer access to a range of state of the art MR systems.

During the course of the project, we trained 11 fellows from 7 different countries, who made visits of 3 to 36 months duration. Four fellows were already awarded a PhD, with one additional fellow awaiting his PhD viva by the time of the project completion. Three fellows continued postgraduate study in Nottingham and were anticipated to complete PhD work in the next two years, while two others had returned to postgraduate study in their home countries. One fellow went on to train as a radiologist. The five fellows who had completed their postgraduate studies were all in employment. Four had taken up postdoctoral positions in the United Kingdom, Israel and Belgium, whilst one was working for a medical instrumentation company in Romania.

Fellows working on the MAGRESTRAINING project made important contributions to the further development of magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy in the following three main areas:

1. hyperpolarisation
The signal that is used to produce MR images and spectra is intrinsically weak and this limits data quality. In hyperpolarisation, a variety of methods are used to increase the nuclear polarisation, thus enhancing the signal strength. Mada used lasers to hyper-polarise helium-3, which he then employed in lung imaging studies. Scopelletti implemented high-speed MRI methods on a low magnetic field scanner that was commonly used for lung imaging studies. Her particular interest was in studying joint movement on a low-field MR scanner being developed by a Small-medium enterprise (SME) based in Italy. Bretschneider developed new methods for exploiting the very strong signals that could be produced after chemical reactions with hydrogen gas that was cooled to a low temperature, i.e. para-hydrogen. Panek, van der Drift and Senczencko developed methods and hardware for exploiting hyperpolarisation produced using dynamic nuclear polarisation. This involved cooling samples to a very low temperature of approximately -271 degrees Celsius and then irradiating them with microwaves, before rapidly thawing them. A particular focus of this work was the development of approaches that allowed for the measurement of maximum information before the transient hyperpolarisation decayed away.

2. ultra-high field imaging
High magnetic field offers many benefits for MRI and spectroscopy, including stronger signals and improved contrast, which could be used to increase the spatial resolution and information content of images. There was therefore a strong push to develop MR scanners operating at 7 Tesla. Sanchez showed that a brain function could be mapped at a resolution of 1 mm using MRI at 7 Tesla and also demonstrated the valuable synthesis of structural and functional images acquired at high field. Wesolowski implemented some of the first simultaneous measurements of changes in blood flow and oxygenation in the human brain at 7 Tesla. Mlynarczyk optimised high resolution structural imaging sequences for use in studies of multiple sclerosis at 7 Tesla, while Lotfipour developed apparatus and imaging methods for the study of post mortem brain tissue at very high resolution.

3. multi-modal imaging
The combination of Electroencephalography (EEG) with functional MRI (fMRI) formed a very powerful approach for studying brain function because together they provided high temporal and spatial resolution. Geirsdottir was involved in developing the best methods of implementing combined EEG and fMRI.


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