Skip to main content

Non-Invasive In-Vivo Histology in Health and Disease Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Objective

Understanding of the normal and diseased brain crucially depends on reliable knowledge of its microstructure. Important functions are mediated by small cortical units (columns) and even small changes in the microstructure can cause debilitating diseases. So far, this microstructure can only be determined using invasive methods such as, e.g., ex-vivo histology. This limits neuroscience, clinical research and diagnosis.

My research vision is to develop novel methods for high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 3T-9.4T to reliably characterize and quantify the detailed microstructure of the human cortex.

This MRI-based histology will be used to investigate the cortical microstructure in health and focal cortical degeneration. Structure-function relationships in visual cortex will be elucidated in-vivo, particularly, ocular dominance columns and stripes. Specific microstructural changes in focal cortical degeneration due to Alzheimer’s disease and monocular blindness will be determined, including amyloid plaque imaging.

To resolve the subtle structures and disease related changes, which have not previously been delineated in-vivo by anatomical MRI, unprecedented isotropic imaging resolution of up to 250 µm is essential. Methods for high-resolution myelin and iron mapping will be developed from novel quantitative MRI approaches that I have previously established. Super-resolution diffusion and susceptibility imaging will be developed to capture the neuropil microstructure. Anatomical imaging will be complemented by advanced high-resolution functional MRI. The multi-modal MRI data will be integrated into a unified model of MRI contrasts, cortical anatomy and tissue microstructure.

My ambitious goal of developing in vivo MRI-based histology can only be achieved by an integrative approach combining innovations in MR physics, modelling and tailored (clinical) neuroscience experiments. If successful, the project will transform research and clinical imaging.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/inorganic chemistry/inorganic compounds
  • /medical and health sciences/clinical medicine/radiology/medical imaging/magnetic resonance imaging
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/neurobiology
  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/neurology/alzheimer
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/neurobiology/neuroscience

Call for proposal

ERC-2013-CoG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-CG - ERC Consolidator Grants

Host institution

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV
Address
Hofgartenstrasse 8
80539 Munich
Germany
Activity type
Other
EU contribution
€ 1 217 483,80
Principal investigator
Nikolaus Weiskopf (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Alexander Otte (Mr.)

Beneficiaries (2)

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV
Germany
EU contribution
€ 1 217 483,80
Address
Hofgartenstrasse 8
80539 Munich
Activity type
Other
Principal investigator
Nikolaus Weiskopf (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Alexander Otte (Mr.)
University College London
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 782 516,20
Address
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Dorota Chmielewska (Ms.)