Research objectives and content
The applicability of functional MRI techniques to the clinical management of patients with sensory-motor and auditory cortex pathologies will be explored. This will necessitate the implementation of MRI pulse sequences capable of acquiring whole volume images in as short a time as possible, whilst maintaining a high degree of insensitivity to image artifacts produced by bulk patient motion, pulsatile brain motion and fluid flow. To this end, combinations of 3D segmented k-space EPI and FLASH pulse sequences with techniques such as echo-shifting, navigator echo collection and spiral k-space trajectories will be developed in conjunction with suitable activation-task paradigms. Imaging protocols will be developed initially using healthy volunteers. Two clinical roles will be explored: fMRI for surgical planning of patients with tumours of the sensory-motor cortex and fMRI in the management of patients with auditory cortex pathologies, in particular those experiencing tinnitus.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
Experience will be gained in the development of advanced MRI pulse sequences on state-of-the-art clinical MR imaging systems, using sophisticated techniques such as multi-shot 3D EPI, navigator echo based motion correction, echo-shifting and spiral k-space trajectories. Experience in activation-task paradigm design, and the implementation of image registration and data analysis software packages will also be acquired.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
A close research collaboration between the host institution and the manufacturers of the MR imaging systems installed at the host institution (Philips) has been signed with respect to advanced neuroimaging methods.