"Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing."
- Wernher von Braun
Mapping out cardiac electrical properties: a quantitative approach to radiation-induced heart damage.
Ionizing radiations are a powerful tool in cancer treatments but may also lead to heart tissues damage.
We are developing new quantitative methods to enable the use of MRI to map out the electrical properties of the hearts of patients who have been exposed to radiation. This potentially enables early detection of damage to cardiac tissue. As a result, it may ultimately lead to targeted radiation therapy with fewer side effects.
Needle-free biopsy of the esophagus: quantitative magnetic resonance imaging as an alternative to endoscopic diagnosis.
Stomach and esophagus diseases are a growing problem in Western countries. Upper endoscopy combined with biopsy is the standard for diagnosis, however, this procedure can be very unpleasant for patients, and, in rare cases, serious complications can occur.
The goal of this project is to develop MRI techniques to examine the esophagus in a completely non-invasive way, with short acquisition time and while the patient breathes freely – providing the maximum comfort for the patient. For extensive characterization of the esophagus tissue, several imaging biomarkers are measured simultaneously. We hope that the availability of a completely non-invasive alternative to endoscopy will greatly improve patient comfort and safety in the clinical care of gastrointestinal diseases.
Oscillating current imaging with MRI: Towards non-invasive detection of direct markers of neuronal activity.
Obtaining insights into the functional organization of the brain is fundamental for the understanding of mechanisms leading, for example, to neurodegenerative disorders.
We are working on the development of a technique for the direct detection of neuronal currents through MRI. We work on imaging techniques to sensitize the MRI signal directly to neuro-oscillating current at certain frequency bands. Our goal is to propose an alternative to the standard BOLD contrast for functional MRI that generates more direct results, bypassing completely the study of the hemodynamic response. The application of this new approach might unlock a new level of detail in the study of the human brain in vivo.
Measuring forces in the knee cartilage using Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Cartilage in the knee joint serves a primary function in the bearing of load in the human body. Failure to respond to normal loads may occur when the cartilage is degenerated by tearing or abnormal water content. Furthermore, studies have shown that T2 assessment of the knee joint can be used to detect early changes of osteoarthritis.
The goal of this project is to apply an external force on the foot of several subjects and measure the effects on quantitative MRI parameters in the knee cartilage.
We hope that these results will provide us with further insight of healthy knees so that the detection of abnormalities can be improved.