"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.
Probing the Myocardial Microstructure with Rotating Frame Relaxometry
Detection of fibrotic remodeling without exogenous contrast agents has been a long-standing goal of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Despite the clinical success of quantitative tissue characterization techniques, conventional relaxometry has limited sensitivity and specificity. Alternatively, rotating frame relaxometry is a promising tool for the non-contrast detection of scar and fibrosis.
In this project, we aim to develop state-of-the-art imaging techniques to obtain novel biomarkers for the non-contrast assessment of scar and fibrosis in clinical routine with improved sensitivity and specificity.