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Perfusion MRI: novel methods to image cerebral blood flow and brain function

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides a powerful non-invasive tool to measure the rate of blood delivery to brain tissue (also known as cerebral perfusion). Cerebral perfusion plays an essential role in tissue viability and function, and it is implicated in many diseases (such as stroke, epilepsy, and tumours). Our group is among the international leaders in the development of Perfusion MRI methods. This PhD project will involve the development of novel methods to measure and analyse Perfusion MRI data, in particular using the technique known as Arterial Spin Labelling (ASL). These methods will then be used to investigate brain disorders (e.g. stroke, epilepsy, dementia, etc.), and/or to characterise whole-brain networks (e.g. with connectomics) in the healthy brain and how these networks are disrupted by disease. ASL Perfusion MRI offers a number of important advantages compared with more traditional BOLD fMRI methods to study brain networks, including quantitation, reduced image distortions and signal drop-out, increased spatial specificity, and increased sensitivity to low task frequency paradigms.

 

  1. Calamante F, Thomas DL, Pell GS, Wiersma J, Turner R. Measuring cerebral blood flow using Magnetic Resonance Imaging techniques. J. Cereb. Blood Flow Metab. 19:701-735 (1999).
  2. Liang X, Connelly A, Calamante F. Graph analysis of resting-state ASL perfusion MRI data: nonlinear correlations among CBF and network metrics. NeuroImage 87: 265–275 (2014).
  3. Liang X, Connelly A, Calamante F. Improved partial volume correction for single inversion time arterial spin labeling data. Magn. Reson. Med. 69: 531–537 (2013).
  4. Liang X, Tournier J-D, Masterton R, Connelly A, Calamante F. A k-space sharing 3D GRASE pseudocontinuous ASL method for whole-brain resting-state functional connectivity. Int. J. Imaging Sys. Techno. 22: 37-43 (2012).
  5. Calamante F, Masterton RAJ, Tournier J-D, Smith RE, Willats L, Raffelt D, Connelly A. Track-weighted functional connectivity (TW-FC): a tool for characterizing the structural-functional connections in the brain. NeuroImage 70: 199–210 (2013).
  6. Wells JA, Thomas DL, King MD, Connelly A, Lythgoe MF, Calamante F. Reduction of Errors in ASL Cerebral Perfusion and Arterial Transit Time Maps using Image De-noising. Magn. Reson. Med. 64:715–724 (2010).

MRI Blood Flow and Brain Connectivity Laboratory

Recent advances in MRI have revolutionised the way we investigate brain structure, brain function, and brain network connectivity. Our lab's main research interests include the development and application of MRI methods to measure cerebral blood flow (Perfusion MRI), super-resolution MRI methods based on diffusion MRI fibre-tracking (Super-Resolution Track-Weighted Imaging), as well as the role of these methods to study brain structural and functional connectivity. 

In particular, we specialise in the development of the two main Perfusion MRI techniques: Dynamic Susceptibility Contrast MRI (DSC-MRI) and Arterial Spin Labelling (ASL). The former is playing a key role in many clinical applications (e.g. stroke, tumours), while the latter provides a powerful quantitative tool to characterise functional connectivity.  

Super-Resolution Track-Weighted Imaging provides a means to exploit the information from whole-brain diffusion MRI fibre-tracking to achieve image resolution not previously possible in the human brain in vivo. This method not only can generate images with exquisite image detail, but also provides a unique framework to combine structural and functional connectivity information, and therefore investigate the structural-function relationships in brain networks. Given that the pathophysiological basis of many brain disorders is related to abnormalities in the structural and/or functional connections, this method is expected to have a major role in clinical neuroscience.

All Projects by this Lab

Perfusion MRI: novel methods to image cerebral blood flow and brain functionSuper-resolution MRI methods for the Human Brain ConnectomeMapping myeloarchitecture using diffusion MRIMRI brain parcellation based on data-driven methodsMapping cerebral haematocrit using MRINovel MRI methods to study dynamic brain connectivity

Imaging

The Florey is a world-leader in neuroimaging development and applied research. Both the Imaging and Epilepsy divisions specialise in advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods development, especially related to diffusion MRI, perfusion MRI, and methods to study brain functional and structural connectivity. Functional MRI (fMRI) and simultaneous fMRI and electroencephalography (fMRI-EEG) methods development and application are also a major priority. Neuroimaging is also a crucial component of several studies undertaken in the Stroke division.

Software Available

All Labs that operate in this Division

Advanced MRI Development GroupImaging and EpilepsyMRI Blood Flow and Brain Connectivity Laboratory