MRI Technique Development
The research of several of our faculty focuses on the development and optimization of magnetic resonance imaging techniques. These efforts draw on a variety of physics and engineering principles, with a strong emphasis on theoretical modeling and simulation, and on practical implementation and evaluation.
Our major focuses include imaging and spectroscopy of the human lung using hyperpolarized helium- and xenon-based methods, and high-resolution 3-D imaging using conventional proton-based methods. Hyperpolarized helium and xenon are new MR-based gaseous contrast agents that are particularly well suited for imaging air spaces such as those of the lung. Hyperpolarized-gas MR provides high-resolution, detailed images of the lung that are far superior in quality to those from any existing clinical imaging method, and offers a variety of approaches for obtaining unique functional information about the lung. Our research on high-resolution 3-D imaging aims to increase spatial resolution, decrease acquisition time, and improve image quality for methods applicable to routine clinical imaging throughout the human body.
Our research interests are focused on early detection and characterization of disease using novel techniques, as well as on minimally invasive treatments for cancer. Most of our work has been done towards techniques that are primarily applicable to the lung and brain. Current research projects include: Regional Quantification of Lung Function in Cystic Fibrosis and Lung Cancer using Xe129 MRI; Non-invasive Cytoreductive Surgical Treatment of Lung Cancer and of Pleural Mesothelioma; Non-invasive Targeted Delivery and In-vivo Evaluation of Brain Therapy using MR guided Focused Ultrasound; Brain infusion using Convection Enhanced Delivery (CED).
My research involves the development of new pulse-sequence techniques, contrast mechanisms, and hardware for magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the lung and MR-guided focused ultrasound of the brain.
My research interest is the development of hyperpolarized media MRI techniques. I have focused in particular on hyperpolarized helium-3 MR imaging as well as the development of new MR spectroscopy and imaging pulse sequences for hyperpolarized xenon-129 MRI. I investigate the use of these tools to measure or detect changes in various physiological lung parameters such as the surface-to-volume ratio, the effective xenon diffusion constant in lung tissue, as well as the alveolar wall thickness and alveolar diameter in healthy and diseased lungs. Current research projects include multiple exchange time Xenon-polarization Transfer Contrast (MXTC) MRI, hyperpolarized helium-3 ventilation imaging in asthmatic children, and quantification of pulmonary xenon uptake and exchange.
My research interests include hyperpolarized noble-gas magnetic resonance imaging to study lung function and lung disease, optimization of MR pulse sequences, and lipid quantification in the liver using MR imaging.
The general goal of this lab is to develop MRI techniques for assessing the structure, function, and perfusion of the cardiovascular system, particularly in the setting of cardiovascular disease. While the focus is on imaging in cardiovascular disease, we are also involved in imaging in diabetes and in musculoskeletal disorders. Recent projects have included the development of displacement-encoded MRI for quantifying tissue motion, first-pass contrast-enhanced MRI and arterial spin labeling for imaging myocardial perfusion, molecular and cellular imaging of collagen and macrophages in myocardial infarction, and manganese-enhanced imaging of pancreatic beta cells. Through collaborations with radiologists, cardiologists, endocrinologists, molecular biologists, and mechanical and electrical engineers, the novel MRI methods developed by our group are applied in both clinical and basic medical research.
Our research focus is on developing new MRI techniques, especially techniques that acquire the image data very rapidly. This work involves MRI physics, signal processing, and image reconstruction techniques. Rapid MRI acquisition is particularly important for cardiac studies, because of cardiac and respiratory motion. One technique we are studying is real-time interactive imaging, which allows images of the beating heart to be acquired, displayed and controlled in real-time. This technique allows rapid evaluation of cardiac function and rapid scout scans of the coronary arteries. We are currently working to enhance the image frame rate and resolution using new image reconstruction methods implemented on dedicated high-performance Linux clusters. In addition to real-time imaging, we use our techniques to generate high-resolution images of the coronary arteries within a breath-hold. We apply our high-resolution images to noninvasive coronary angiography and coronary vessel wall imaging.
We also actively collaborate with other labs at UVa on a variety of projects. One such collaboration is focused on developing new contrast agents and imaging methods for targeted molecular imaging of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque, which has as its long-term goal preventing cardiovascular events. Another collaboration is focused on developing image-based models of musculoskeletal disease. We are also studying peripheral arterial disease through a set of MRI methods and developing new methods of characterizing heart failure. In collaboration with the active hyperpolarized gas imaging group, we are developing fast methods of imaging the lung.
Jaime Mata, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Radiology and Medical Imaging
Wilson Miller, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Radiology and Medical Imaging
John Mugler, Ph.D. - Research Divison Director; Professor of Radiology and Medical Imaging
Kai Ruppert, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Radiology and Medical Imaging
Chengbo Wang Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Radiology and Medical Imaging
Fred Epstein, Ph.D. - Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering; Professor of Radiology and Medical Imaging
Craig Meyer, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Professor of Radiology and Medical Imaging
Michael Salerno, M.D. - Assistant Professor of Radiology and Medical Imaging