Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides a unique way of non-invasive investigation of the 3D organisation of biological tissues and materials.
The physical basis of MRI is the intrinsic magnetism of atomic nuclei. The magnetic moment of a single atomic nucleus is extremely small and effectively undetectable. However, the collective magnetisation of nuclei in a macroscopic sample can be sufficiently large to be detected, especially in the case of nuclei that are abundant in the sample. This is the case in most biological tissues, which contain around 60-70% water by weight, providing for a high-intensity 1H MRI signal.
This is an interdisciplinary, collaborative project and you may interact with researchers from other fields, such as cancer research.
The principal aim of this project is to apply portable Magnetic Resonance instrumentation to characterisation of biological tissues.
Specific project topics include:
Sensing of mammographic density in breast tissue
Mammographic density is a significant risk factor for the development of breast cancer, as well as a confounding factor in breast cancer diagnosis. This project will involve adapting novel portable MRI instrumentation (NMR-Mouse) to non-invasive measurement of mammographic density in vivo.
Collagen organisation in tendons and ligaments
MRI of tendons and ligaments is complicated by the Magic-Angle effect, where the appearance and the MRI properties of the tendon are dependent on its angle with the magnetic field. This project will involve an investigation of the molecular mechanism of the Magic-Angle effect.
You'll use novel MRI instrumentation to characterise composition and structural organisation of biological tissues. The outcomes of this project will include the development of novel protocols for biomedical MRI.
Skills and experience
Interpretation of the data will involve custom-designed data processing. Therefore, familiarity with computational software such as Mathematica or MATLAB is desirable.
You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.
Contact the supervisor for more information.