Project ID BE-MI2024_09


Co Supervisor 1A Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences, Department of Biomedical EngineeringWebsite

Co Supervisor 1B Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences, Department of Perinatal Imaging & HealthWebsite

High Resolution Ultrahigh Field Functional Magnetic Resonance imaging of Newborn Infants

The human brain undergoes rapid sequences of physiological and anatomical changes during the period immediately after birth as the cortex forms and networks of correlated functional activation appear. The importance of this period is emphasised by the fact that brain injuries during this time invariably result in later neurodisability. There is thus a clear need for tools that can accurately study the human brain’s structure and function during this critical stage of development.

Since its inception, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has transformed clinical care and neuroscience research, with sensitivity further enhanced with the use of ultra-high field (7 Tesla (T) or higher) scanners. 7T MRI is especially beneficial in enhancing diagnosis and understanding of diseases which affect the cortex and is particularly effective at enhancing functional MRI contrast (fMRI) used for studying patterns of brain activation. The aim of this project is to use fMRI to study activity in the developing brains of newborn infants at unprecedented high resolution, building on King’s pioneering work as one of only two centres worldwide performing this type of work.

This project aims to build on this early work, producing highly individual and sensitive measures of brain activation in this interesting but vulnerable population. It would suit a student with mathematical/computational science background who will be trained in programming MRI scanners and image analysis. In years 1-2 they will develop high data-rate acquisition methods (both 2D simultaneous multi-slice and 3D imaging) suitable for studying whole brain connectivity and layer-specific activation mapping with the very small fields of view required for imaging of infants. The second objective (years 2-3) will explore motion correction and patient handling methods that are necessary for imaging unsedated infants. These methods will then be deployed for systematic task-based and resting state fMRI studies on a cohort of infants (years 3-4).

Representative Publications

1. ‘Specific absorption rate and temperature in neonate models resulting from exposure to a 7T head coil Shaihan J Malik, Jeffrey W Hand, Ryan Satnarine, Anthony N Price, Joseph V Hajnal. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2021. Doi: 10.1002/mrm.28784

2. Parallel transmit pulse design for saturation homogeneity (PUSH) for magnetization transfer imaging at 7T David Leitão, Raphael Tomi‐Tricot, Pip Bridgen, Tom Wilkinson, Patrick Liebig, Rene Gumbrecht, Dieter Ritter, Sharon L Giles, Ana Baburamani, Jan Sedlacik, Joseph V Hajnal, Shaihan J Malik Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2022. Doi: 10.1002/mrm.29199 An

3. MR fingerprinting approach for quantitative inhomogeneous magnetization transfer imaging Daniel J West, Gastao Cruz, Rui PAG Teixeira, Torben Schneider, Jacques‐Donald Tournier, Joseph V Hajnal, Claudia Prieto, Shaihan J Malik Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2022. Doi: 10.1002/mrm.28984

1. Spatiotemporal tissue maturation of thalamocortical pathways in the human fetal brain. Sian Wilson, Maximillian Pietsch, Lucilio Cordero-Grande, Daan Christiaens, Alena Uus, Slava Karolis, Vanessa Kyriakopoulou, Kathleen Colford, Anthony N Price, Jana Hutter, Mary A Rutherford, Emer J Hughes, Serena J Counsell, J Donald Tournier, Jo V Hajnal, A David Edwards, Jonathan O’Muircheartaigh, Tomoki Arichi. eLife 2023. Doi: 10.7554/eLife.83727

2. Development of functional organization within the sensorimotor network across the perinatal period. Sofia Dall’Orso, Tomoki Arichi, Sean P Fitzgibbon, A David Edwards, Etienne Burdet, Silvia Muceli. Human Brain Mapping 2022. Doi: 10.1002/hbm.25785 Cortical

3. Processing of Multimodal Sensory Learning in Human Neonates. Sofia Dall’Orso, William P Fifer, Peter D Balsam, Jacqueline Brandon, Camilla O’Keefe, Tanya Poppe, Katy Vecchiato, A David Edwards, Etienne Burdet, Tomoki Arichi. Cerebral Cortex 31 (3), 1827-1836. Doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhaa340