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Pushing the Limits of Multi-nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy of the Heart, Liver and Muscle

Pushing the speed/resolution limits of MRSI

The Group is focused on the development and application of new methods for cardiac, skeletal muscle and hepatic metabolism assessment using Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS). MRS is a technique capable of uncovering changes in tissue chemical composition and metabolic processes non-invasively in vivo. This is particularly attractive for organs where invasive biopsy is too risky, e.g., the heart, and for longitudinal interventional studies where repeated collection of biopsy samples is impractical.

Improving reliability, stability, accuracy, and precision of the acquired and analysed metabolic data is the top priority of the Group. We achieve this through implementation of rapid acquisition strategies, techniques capable of breathing motion monitoring and compensation, and through application of smart reconstruction algorithms for data analysis, as well as absolute quantification of metabolite concentrations. At the same time, the group is pushing the boundaries in the field of ultra-high field (7T) proton 1H and phosphorus 31P MRS, providing novel metabolic markers and potential therapeutic targets.

The newly developed techniques are tested in phantoms, healthy volunteers and applied both in physiological and clinical studies, as well as in drug trials investigating safety, efficacy and/or mechanism of function. While most changes in metabolism occur in diseases, there are also sub-clinical and naturally occurring physiological changes in tissue metabolism related to aging, diet and training. To reliably quantify the level of metabolic impairment caused by the disease the underlying physiological changes need to be well understood.

Our patient-oriented research is focused on (but not limited to) patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), heart failure with reduced and preserved ejection fraction (HFrEF and HFpEF), hypertrophied cardiomyopathy (HCM), metabolic dysfunction associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD), long-Covid, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and lower extremity arterial disease (LEAD).

Research at DPhil level as well as shorter student projects in the group are well suited to those interested in tissue metabolism in health and disease. Students will ideally have a background in biomedical engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine or related fields. Depending on the project, good software design skills, including C++ and Matlab are important, and an understanding of physiology is preferable.

Novel biomarkers of cardiac metabolismNovel biomarkers of cardiac metabolism

Our team

Lab alumni

DPhil students:

  • Dr Jane Ellis
  • Dr Andrew Tyler
  • Dr Motitz Hundertmark

Short project students:

  • Ms Ina Hanninger
  • Mr Stanislav Fryštik
  • Ms Alison Farrar
  • Mr Jakub Wardak
  • Ms Iveta Pajanová
  • Ms Erin McConnell Montoya

Related research themes