I am a senior postdoctoral researcher and the principal investigator of the project 'Clinical MRI of carotid atherosclerosis using T2 mapping: development and validation of novel methods for plaque lipid quantification' funded by the British Heart Foundation.
I am interested in developing methods for automating the quantitative analysis of vascular magnetic resonance images to deliver reliable and objective biomarkers of cardiovascular risk, focusing on carotid arteries and aorta. My approach is to tackle these diagnostic challenges by integrating image acquisition, analysis, and interpretation.
Atherosclerosis is the build-up of cholesterol in plaques within the wall of arteries. Carotid plaques can occlude the blood flow or break and release material that can block smaller arteries in the brain and cause a stroke. One of the main features indicating higher risk of rupture is the presence of a large lipid core within the plaque.
To identify plaques at risk of causing stroke, I proposed a quantitative technique based on T2 mapping. Together with my clinical collaborators, we have recently demonstrated that this method can characterise the plaque composition and measure the lipid content accurately.
We are currently working on improving the speed and robustness of this technique, with the aim to deliver a clinical tool for early detection of high-risk plaques, as well as identification of less vulnerable ones to avoid unnecessary surgical operations. In clinical trials, this method could be used to evaluate the effects of new lipid lowering drugs to fight atherosclerosis.
Differential Gene Expression in Macrophages From Human Atherosclerotic Plaques Shows Convergence on Pathways Implicated by Genome-Wide Association Study Risk Variants.
Chai JT. et al, (2018), Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol, 38, 2718 - 2730
T2 mapping MRI technique quantifies carotid plaque lipid, and its depletion after statin initiation, following acute myocardial infarction.
Alkhalil M. et al, (2018), Atherosclerosis
CAROTID PLAQUE LIPID REDUCTION, DETERMINED BY T2 MAPPING, OCCURS EARLY AFTER HIGH-INTENSITY STATIN INITIATION IN PATIENTS PRESENTED WITH ACUTE MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION
Alkhalil M. et al, (2018), HEART, 104, A6 - A6
Quantification of Lipid-Rich Core in Carotid Atherosclerosis Using Magnetic Resonance T2 Mapping: Relation to Clinical Presentation.
Chai JT. et al, (2017), JACC Cardiovasc Imaging, 10, 747 - 756
Inherited Aortopathy Assessment in Relatives of Patients With a Bicuspid Aortic Valve.
Bissell MM. et al, (2017), J Am Coll Cardiol, 69, 904 - 906