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This project will combine advanced Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRI) methods to better understand, and eventually treat, progressive Multiple Sclerosis. The focus of our lab is Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, a condition whereby the immune system attacks the brain, which is a chronic neurological condition with few treatments.

Our lab harnesses multiple advanced MRI techniques, with some limited to just a few sites world-wide, to probe the structure and function (perfusion, microstructure, metabolism) of the brain. 

We have identified new signatures of otherwise invisible inflammatory processes occurring in the brains of people with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) and wish to combine our findings with other neuroimaging methods to provide a composite score of tissue health for patient follow-up and treatment. This would be invaluable for future studies in PPMS, and be world-leading in this combination of imaging data. 

Whilst in the lab, you’ll join a warm and friendly multi-disciplinary team of physicist, radiologists, and clinicians to tackle this project. You’ll be well supported in your day to day work, and will make a real impact in the lives of people with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. 

Additional supervision will be provided by Professor DamianTyler and Professor Gabriele De Luca..


During your time in the lab you’ll be trained in the running of clinical studies, processing of patient biofluids, imaging and clinical data. Further training will included dedicated learning surrounding metabolic pathways and imaging. 

You’ll have chance to learn to how to use an MRI scanner, as well as to scan volunteers and patients in the study. 

You’ll be given hands on help with the learning and application of Matlab and Python programming languages for data reconstruction, postprocessing, and analysis. 

Students are encouraged to attend the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine DPhil Course, which takes place in the autumn of their first year. Running over several days, this course helps students to develop basic research and presentation skills, as well as introducing them to a wide range of scientific techniques and principles, ensuring that students have the opportunity to build a broad-based understanding of differing research methodologies.

Generic skills training is offered through the Medical Sciences Division's Skills Training Programme. This programme offers a comprehensive range of courses covering many important areas of researcher development: knowledge and intellectual abilities, personal effectiveness, research governance and organisation, and engagement, influence, and impact. Students are actively encouraged to take advantage of the training opportunities available to them.

 As well as the specific training detailed above, students will have access to a wide range of seminars and training opportunities through the many research institutes and centres based in Oxford.

The Department has a successful mentoring scheme, open to graduate students, which provides an additional possible channel for personal and professional development outside the regular supervisory framework. We hold an Athena SWAN Silver Award in recognition of our efforts to build a happy and rewarding environment where all staff and students are supported to achieve their full potential.




Grist et al. ‘Quantifying normal human brain metabolism using hyperpolarized [1 – 13C ] pyruvate and magnetic resonance imaging’


Grist et al. ‘Hyperpolarized 13C MRI: A novel approach for probing cerebral metabolism in health and neurological disease’


Grist et al. ‘Developing a metabolic clearance rate framework as a translational analysis approach for hyperpolarized 13 C magnetic resonance imaging’


Lassmann et al. ‘Progressive multiple sclerosis: pathology and pathogenesis.’


Kuhlmann et al. ‘Multiple sclerosis progression: time for a new mechanism-driven framework’