The Body MRI group research links basic science with clinical MRI and industrial product development in an effort to provide improved techniques for patient care. Our main focus areas are breast MRI, abdominal MRI, musculoskeletal MRI, MRI near metal, and the development of novel acquisition and reconstruction techniques for MRI.
Research Focus Areas
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among American women after lung cancer according to the Center for Disease Control. Currently the most common breast cancer screening method is X-ray mammography; however, several studies have shown that MRI has much higher sensitivity for detecting cancer, especially in high-risk women.
MRI Near Metal
The presence of metal can be a serious problem in MRI, because (1) Magnetic metals can experience a force in the scanner, (2) Long wires (such as in pacemakers) can result in induced currents and heating from the RF magnetic field and (3) Metals cause the static (B0) magnetic field to be inhomogeneous, causing severe image degradation.
There are many clinical indications for abdominal MRI, ranging from cancer to vascular abnormalities to emergency assessment. Abdominal MRI requires rapid imaging combined with other methods such as breath-holding, cardiac-triggered or respiratory-triggered imaging, and fat suppression in order to reliably show tissues of interest.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a major cause of disability - 75% of people over 60 will suffer from OA. In OA, articular cartilage degenerates, leaving no cushion for the joint to articulate, resulting in pain. Acute injuries such as ACL and meniscal tears increase the risk of OA. MRI offers excellent soft tissue contrast, and is the most accurate non-invasive way to image cartilage, menisci, ligaments and tendons.
In addition to numerous specific application areas, our group spends considerable time developing new MRI techniques that can be applied broadly. These include RF pulse design, MRI pulse sequences, reconstruction algorithms and image analysis tools, as well as "packages" that combine some of these elements.
The BMR group works with numerous researchers and groups, including the following: