This research line focusses on designing and validating new MRI methods, mainly in the field of neurovascular, muscular and abdominal imaging.

MRI of the arterial wall is a promising technique allowing plaque phenotyping. Plaque segmentation based on MRI data is however still cumbersome because of the lack of a normalized intensity unit for MRI, motion artefacts, and the rather low (anisotropic) resolution. We are developing a pipeline for quantitative plaque analysis on MRI (T1, T2, ADC) that will allow clinical implementation of high resolution MRI based carotid plaque phenotyping in patients at increased cardiovascular risk. Carotid MR is further improved by designing MR methods to accurately measure wall shear stress (WSS) patterns in 3D. In 2011 two STW CARISMA grants were obtained for this research (collaboration EMC Rotterdam and LUMC Leiden). Patient studies are conducted in close collaboration with the departments of Neurology and Vascular Medicine and in the context of CTMM ParisK.

Arterial spin labeling (ASL) is a non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique for the quantification of cerebral perfusion. ASL does not involve intravenous injection of contrast agents or exposure to ionizing radiation. It is an attractive tool in the pediatric population and in longitudinal studies with repeated measurements. Previously our group studied ASL in a group of children suffering from sickle cell disease. Abnormal perfusion patterns may predict silent infarctions in this patient population. This research is presently being continued in a larger group of adult patients (funding NutsOhra). ASL is also applied in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, since perfusion deficits detected by ASL are believed to be associated with disease progression. In a collaboration with the PET centre at the VUMC rigourous validation of ASL is performed by comparing the sensitivity to detect perfusion changes after hypercapnia of both PET and MRI.

Measuring the diffusion directional anisotropy enables reconstructions of local muscle fiber bundle orientations, which can be combined to provide three dimensional visualizations of muscle architecture. We aim to develop anatomical MRI and DTI protocols to advance tools for muscle segmentation and quantification of muscle specific architectural parameters. The combination of muscle DTI and the assessment of muscle deformation by using SPAMM tagged MRI and MR elastography delivers a unique window on muscle pathology. Clinical applications comprise the imaging of the pelvic floor, the heart muscle, forearm muscles and nerves (SMA, funding NutsOhra), upper leg muscles (postpolio syndrome) and the gluteus maximus muscle (decubitis, STW grant in 2012 together with TU/e).

Novel MRI techniques for cardiovascular and abdominal imaging encompass MRS in the liver and the heart (both proton and 31P, funding NIH/PI Dan Beard, University of Michigan), molecular imaging of colon cancer and real time motility assessment (CTMM DeCoDe project).

Collaborations exists with other Radiology PIs (Stoker, Reneman, Majoie), the departments of Vascular Medicine, Biomedical Engineering and Physics, Neurology, Psychiatry and the Brain Imaging Centre (BIC) in the AMC and the Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging in the Amsterdam area. On a national and international level research collaboration exists with EMC Rotterdam, UMC Utrecht, LUMC, TU Eindhoven, Mount Sinai Hospital New York (Fayad, Mulder), Centre de Recherche Biomédicale Bichat Beaujon/Paris, Trinity College Dublin, University of Michigan (Beard), Northwestern University Chicago (Markl) and Philips Healthcare.
Effective start/end date01/01/2012 → …

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