My work is focused on extracting robust and clinically relevant information from quantitative MRI data acquired within realistic scan times. The novel acquisition and analysis techniques that I develop are applicable across a wide range of clinical and neuroscientific problems where white matter and its connectivity are of interest, including Alzheimer's disease, brain development and neurosurgical planning.
AbstractMulti-tissue spherical deconvolution of diffusion MRI (dMRI) is a popular analysis method that provides the full white matter fiber orientation density function as well as the densities of cerebrospinal fluid and grey matter tissue in the living human brain, completely noninvasively. It can be used to track the long-range connections of the brain and provides a tract-specific biomarker for neuronal loss in the study of neurodegenerative diseases. Currently, the technique can be regarded as a macroscopic approach: it breaks up the dMRI voxels in terms of tissues rather than cellular components, the latter being potentially more relevant biomarkers. Unfortunately, recent studies have demonstrated that conventional low-dimensional dMRI scans lack the information to resolve these microstructural features. In this proposal, I will take multi-tissue spherical deconvolution to the next (microscopic) level by leveraging high-dimensional dMRI scans. These next-generation scans have shown great promise to disentangle different microstructural compartments. The new multi-compartment spherical deconvolution approach will allow simultaneous estimation of a high quality axonal orientation density function as well as the densities of cell bodies and extracellular space. This will enable high-quality fiber tracking and at the same time provide more relevant biomarkers, and will help spherical deconvolution to maintain its position as one of the go-to tools for dMRI analysis.
AbstractDiffusion Weighted (DW) MRI is a unique and noninvasive method to characterise tissue microstructure, based on the random thermal motion of water molecules. Of particular interest is its potential for inferring the orientation of the coherently oriented fiber bundles within brain white matter tissue, as this opens up the possibility of investigating brain connectivity in vivo using so-called fiber-tracking algorithms. This relatively new technique is becoming a valuable diagnostic tool for a large number of neuropathological diseases. The main goals of this research topic are: - to use clinically relevant acquisitions (< 15 minutes) - to estimate fiber orientations in each voxel as accurate as possible - to assess global brain connectivity by means of tractography
- Promotor: Jeurissen Ben