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Medical Imaging Physics (INM-4)

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Breakthroughs in Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging for improved detection of brain diseases

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the most useful and rapidly growing neuroimaging tools. However, signal intensities in conventional MRI images are expressed in relative units that depend on scanner hardware and acquisition protocols. While this does not hinder visual inspection of anatomy, it hampers quantitative comparison of tissue properties within a scan, between successive scans, and between subjects. In contrast, advanced quantitative MRI (qMRI) methods such as MR relaxometry or diffusion MRI enable absolute quantification of biophysical tissue characteristics. A growing body of evidence shows that qMRI techniques are able to detect subtle microscopic damage, enabling more accurate and early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases. However, due to the long scan time required for qMRI, causing discomfort for patients and limiting the throughput, qMRI methods are not yet standard clinical practice.

B-Q MINDED aims to overcome the current barriers by developing widely-applicable post-processing breakthroughs for accelerating qMRI. The originality of B-Q MINDED lies in its ambition to replace the conventional rigid multi-step processing pipeline with an integrated single-step parameter estimation framework. This approach will unlock a wealth of options for optimization of qMRI. To accomplish this goal, B-Q MINDED proposes a collaborative cross-disciplinary approach (from basic MR physics to clinical applications) with strong involvement of industry.

B-Q MINDED proposes a unique training platform that enables young European researchers to develop a holistic view on qMRI research and development. The fellows enrolled in B-Q MINDED will have access to a variety of network-wide training events and will gain essential transferable skills that will positively affect their employability in academia and industry. By combining research, innovation, and education, B-Q MINDED will pave the way for introducing qMRI into the clinic.

Website B-Q Minded