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Development of combined PET-MR imaging biomarkers in brain tumours and neuropsychiatric diseases

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Asselin
    Dr L Parkes
    Dr J Matthews
    Dr David Coope
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This position is one of the 15 early-stage researcher (ESR) positions of the INSPiRE-MED European Training Network (, which focuses on the development of Magnetic Resonance (MR) Spectroscopy (MRS) and Imaging (MRSI) combined with Positron Emission Tomography (PET), enhanced by machine learning techniques.

PET tracers have been developed to bind to specific targets in the brain, providing information on specific pathological changes, such as neuroreceptor function or loss of synapses. MR imaging and MRS generally lack the specificity of PET but can measure multiple microstructural, physiological and metabolic tissue properties in a single scan. Simultaneously combining PET and MR therefore offers the opportunity to collect complementary information, allowing improved insight into disease mechanisms. The project of this ESR aims to develop in-vivo imaging biomarkers of synaptic function by combining measurements of neuronal density from MRSI and of synaptic density using the fluorinated PET tracer [18F]UCB-H. The method will be tested in healthy volunteers and first validated in glioma patients where the neuronal and synaptic densities vary with distance from the brain tumour in order to determine the repeatability, normal variability and sensitivity of the novel imaging biomarkers of synaptic function.

Supervision will be by experienced researchers specialising in neuroimaging using both MR and PET. Collaboration with clinical colleagues in neurosurgery will form an essential part of the project. The university runs an MSc in Medical Imaging Science ( and the candidate will be encouraged to attend relevant course units and lectures given by imaging experts.

The selected candidate will also be able to take advantage of the unique set-up of the INSPiRE-MED network, encompassing 12 academic and 9 industrial partners providing the researchers with transferable and generic skills as well as a comprehensive, wide-ranging education on the basic principles of medical imaging and image analysis.

Funding Notes

Funding for this PhD is linked to the vacancy advertised here If you are interested in this PhD you must apply for the vacancy in the first instance.

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.


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