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Development of motion robust fetal MR Spectroscopy (MRS)

Project Description

EPSRC Funded PhD scholarship available immediately, for start before April 2020

Location: King’s College London, Department of Bioengineering, School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences (

Short Project Description.

Measuring metabolite concentration in the fetal brain with MR Spectroscopy (MRS) has potential to assess the effects of placental dysfunction or alterations in the fetal circulation from congenital heart disease on brain development. However, due to continuous/unpredictable fetal motion, with standard MRS methodology, current success rate is low (50-70%).

We aim to develop a motion-robust MRS method resilient to fetal motion. This will be based on 3D volume navigator images collected concurrently with each MRS acquisition (every ~2 seconds), and fast real-time feedback allowing adjustment of the VOI position to maintain it in the same anatomical position irrespective of motion. Monitoring extent of motion and data similarity between repeats will allow quality assessment of the cumulative data collected and extension of the acquisition until data of sufficient signal-to-noise ratio for meaningful analysis has been collected. The aim is for fetal MRS to become a usable, reliable and robust clinical investigation tool.

For a longer description, please see:

You will learn about, and use, machine learning algorithms, MR Imaging and MR spectroscopy pulse sequences, advanced data acquisition and analysis methods. You will be trained in MR-scanner software and hardware in collaboration with scanner manufacturers. You will be able to attend relevant post-graduate courses in artificial intelligence, machine learning, medical imaging and relevant healthcare technologies as well as other transferrable skills through the School’s extensive educational programme. You will also be aligned with a large cohort of PhD students enrolled in the Smart Medical Imaging CDT (

Funding Notes

3.5 year Full-time PhD studentship, for UK students and EU students fulfilling the 3-year UK residency requirement (including home/EU tuition fees, annual stipend and consumables).
Non-residential EU students receive fees-only funding.

Candidates are expected to have a BSc or MSc in Physics, Engineering or a relevant subject.
Interested candidates are invited to contact the Project supervisor directly ( ) in the first instance. A round of interviews will then be arranged.


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• Lloyd et al., Three-dimensional visualisation of the fetal heart using prenatal MRI with motion-corrected slice-volume registration, Lancet 2018, accepted, THELANCET=D-18-04346R1

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• Roy CW, Seed M, van Amerom JF, Al Nafisi B, Grosse-Wortmann L, Yoo SJ, Macgowan CK, Dynamic imaging of the fetal heart using metric optimized gating, Magn Reson Med. 2013 Dec;70(6):1598-607. doi: 10.1002/mrm.24614. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

• Story L, Hutter J, Zhang T, Shennan AH4, Rutherford M, The use of antenatal fetal magnetic resonance imaging in the assessment of patients at high risk of preterm birth, Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2018 Mar;222:134-141. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2018.01.014. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

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