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  Model-based approaches for magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the brain at ultra-high field strength

   School of Physics & Astronomy

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  Dr Adam Berrington, Prof Michael Chappell  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

We are seeking an enthusiastic and motivated candidate to work on developing new capabilities for measuring chemicals in the brain with ultra-high field MR (7 T). The successful candidate will join a vibrant and diverse interdisciplinary team at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre (SPMIC) and work closely with experts across the University and Precision Imaging Beacon.

Project Background

Proton MR spectroscopy (MRS) is a powerful technique to measure chemical composition of tissue non-invasively. At 7 T, many brain chemicals are detectable, which are of increasing interest to both neuroscience and clinical studies (e.g. in brain tumours and mental health). For example, markers of key mutations in glioma have recently been shown to be detectable using MRS, potentially enhancing diagnostic ability alongside MR imaging. However, compared to MRI, MRS is a noisy technique which limits our ability to detect neurochemicals reliably across the brain in reasonable scan times.

Project Aims

The successful PhD candidate will develop and investigate model-based approaches for MRS, which will be used to improve the speed and robustness of MRS and improve quantification of neurochemicals for whole brain metabolic imaging. The project will involve designing and implementing MRS imaging sequences on the 7 T scanner and developing computational methods to process the resulting image data. There is scope to tailor the nature of the research to the candidate’s own interests and there would be opportunities to work closely with clinicians and/or neuroscientists to exploit the developed imaging techniques. There is also an opportunity to extend imaging approaches to measuring neurochemicals over time during brain activation.

The candidate will have the opportunity to learn how to program pulse sequences on the ultra-high field MR scanner, develop their own analysis code, run human MR experiments and network with a range of academics outside of the UK.


·        Funding is only available for UK-based students

·        Candidates are expected to have, or be on track to obtain, a minimum of an upper second class honours in a relevant discipline such as physics, engineering, computer science, mathematics or related area.

Previous research experience as well as scientific programming (e.g. Python/Matlab) is desirable.

How to apply

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss this opportunity before applying, please contact Dr. Adam Berrington [Email Address Removed]

Applications can be made through:

Please upload a CV, a one page cover letter detailing relevant research experience and the contact details of two referees.

Physics (29)

Funding Notes

Funding is only available for UK-based students
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