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Removing motion from MR images of the pelvis

Project Description

This project is one of 9 four-year PhD Studentships funded by Medical Research Scotland ( to be delivered jointly by the named University and Company. The Studentship will provide the first-class academic and commercial training needed to equip the successful candidate for a science career in an increasingly competitive market.

"Motion correction of MR images of the pelvis" to be delivered by the University of Edinburgh [Supervisors: Dr Lucy Kershaw and Dr Scott Semple (both Edinburgh Imaging)] and Canon Medical Research Europe Ltd ( [Company supervisor: Dr Keith Goatman].

In dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI, images are rapidly acquired during the injection of a contrast agent (CA). The CA is taken up in the tissue of interest, causing it to appear brighter over time. By mathematical modelling of the passage of the CA into the tissue through feeding blood vessels and its subsequent wash in and wash out, we can estimate microvascular properties such as blood flow and vessel leakiness.

Before applying a tracer kinetics model to the dynamic images, we should correct for motion of the tissue of interest. In practice, however, motion correction is rarely applied in DCE-MRI due to several issues including: large, abrupt motion; large volumetric, high temporal-resolution datasets; image contrast changes during CA uptake; a lack of easily-applicable methods and difficulties in robust evaluation of registration quality. Despite this, there have been attempts to include motion correction using a wide range of approaches in different body areas, but no technique has gained widespread adoption.

For the uterus, a major source of motion is the bladder, which can easily double in volume during 30 minutes of scanning, lifting and rotating the uterus with wide variation within and between subjects. The uterus is therefore a good model case to develop into a broader motion correction method. There have been few DCE-MRI studies in the structurally normal uterus, and no dynamic uterine dataset has explicitly corrected for bladder motion.

There is an unmet need for a robust image analysis tool to correct motion in the pelvis for DCE-MRI and other images within and between examinations. In future, this method could have wider applications in radiotherapy planning and PET-MRI reconstruction.

The aim of this project is to use existing scans to develop a validated and robust motion correction tool for MRI in the female pelvis that can be applied in a clinical setting.

Canon Medical Research Europe Ltd (CMRE), based in Edinburgh, designs and develops leading edge software for medical image visualization and analysis used in CT, MRI and other medical scanners used in hospitals worldwide. CMRE are an R&D centre of excellence with strong academic and research links.

While based in the CMRE office the student will be an active member of the Image Analysis team, working with a team of experts who develop software to commercial quality. They will also be encouraged to network and collaborate with team members and other students on placement within CMRE.


Enquiries should be sent by email to Dr Lucy Kershaw:

Candidates must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a first or 2.1 UK honours degree, or equivalent for degrees obtained outside the UK, in a relevant discipline (eg physics or computer science).

Applicants should send a CV and a covering letter, describing their research interests and explaining why they wish to carry out this project, by email to Alexandra Moreira (Postgraduate Administrator):

Applicants must also arrange for two academic referees to submit letters of reference via email to Alexandra Moreira:

before the closing date for applications.

Short-listed candidates will be notified by email.

Please note, your application may be shared with the funders of this PhD Studentship, Medical Research Scotland and Canon Medical Research Europe Ltd.

Interviews are expected to take place approximately 3-4 weeks after the closing date for applications.

It is anticipated that the PhD Studentship will start in September 2019.

Funding Notes

PhD Studentship provides:

An annual tax-free stipend of £17,500, increasing to £18,000 over the four years; tuition fees at UK/EU rates only; consumables; and contribution to travel expenses. International fees are not covered.


How good is research at University of Edinburgh in Clinical Medicine?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 206.93

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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