Heat has been used as a basic and versatile treatment in Medicine for thousands of years. However, there is still relatively little objective evidence regarding how and when heat treatments are best applied. The main objective of the proposed study is to develop reliable Magnetic Resonance Thermometry (MRT) and Microwave Radiometry (MR) based protocols for quantitative in-vivo mapping of the variation in temperature in tissues of the human body. The protocols will be applied to quantify the temperature changes produced by thermal agents such as the over the counter medicine DeepHeat, used to provide pain relief and support recovery in a range of chronic conditions, and the medical device DeepFreeze, used to reduce inflammation in acute injury. Thus, it will be possible to test the claim that DeepHeat cream and DeepFreeze gel respectively produce warming and cooling at depth and not just superficially, and to begin a series of experiments to better understand the mechanisms of action of these products and to investigate their efficacy in treating special medical conditions (e.g. chronic neck and shoulder pain, acute sports injury, etc.).
Medical Ultrasound is interesting because the technique can be used both for imaging and for delivering heat therapy whereby it is called High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound (HIFU). In particular, mild thermal stimuli can be used to simply warm the tissue or more intense stimuli can be used to thermally ablate a lesion. However, currently an Ultrasound based approach does not exist for temperature measurement. We will therefore use MRT to compare heat treatment using HIFU and the DeepHeat pharmaceutical.
The PhD Project will provide an opportunity to learn and contribute to the development of state of the art Medical Imaging techniques. Furthermore, success in the challenge of being able to reliably map the temperature profile within tissue is of fundamental interest and at the cutting edge of Medical Science where, for example, heat is being used in new treatments such as heat activated drug delivery.
The research group is located in the University of Edinburgh / MRC Centre for Inflammation Research; a world-class research environment at the interface between biological and medical science, with multidisciplinary groupings focused on inflammation, infection, disease and repair. The Centre is based within the Edinburgh Medical School in the outstanding facilities of the Queen’s Medical Research Institute at the site of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh hospital, maximising future translational opportunities.
The studentship will be awarded competitively. Applicants should hold at least an upper second class degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline. Applicants should submit the following documents to [email protected]
: (i) Personal statement about their research interests and their reasons for applying; and (ii) CV.
Informal enquiries can be sent via email to Professor Neil Roberts at [email protected]
The successful applicant will be awarded a 3 year studentship, which includes their stipend and tuition fees (at the UK/EU rate).
The PhD is funded by The Mentholatum Company and supported by collaborations with the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT), China concerning MRI based temperature measurement and RTM Diagnostics, Moscow, Russia concerning the use of Microwave Radiometry.