Developing spatially resolved imaging of functional neurochemistry and cell-type specific microstructure in the living human brain

Year of award: 2022


  • Dr William Clarke

    University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Project summary

A new generation of Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) tools promises to deliver powerful, novel, in vivo imaging of cell-type-specific microstructure and functional metabolism in the human brain. However, these new generation tools require a re-engineering of data acquisition and analysis methods to overcome low signal and a lack of spatial specificity. Therefore, I will advance these novel MRS methods by delivering techniques to simultaneously spatially – and temporally – resolve functional brain metabolism and cell-type-specific microstructure. This will unlock non-invasive, quantitative imaging measurements of metabolism underlying major healthy brain processes: plasticity, ageing, development; as well as disease pathophysiology. This research will:

- develop novel simultaneous spatially- and dynamically-encoded MRS in the human brain with high spatial and temporal precision

- enable these technological leaps by creating a dedicated spectroscopy analysis toolset to overcome the low signal-to-noise

- translate this technology to widely available commodity hardware and cement its use by tracking pharmacologically induced functional and structural plasticity.

I will create a powerful platform to explore novel spectroscopic signal mechanisms and share it through a well-established, open-source, neuroimaging package (FSL). This will enable critical but previously unanswerable clinical and basic science questions to be addressed.