Imaging Physics & Engineering

Lead Research Organisation: MRC Clinical Sciences Centre

Abstract

Medical imaging remains a challenging area of research. The past 20 years have seen a revolution in our ability to look inside the body to detect disease and for scientific study. The Imaging Physics and Engineering group is dedicated to developing novel imaging technologies and to improving the information that can be obtained from these. Such improvements continue to have a major impact on the diagnosis and management of disease and in the study of disease processes. We are most focused on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), but also work with Ultrasound and other non-invasive approaches. The group consists of scientists, engineers and computer scientists working closely with collaborators from medicine, biology and other science based groups. We explore and develop new technologies, methods and computational algorithms for image acquisition and data analysis. Areas of interest include fetal imaging, dynamic imaging of the heart and blood vessels, exploration of novel magnetic materials for imaging technologies of the future, development and exploitation of multi-channel systems for faster imaging and for combating artefacts caused by patient motion during scanning sessions, image analysis and use of distributed computing to allow large scale collaborations between different centres engaged in multi-centre and multi-disciplinary work, safety studies modelling effects of time varying magnetic fields on the human body. The group has thrived on collaborative research and tries to maximally exploit the opportunities of having physical scientists embedded in a biomedical environment.

Technical Summary

This group explores the science and technology of medical imaging. Developments in imaging can have far reaching benefits for medical diagnosis, treatment guidance and monitoring, and as a scientific tool for exploring the both structure and function in living systems. We primarily work on Magnetic Resonance Imaging and are interested in extracting more and/or higher quality information by using novel technologies, techniques and algorithms for data acquisition and processing. We also have interests in Ultrasound imaging research and in emerging computational methods that allow data analyses and collaborative working between individuals and groups that have hitherto been impossible or completely impractical. The group installed the first cryomagnet-based system in the world and continues to implement new systems, coils, pulse sequences, image processing techniques and other methods for improving imaging and spectroscopy. A typical problem we are currently working on is imaging the fetal brain. The aim is to achieve high resolution 3D images of the developing human brain in utero using completely non-invasive methods in a time frame that is tolerable for the mother. The challenge arises from the movement of both the mothers abdomen and the fetus within it, which limits conventional approaches to obtaining snapshot slices that provide incomplete and inconsistent coverage of the brain. Using a combination of knowledge of the MRI acquisition process and advanced computational techniques we have achieved anatomical images that rival results conventional brain imaging of sedated neonates. Our methods are now being tested in clinical research. Early results suggest that this type of imaging could contribute to clinical care of problem pregnancies as well as providing a new observational window on a critical phase of human brain development. A key research opportunity is in exploring the effects of preterm birth on brain development. Other research interests include exploration of novel meta-materials with exotic magnetic properties that may form part of a next generation scanner technology, multi-channel MRI systems and their application to improving MR Images particularly by combating artefacts caused by patient motion, acceleration of imaging by exploiting data redundancy in dynamic imaging studies, and safety studies modelling effects of time varying magnetic fields on the human body. The group has extensive collaborations with clinical and scientific colleagues both within the CSC and Imperial as well as at other universities and in industry. This allows rapid exploitation of new developments and supports a wide ranging interdisciplinary research programme. Funding is broadly based, from the MRC, other UK research councils, charities and industry. Research output leads to scientific publications, patents and recently a spinout company, IXICO that provides image analysis services to the Pharmaceutical industry.

Publications


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A Rowland (2004) Theory and Performance of Mean Field Techniques Applied to Structural MRI in Proceedings of Distributed Databases and Processing in Medical Image Computing (DiDaMIC)
Adams EW (2004) Increased lung water and tissue damage in bronchopulmonary dysplasia. in The Journal of pediatrics
Aljabar P (2007) Classifier selection strategies for label fusion using large atlas databases. in Medical image computing and computer-assisted intervention : MICCAI ... International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention
Aljabar P (2010) Combining morphological information in a manifold learning framework: application to neonatal MRI. in Medical image computing and computer-assisted intervention : MICCAI ... International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention
Aljabar P (2005) Interpolation artefacts in non-rigid registration. in Medical image computing and computer-assisted intervention : MICCAI ... International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention
Atkinson D (2004) Coil-based artifact reduction. in Magnetic resonance in medicine
 
Description MRI safety - 2008
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact Contributed to re-appraisal of proposed EU directive
 
Description MRI safety 2009
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in advisory committee
Impact Contributed to re-appraisal of proposed EU directive
 
Description UK BioImaging strategy group
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description Action Medical Research, Project Grant
Amount £121,635 (GBP)
Organisation Action Medical Research 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 03/2007 
End 03/2009
 
Description Collaboration in science
Amount £4,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 201526/Z/16/Z 
Organisation The Wellcome Trust Ltd 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start  
 
Description Development Pathway Funding Scheme
Amount £548,666 (GBP)
Funding ID MR/N027949/1 
Organisation MRC-UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start  
 
Description EPSRC Project Grant EP/D050766/1 RF power absorption and temperature changes in mother/fetus and neonates associated with MRI examinations
Amount £246,619 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/D050766/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2006 
End 06/2009
 
Description EPSRC Project Grant EP/D503795/1 High Performance RF Metamaterials
Amount £474,256 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/D503795/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2006 
End 08/2009
 
Description EPSRC Project Grant EP/F011830/1 Computational Morphometry of the Developing Cortex - shared with M Rutherford
Amount £286,543 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/F011830/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 04/2009 
End 03/2011
 
Description EPSRC healthcare partnership EP/I000445/1 Computer aided diagnosis of neurological damage to improve care for infants born prematurely - shared with M Rutherford
Amount £511,739 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 11/2010 
End 11/2014
 
Description EPSRC programme grant EP/H046410/1 Intelligent Imaging: Motion, Form and Function Across Scale
Amount £6,011,429 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/H046410/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 03/2010 
End 03/2015
 
Description GSK Project Grant
Amount £655,497 (GBP)
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start 09/2006 
End 09/2008
 
Description IEH Grant
Amount £10,000,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Wellcome Trust Ltd 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 03/2014 
End 03/2021
 
Description MRC Strategic Grant
Amount £932,340 (GBP)
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 04/2009 
End 03/2012
 
Description MRC Strategic Grant
Amount £7,287,951 (GBP)
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2016
 
Description Project Grant
Amount £633,226 (GBP)
Organisation University College London Hospitals Charity (UCLH) 
Department National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 03/2008 
End 03/2012
 
Description Strategic Grant - the Develping Brain
Amount £7,278,954 (GBP)
Funding ID MR/K0006355/1 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2016
 
Description Synergy Grant
Amount € 14,900,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Research Council (ERC) 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 09/2013 
End 09/2019
 
Description Wellcome Centre
Amount £12,100,395 (GBP)
Funding ID 203148/Z/16/Z 
Organisation The Wellcome Trust Ltd 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 06/2017 
End 07/2022
 
Description Wellcome Trust Equipment Grant
Amount £633,226 (GBP)
Organisation The Wellcome Trust Ltd 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 12/2008 
End 03/2012
 
Title IXI cohort 
Description Database of MRI images of normal adult subjects 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of Data/Biological Samples 
Year Produced 2007 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Provides data for others to use in their research 
 
Title Naeonatal Atlas 
Description 4D atlas of the neonatal brain 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of Data/Biological Samples 
Year Produced 2009 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact provides spatial priors for analysis methods operating on the neonatal brain 
 
Description Brain analysis - DoC, Imperial 
Organisation Faculty of Engineering
Department Department of Computing
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Access to data and significant intellectual input
Collaborator Contribution Expertise and compute resources
Impact 19815080 19526505 19272356 19245840 19015039 18982587 18500985 18051100 18051099 18051039 18044611 18044561 17964459 17919930 17888685 17696128 17649910 17633705 17428687 17354950 17354848 17354834 17167996 16860573 20969966 20879376 20382238 20114082 20114079 19815080
 
Description Brain analysis - Lyon 
Organisation CERMEP Imaging Centre
Country France, French Republic 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Significant intellectual input
Collaborator Contribution Significant Intellectual Input
Impact 19815080 19245840 18500985 18051099 18044611 17428687 17354848 17354834 16860573 20382238 20114082 20114079 19815080
Start Year 2006
 
Description Cognitive Neuroimaging Group 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC)
Department MRC Clinical Sciences Centre
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution significant intellectual input
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input
Impact 19238472
 
Description Metamaterials 
Organisation School of Physical Sciences
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Experimental data, apparatus, significant intellectual input
Collaborator Contribution Significant Intellectual Input
Impact 11157159, 19461782 Title: Chiral Swiss rolls show a negative refractive index Author(s): Wiltshire, MCK; Pendry, JB; Hajnal, JV Source: JOURNAL OF PHYSICS-CONDENSED MATTER Volume: 21 Issue: 29 Article Number: 292201 Published: 2009 Title: An effective medium description of 'Swiss Rolls', a magnetic metamaterial Author(s): Wiltshire, MCK; Pendry, JB; Williams, W, et al. Source: JOURNAL OF PHYSICS-CONDENSED MATTER Volume: 19 Article Number: 456216 Published: 2007 Title: Sub-wavelength imaging at radio frequency Author(s): Wiltshire, MCK; Pendry, JB; Hajnal, JV Source: JOURNAL OF PHYSICS-CONDENSED MATTER Volume: 18 Issue: 22 Pages: L315-L321 Published: JUN 7 2006
 
Description Neonatal and fetal imaging 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC)
Department MRC Clinical Sciences Centre
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution software, image acquisition methods, image reconstruction methods, significant intellectual input
Collaborator Contribution Data, clinical information, important intellectual contributions
Impact 19926413 19564309 18952670 18687746 18051100 18044561 17964459 17919930 17888685 17696128 17633705 17354950 17344066 17174575 16882805 16866579 16675269 16452356 19643922 19526505 18383541 18051039 21087938 20980451 20969966 20879376 19926413 19643922 19564309
 
Description Neonatal imaging Group 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC)
Department MRC Clinical Sciences Centre
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Data acquisition methods, experimental hardware development, image reconstruction, data analysis
Collaborator Contribution Data, significant intellectual content
Impact 19926413 19564309 18952670 18687746 18051100 18044561 17964459 17919930 17888685 17696128 17633705 17606564 17354950 17344066 17174575 17005768 16882805 16866579 16675269 16452356 20971721 20969966 20879376 19926413 19564309
 
Description Optics - Imperial 
Organisation Faculty of Natural Sciences
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Significant intellectual input
Collaborator Contribution Significant Intellectual Output
Impact 19756100 17632634
Start Year 2007
 
Description Optics - UCL 
Organisation University College London (UCL)
Department UCL Computer Science
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution significant intellectual input
Collaborator Contribution Significant Intellectual Output
Impact 19756100 17632634
Start Year 2007
 
Description Philips medical systems 
Organisation Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
Department Philips Research Hamburg
Country Germany, Federal Republic of 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Data and significant intellectual input
Collaborator Contribution Data And Significant Intellectual Input
Impact publications that draw on the equipment supplied are: 19658161
Start Year 2006
 
Title IMAGE DATA MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS 
Description Method for manging medical image data for clinical trials 
IP Reference WO2010010403 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2010
Licensed Yes
Impact being exploited by UK SME
 
Title Image Data Fraud Protection 
Description Method for guarding against Fraud in presentation of medical images 
IP Reference WO2010010404 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2010
Licensed Yes
Impact being exploited by UK SME
 
Title Imaging of moving objects 
Description Method for measuring parameter maps by medical imaging in moving objects 
IP Reference WO2008135741 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2010
Licensed Yes
Impact being exploited by UK SME
 
Title MR Parameter map estimation from moving subjects 
Description Method to calculate parameter maps from multi slice MR images when the subject cannot stay still 
IP Reference US2010329528 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2010
Licensed Yes
Impact Allows diffusion tensor maps to be calculated for fetal brain in utero
 
Title SNAPIR - T1w fetal imaging 
Description A method for producing T1 weighted images of the fetal brain, or of other moving subjects 
IP Reference WO2011015865 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2011
Licensed No
Impact Provides effective T1 weighted imaging of the fetal brain for the first time
 
Title Scanner data collection 
Description Automatic Quality Assurance system for use in Magnetic resonance imaging and other medical imaging applications 
IP Reference US2010260399 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2010
Licensed Yes
Impact taken up by UK SME
 
Title Spectally selective parallel transmit 
Description Parallel Transmit MRI method for achieving robust spectrally selective excitation when there are off resonance effects 
IP Reference WO2010112941 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2010
Licensed No
Impact Achieves much more robust spectrally selective MR imaging
 
Title Subject specific chemical shift selective MRI 
Description Method for enhanced imaging of water or fat compartments by MRI making use of parallel transmit technology 
IP Reference WO2010112941 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2010
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact licensing negotiations with a Dutch company
 
Title Healthcare product for diagnosis of AD 
Description Spin out company that I co-founded has won TSB award to develop a new healthcare product 
Type Diagnostic Tool - Imaging
Current Stage Of Development Initial development
Year Development Stage Completed 2012
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact early phase of development - product is aimed at significantly improving diagnosis of dementia 
 
Company Name IXICO Ltd 
Description University spin out company that provides imaging services for clinical trials to the Pharmaceutical industry and is now developing a healthcare capability www.ixico.com 
Year Established 2004 
Impact Successful testing of new drugs with promise of better diagnosis methods from new product supported by award from the TSB launched dementia diagnosis product
Website http://www.ixico.com
 
Description School lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact School lecture

Interest raised in MRI
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description U3A 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact lecture to University of the 3rd age

Increased interest in medical imaging and brain research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007