T1rho Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Ischemic heart disease is an enormous health and economic burden and the most common cause of death throughout the world. A devastating manifestation is acute myocardial infarction (MI) which results in myocardial loss and precipitates a cascade of events including myocardial scarring, adverse left ventricular (LV) remodeling, heart failure and death. While late gadolinium enhanced (LGE) MRI can detect myocardial fibrosis, there is significant interest in non-gadolinium contrast or endogenous contrast methods to spatially map infarcted tissue, detect recent ischemic injury and edema, or assess injury in patients with insufficient renal function who cannot receive contrast agents. Our group is investigating T1ρ (“T-one-rho”) MRI as an endogenous contrast method for quantitative non-invasive imaging of myocardial injury. In comparison to T2 and native T1, T1ρ permits better detectability of myocardial fibrosis with improved specificity. Our research is investigating the origins of endogenous contrast in myocardium, fibrosis detection in large animal models of ischemia reperfusion and in patient studies. Our recent work developed new methods for imaging infiltrative fibrosis in hypertropic cardiomyopathy and early studies demonstrating the potential for detection of interstitial disease.
Human Placenta Project
The National Institute of Child Health and Development recently launched the Human Placenta Project, a nationwide collaborative research effort to study the placenta and its effects on both the mother and the fetus. At the University of Pennsylvania and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Examining Placenta Oxygenation Perfusion and Size (EXPLORE) team (PIs Nadav Schwartz and Daniel Licht) consists of clinicians and imaging scientists working to assess how in vivo development of the placenta can impact management of maternal nutrition. Our role is to develop flow and perfusion imaging techniques of the placenta using phase contrast (i.e. 4D flow) and arterial spin labeling MRI approaches. Check out our previous work on 4D flow in the heart.