7T MRI-based virtual bone biopsy for short-term assessment of therapy response in the distal tibia.

Research of the Laboratory for Structural, Physiologic and Functional Imaging (LSPFI) is aimed at quantitatively characterizing tissue properties and their relationship to physiology and function by means of spatially resolved magnetic resonance in humans. The laboratory is almost entirely funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and involves intra- and extramural collaborations with a wide range of specialties, including neurology, psychiatry, cardiology, endocrinology, neonatology, hematology, craniofacial surgery, and orthopedics.  

A major focus of LSPFI’s research is toward development of methods for the study of oxygen consumption, with a particular emphasis on neurometabolism, and the application of these methods to the study of degenerative and acquired neurovascular disease such as obstructive sleep apnea.

A further line of work focuses on methods for quantification of systemic vascular disease via functional MRI-based techniques including time-resolved blood flow, vascular compliance and dynamic venous blood oximetry.  Applications of these methods currently in progress target the peripheral and central vascular system in preclinical vascular disease, such as in subjects exposed to aerosols from e-cigarette use and other lifestyle related conditions. An ongoing project resorting to similar methodology is directed toward the study of placental metabolism via T2-based quantification of oxygen saturation in maternal and fetal circulation.

The laboratory is also involved in ongoing methods development and reduction to practice with translation to the clinic of new quantitative solid-state proton and phosphorus MRI techniques for the study of bone matrix and mineral properties and their application to the evaluation of degenerative bone disease and treatment assessment. The use of solid-state imaging is also explored toward conception of a method for constructing cranial models as surgical aids to evaluate pediatric patients with craniosynostosis and for selectively imaging myelin in the CNS in view of possible applications in white matter disorders.

LSPFI is also active in the further development of methods for quantitative assessment of metabolic and degenerative skeletal disorders by means of image-based computational biomechanics, with the longer-term goal of creating orthopedic applications of high-resolution structural imaging, including patient-specific hip fracture prediction involving generation of high-resolution 3D anatomical models.

Phase Image movie

Phase difference mapping in conjunction with the cylinder approximation for the induced intravascular field yields venous oxygen saturation, shown here for the jugular vein.