Research Area: Simultaneous Multislice Imaging
The technology of MRI has generally required each two-dimensional image of a patient to be acquired separately from images of other imaged "slices." With the goal of increasing the spatial and temporal resolutions of series of repeated acquisitions to image dynamic processes, we have been developing the technology of multi-band or simultaneous multislice (SMS) imaging. With this technology, several distinct two-dimensional slices are acquired simultaneously and separated through post-processing algorithms. Our lab has been primarily involved with the development of software run on the MRI machine to acquire this SMS data, and the software used for the subsequent separation in post-processing.
The technology of SMS imaging has been primarily used at MCW to accelerate the time required to image a full brain volume in functional magnetic resonance experiments. While a "standard" single band acquisition can image the full brain with a spatial resolution of 4 mm in 2 seconds, SMS technology conservatively achieves the same spatial coverage in 0.5 seconds and has been shown to yield pertinent data at temporal resolutions of less than 150 ms. Increased temporal resolution arising from this acceleration offers increased statistical power in down-stream functional image processing and improved resilience to subject motion by attenuating intra-acquisition motion confounds.
Research Area: Fast Relaxometry
The challenge of tissue classification in MRI is non-trivial due to varying tissue contrasts based upon a variety of physical processes. While two tissues may be best distinguished with one form of contrast, other neighboring tissues are often better separated with another form of MR contrast. While several scans can be acquired within a single session at the imaging system, patient motion and acquisition-related distortions can confound the subsequent fusion of multi-contrast data. This is particularly a challenge in functional neuroimaging acquisitions where functional data is acquired with a vastly different resolution and acquisition methodology compared to standard anatomic imaging methods. For this reason, we are actively developing a portfolio of acquisition pulse sequences which can quantitatively estimate several physical parameters simultaneously.
Also see Dr. Nencka's radiology page.
Center for Imaging Research | Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226 | (414) 955-4663