Northwestern University Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Carroll MRI Research Group

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Brain

Anatomical T1 weighted MR images

The role of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in day to day clinical practice is growing. Gadolinium based contrast agents have traditionally been used to enhance the signal from flowing blood, allowing rapid acquisition of high spatial resolution angiograms for the diagnosis of vascular disease. The ability to view the anatomy in 3D, as well as the minimally invasive nature of MR image acquisitions, offer some advantages over more invasive x-ray angiography.

Our research has been focused on the development of MR k-space sampling and image reconstruction strategies for acquisition of high spatial resolution time-resolved MR angiograms. The ability of time-resolved 3D angiography to depict compromised flow has proven a valuable tool in assessing the severity of vascular disease, a major source of mortality and morbidity in industrialized nations.

Recently, developments in contrast-enhanced MR image acquisitions and data analysis are providing a larger range of options for the diagnosis of ischemic stroke and certain types of cancer. We are currently working with indicator dilution techniques applied to heavily T2-weighted images for the assessment of cerebral perfusion. These imaging techniques have the potential to allow for rapid, real-time assessment of cerebral blood flow for the triage of patients suffering from acute stroke. In addition, we are using pharmocokinetic models applied to contrast-enhanced, time-resolved T1-weighted uptake curves in tumors to assess vascular volume and blood vessel permeability. These imaging techniques have the potential for staging and tracking the response to therapy of certain types of cancer.