Our research focuses on developing new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, especially techniques that acquire the image data very rapidly. This work involves MRI physics, signal processing, and image reconstruction techniques. Rapid MRI acquisition is particularly important for cardiac studies, because of cardiac and respiratory motion. One technique we are studying is real-time interactive imaging, which allows images of the beating heart to be acquired, displayed and controlled in real-time. This technique allows rapid evaluation of cardiac function and rapid scout scans of the coronary arteries. We are currently working to enhance the image frame rate and resolution using new image reconstruction methods implemented on dedicated high-performance Linux clusters. In addition to real-time imaging, we use our techniques to generate high-resolution images of the coronary arteries within a breath-hold. We apply our high-resolution images to noninvasive coronary angiography and coronary vessel wall imaging.
We also actively collaborate with other labs at UVa on a variety of projects. One such collaboration is focused on developing new contrast agents and imaging methods for targeted molecular imaging of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque, which has as its long-term goal preventing cardiovascular events. Another collaboration is focused on developing image-based models of musculoskeletal disease. We are also studying peripheral arterial disease through a set of MRI methods and developing new methods of characterizing heart failure. In collaboration with the active hyperpolarized gas imaging group, we are developing fast methods of imaging the lung.
- Improving the speed and spatial resolution of spiral k-space scanning in MRI through improved image reconstruction techniques.
- Increasing the frame rate of real-time MRI through the use of multiple receiver scanners and parallel processing on dedicated high-performance Linux clusters.
- Improving the efficiency and reliability of high-resolution MR coronary angiography by improving image contrast and signal.
- Developing methods for targeted molecular imaging of atherosclerotic plaque.
- Developing methods for rapidly imaging the muscles of the lower extremity to provide input data for musculoskeletal modeling.
- Studying peripheral arterial disease using a comprehensive collection of MRI methods, including vessel wall imaging and non-contrast angiography and perfusion measurements.
- Applying our rapid imaging methods to characterize heart failure quantitatively.
- Developing very rapid methods of imaging the lung using hyperpolarized gas.