EuroTech Postdoc Programme: Diffusion Magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) is used for the in vivo study of brain connectivity, which is the ensemble of white matter connections between different brain’s cortical regions that characterizes the neural anatomy, functional communication, and related pathologies. The fundamental microscopic units generating connections are the axons and the other components of the white matter microstructure, however the current signal processing pipelines used to generate connectivity at a macroscopic level do not explicitly account for it. As a consequence, different dMRI acquisition parameters, that render different dMRI data, will lead to the generation of different connectivity despite the same underlying microstructure: such a connectivity is not an expression of the microstructure and does not allow for quantitative comparability. This aspect is relevant given the enormous amount of data currently acquired and for its clinical implications. Hence, in this project I propose to leverage the knowledge of the composition of the white matter microstructure to use it in the processing pipeline to obtain a connectivity integrated with the microstructure itself. Joining diffusion with quantitative MRI, we will develop novel biophysical modeling and an optimized MR acquisition to estimate the nuclear magnetic resonance and geometrical properties of the microstructure, generating the connectivity from them. The development of this MR integrated connectivity is possible thanks to complementary scientific and infrastructural frameworks of three Eurotech institutions unified in a synergistic effort that involves MR acquisition, simulation, histological validation, and signal processing, which will set myself and the partners in a leading position in neuroimaging.
|Effective start/end date||01/01/2020 → 31/12/2021|