University of Hawaii Neuroscience and MRI Research Program

Research Topics

Imaging Core & Methods Development


Bioscience Research Infrastructure Development for Grant Enhancement and Success (BRIDGES) - MR Imaging Core"

(MR Core Director: Thomas Ernst, Ph.D.; funding source: NIMHD - 8G12 MD007601; Project Period: 09/15/2011 – 07/31/2016)

The overall objective of BRIDGES (PI: Marla Berry, PhD) is to promote research excellence in biomedicine by establishing an interdisciplinary network aimed at linking basic sciences, clinical medicine and translational research discoveries, with specific emphasis on addressing health disparities in underserved minority populations (http://rcmi-bridges.jabsom.hawaii.edu/). BRIDGES supports research activities focusing on Collaborations and Partnerships and Professional Development, and infrastructure cores in magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, proteomics, electrophysiology and behavior, microscopy, histopathology, human tissue biorepositories, bioinformatics, biostatistics and research ethics.

The MR Core, directed by Thomas Ernst PhD, maintains a 3T MRI scanner and provides sophisticated technical support to investigator-initiated protocols that require the use of MR techniques. 

Contact:
Steve Buchthal, Ph.D. - phone: (808) 691-5158; e-mail: buchthal -AT- hawaii -DOT- edu


“Obesity, Body Fat Distribution, and Cancer Risk in the Multiethnic Cohort"

(MR Core Director: Thomas Ernst, Ph.D.; funding source: NCI - 1P01 CA168530; Project Period: 09/01/2012 – 08/31/2017)

This program project aims to determine the relationships amongst obesity, fat distribution, genetics, and cancer risk in a multi-ethnic cohort. Prof. Ernst is in charge of a Core to image abdominal fat distribution using MRI techniques.

Contact:
Steve Buchthal, Ph.D. - phone: (808) 691-5158; e-mail: buchthal -AT- hawaii -DOT- edu


“RGR-based Motion Tracking for Real-time adaptive MR Imaging and Spectroscopy"

(Principal Investigator: Thomas Ernst, Ph.D.; funding source: NIDA - 5 R01 DA021146; Project Period: 09/01/2007 – 07/31/2014)

This project aims to improve imaging techniques on human subjects. People undergoing MRI scans must hold still for extended periods. This is difficult for children and some adults, especially those with movement disorders. We are developing ways to compensate and correct for patient motion during scans, including

(1) an optical head tracking system that is highly accurate and robust, with a potential time resolution in the millisecond range, and

(2) real-time adaptive MRS and MRS techniques that enables continuous tracking of the head position during a scan and applying corrections in real-time to minimize motion artifacts.

Contact:
Brian Keating, Ph.D. - phone: (808538-9011, ext 6473; e-mail: brianrk -AT- hawaii -DOT- edu

Robyn Yamakawa - phone: (808) 691-8964; e-mail:  robyn hy-AT- hawaii -DOT- edu


“General Development and Evaluation of Magnetic Resonance Techniques"

(Principal Investigator: Thomas Ernst, Ph.D., funding source: Internal; Project Period: continuing)

The goal of this project is to test or improve imaging techniques on human subjects. Enrolled subjects will be asked to do up to 4 scan sessions with each scan session lasting a maximum of 90 minutes.

Contact:
Brian Keating, Ph.D. - phone: (808538-9011, ext 6473; e-mail: brianrk -AT- hawaii -DOT- edu

Steve Buchthal, Ph.D. - phone: (808) 691-5158; e-mail: buchthal -AT- hawaii -DOT- edu


“Parallel MRI for Substance Abuse Research"

(Principal Investigator: V. Andrew Stenger, Ph.D., funding source: NIDA - 1K02 DA020569; Project Period: 09/01/2011 – 08/31/2016)

Pilot studies performed under this career development project will primarily focus on “parallel transmission” technique development using 3D/2D structural sequences, as well as rapid fMRI spiral sequences, applied to clinical research on drug abuse.

Contact:
Prof. Andy Stenger  - phone: (808) 691-5159; e-mail: stenger -AT- hawaii -DOT- edu


“Parallel MRI for High Field Neuroimaging"

(Principal Investigator: V. Andrew Stenger, Ph.D., funding source: NIDA – 5R01 DA019912; Project Period: 07/01/2005 – 05/31/2018)

The overall goal of this project is to develop rapid, artifact free functional MRI (fMRI) methodology for research on brain diseases including drug addiction. In the first 5 years of this study, we developed improved fMRI data acquisition protocols using ‘parallel transmission’ and ‘tailored RF pulses’ for correcting image artifacts at high field. We now aim to develop several novel methods for simultaneous multi-slice (SMS) fMRI. SMS imaging holds great promise for numerous MRI applications including fMRI because it allows for high (factor four and greater) increases in acquisition speed.

Contact:
Prof. Andy Stenger - phone: (808) 691-5159; e-mail: stenger -AT- hawaii -DOT- edu


Spectral Spatial RF Pulses for Gradient Echo MRI"

(Principal Investigator: V. Andrew Stenger, Ph.D., funding source: NIBIB – 5R01 EB011517; Project Period: 04/01/2010 – 03/31/2014)

This purpose of this project is to improve fMRI data acquisitions by developing new techniques for reducing image artifacts and improving data quality. The proposed techniques include the use of special “spectral-spatial” pulses and parallel transmitters. The methods will be developed and tested in studies of brain function using MRI.

Contact:
Prof. Andy Stenger  - phone: (808) 691-5159; e-mail: stenger -AT- hawaii -DOT- edu

Weiran Deng, Ph.D. - phone: (808) 691-5158; e-mail: weiran -AT- hawaii -DOT- edu  


All information and data obtained for the research are strictly confidential.








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Last Updated: January 2014
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