TR&D Projects

TR&D Projects

The research activities of CAI²R combine three areas of novel and high-impact imaging technology development, which are grouped into individual Technology Research and Development (TR&D) projects. These core technology developments are complemented by Collaborative Projects (CPs) and Service Projects (SPs), which will focus on three general areas of high public health impact: cancer, musculoskeletal disease, and neurologic disease.

TR&D #1 Summary

Towards Rapid Continuous Comprehensive MR Imaging: New Methods, New Paradigms, and New Applications
Principal Investigators: Daniel K.Sodickson, MD, PhD & Ricardo Otazo, PhD

In this project, we will develop and disseminate novel approaches to MR image acquisition and reconstruction, in order to serve the needs of our collaborative and service projects and ultimately to change the operating paradigm for both research and clinical scanning. Working from encouraging preliminary studies, we will design rapid continuous acquisition protocols capable of providing comprehensive information-rich datasets im-mune to patient motion and representing a broad range of image contrasts over a broad range of spatiotem-poral resolutions. The approaches we will pursue take advantage of compressed sensing and parallel imaging approaches, in which we have been recognized leaders. This project will also connect closely with TR&D #3, in which we will take advantage of synergies between continuously and simultaneously acquired MR and PET to improve both modalities still further. In short, TR&D #1 is not merely an “image reconstruction” core, or a “rapid imaging” core. Instead, it will provide for collaborators and for the field at large a new way to gather simple, information-rich image datasets, spanning multiple imaging modalities and contrast mechanisms.

The research team for TR&D #1 will be led by overall BTRC PI Dr. Sodickson together with Dr. Ricardo Otazo, a young investigator who has been at the forefront of developments in compressed sensing and rapid imaging and who heads an interdisciplinary team that has recently pioneered far-reaching applications of compressed sensing, parallel imaging, and golden-angle radial acquisitions.

TR&D #2 Summary

Radiofrequency Field Interactions with Tissue: New Tools for RF Design, Safety, and Control
Principal Investigators: Christopher M. Collins, PhD & Graham C. Wiggins, D.Phil.

Though the comprehensive continuous MR acquisition approach developed in TR&D #1 can in principle be implemented using simple radiofrequency (RF) coil structures such as birdcage body coils, it will benefit notably from the use of encircling RF coil arrays with suitable geometric diversity, encoding capability, and volumetric coverage. Also, there is currently no reliable way to monitor or predict in vivo tissue heating in response to applied RF fields, which is an issue that must be addressed not only for continuous acquisition in MR, but also for traditional MR pulse sequences. In this second TR&D project, we will turn the problem of RF field interactions with tissue on its head to yield new coil designs with unprecedented performance, new basic understandings of in vivo electrodynamics, new image contrast based on tissue electrical properties, and a new means of robust safety prediction. As part of the project, we will develop and share widely a comprehensive suite of software for rational RF coil design and evaluation, which will allow sites without expertise in coil design to understand and make contributions to the complex area of RF engineering. We will also disseminate, through both academic and industrial channels, new tools for RF field safety assessment, allowing monitoring and prediction of actual individualized in vivo local specific absorption rate (SAR) and temperature rise on a patient-by-patient basis.
TR&D #2 co-PIs Dr. Collins and Dr. Wiggins are world leaders in the areas of MR safety and RF coil design, respectively. They will lead a team with far-reaching expertise in electrodynamics and RF engineering.

TR&D #3 Summary

Advancing MR and PET Through Synergistic Simultaneous Acquisition and Joint Reconstruction
Principal Investigators: Fernando Boada, PhD, Yu-Shin Ding, PhD & Johan Nuyts, PhD.

Although the complementary contrast provided by MR and PET scans certainly calls for multimodality combination, the advent of combined MR-PET scanners provides opportunities much greater than the simple superposition of MR datasets and PET datasets. For TR&D #3, we will use the novel continuous acquisition approaches developed in TR&D #1, along with additional innovations in image acquisition and reconstruction, to improve the fundamental capabilities of PET, and in general to make MR-PET greater than the sum of its single-modality components. We will explore 1) motion correction based on simultaneous MR and PET acquisition, for improved spatial and temporal resolution; 2) combined image reconstruction taking advantage of joint sparsity, etc; 3) joint tracer kinetic modeling; and 4) development of PET tracers for use in PET and MR-PET studies. In summary, TR&D #3 is not merely a “PET” core, or even an “MR-PET” core. It will result in imaging techniques that go beyond MR alone, PET alone, or even traditional “multimodality” approaches to create a truly integrated imaging paradigm with heretofore inaccessible performance. Dr. Fernando Boada, our BTRC Co-Director and innovator in basic and translational MR science, and Dr. Yu-Shin Ding, who is well known for her leadership in radiochemistry, will be joined by Dr. Johan Nuyts in leading a research team which has been expanded substantially since our original submission, and which includes dedicated expertise in MR and PET image acquisition and reconstruction, tracer kinetic modeling, radiochemistry, etc.


Philanthropic Support

We gratefully acknowledge generous support for radiology research at NYU Langone Health from:
• The Big George Foundation
• Raymond and Beverly Sackler
• Bernard and Irene Schwartz

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