MRI tractography in mouse models of genetic epilepsy: Creation of prognostic and diagnostic structural biomarkers

Our earlier classical histological analyses have shown that neuronal numbers and positioning are both altered in genetic forms of epilepsy prior to the appearance of overt seizures suggesting that structural changes precede epilepsy.

These changes, however, would be below the level of detection of current clinical MRI scanning technology and have led to the potentially erroneous conclusion that idiopathic generalised epilepsy (IGE) is characterised by a complete absence of structural change.  By combining recent developments in super resolution MRI (developed by members of the supervisory team) and high field MRI acquisition (16.4T) the candidate will seek to reveal structural changes, or biomarkers, that precede or are a consequence of epilepsy.  Because these approaches are directly translatable into the clinic any finding could be rapidly tested in patients.  The candidate will develop skills in preparing fixed mouse brains for MRI scanning at 16.4T at the Queensland Brain Institute for analysis using the MRtrix suite of software on a custom workstation to compare brains from control and genetic mouse models.

Richards et al Neuroimage 2014