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Super-resolution MRI methods for the Human Brain Connectome

Our group has shown that the technique of diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can be used to obtain an estimate of the macroscopic white matter fibre orientations at each location in the brain, which in turn can be used with a fibre-tracking algorithm to reconstruct a representation of the white matter pathways in the brain.

For the case of whole-brain fibre-tracking, several million tracks (also known as streamlines) are generated, thus providing an overall representation of white matter pathways throughout the brain. More recently, we have shown that these data can be used to generate images with resolution higher than the resolution of the acquired data (i.e. to achieve 'super-resolution'), in a technique we called super-resolution track-weighted imaging (TWI). This methodology provides a natural means to combine structural and functional connectivity information into a single image, and therefore can play a major role in the characterisation of the Human Brain Connectome (a comprehensive map of neural connections in the human brain). This PhD project will involve the development of novel methods for the analysis of super-resolution TWI, and their application to Connectomics. Following on the footsteps of the genome, Connectomics (or the study of the ‘connectome’) is a major growing field in neuroscience, with the ultimate aim of developing a comprehensive map of the structural and functional connections in the brain.

Calamante F, et al. Track-weighted functional connectivity (TW-FC): a tool for characterizing the structural-functional connections in the brain. NeuroImage 70: 199–210 (2013).  

Calamante F, et al. Super-resolution track-density imaging of thalamic substructures: comparison with high-resolution anatomical magnetic resonance imaging at 7.0T. Human Brain Mapping 34:2538–2548 (2013).

Calamante F, et al. A generalised framework for super-resolution track-weighted imaging. NeuroImage 59: 2494-2503 (2012).  

Cho ZH, Calamante F, Chi JG. 7.0 Tesla MRI Brain White Matter Atlas (2nd Edition). Springer-Verlag (2014), Berlin, Germany. ISBN: 978-3-642-54391-3.

Calamante F, et al. Super-resolution track-density imaging studies of mouse brain: comparison to histology. NeuroImage 59: 286-296 (2012).  

Calamante F, et al. Track density imaging (TDI): validation of super-resolution property. NeuroImage 56:1259-1266 (2011).  

Calamante F, et al. Track Density Imaging (TDI): Super-resolution white matter imaging using whole-brain track-density mapping. NeuroImage 53: 1233–1243 (2010).  

Tournier J-D, Calamante F, Connelly A. MRtrix: diffusion tractography in crossing fiber regions. Int. J. Imaging Sys. Techno. 22: 53-66 (2012).

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