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MRI compatible motion platform

Our team is working on developing an advanced MRI-compatible device that is capable of positioning a phantom and replicating physiological movements to enhance the accuracy of qMRI evaluations.

Project Overview

Imagine a clinic where doctors can quickly and painlessly measure characteristics of tissue inside a patient, without an invasive biopsy – this is the goal of quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Liver disease is a major public health challenge worldwide. Excessive fat accumulation (steatosis) in the liver affects approximately 25% of the world population (i.e., over one billion people), and prevalence is increasing everywhere. If untreated, steatosis can lead to further liver damage, cirrhosis, and cancer. Thus, it would be highly impactful to have a non-invasive measuring technique like quantitative MRI to determine clinically relevant quantities like liver fat and iron concentration. Making these MRI techniques robust against respiratory and other bodily motion is important for improving their “foolproofness” and facilitating their widespread adoption for use in a wider range of patients.

The Quantitative Imaging Methods Lab (QIML) in the Department of Medical Physics and Radiology is interested in the development of these motion-robust quantitative MRI methods. A motion platform which is safe for use in the highly magnetized environment of the MRI scanner, and can produce consistent motion patterns which mimic that of patients, would contribute greatly to the development and testing process for motion-robust MRI methods.

The development of a mechanical device which is MR-compatible poses some unique challenges. Magnetic metals must not be used at all, and the use of other metals (eg. brass, aluminum) should still be minimized due to the possibility of induced currents as the magnetic field varies over the course of operation of the MRI scanner. A nonmagnetic piezoelectric ultrasonic motor is available for students to integrate into their design, as well as nonmetallic linear sliding rails and bearings. Depending on the interests of the students, the project could be extended to creating motion with multiple degrees of freedom (2D planar motion or translational motion and compressive deformation) or the implementation of a MR-compatible form of closed-loop feedback.

Team Picture

Amber Schneider, Kendra Besser, Jamie Flogel, Caspar Uy, Maxwell Naslund
Amber Schneider, Kendra Besser, Jamie Flogel, Caspar Uy, Maxwell Naslund


Contact Information

Team Members

  • Maxwell Naslund - Team Leader
  • Kendra Besser - Communicator
  • Caspar Uy - BSAC
  • Amber Schneider - BWIG
  • Jamie Flogel - BPAG

Advisor and Client

  • Dr. James Trevathan - Advisor
  • Mr. Jiayi Tang - Client
  • Dr. Diego Hernando - Alternate Contact

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