Prof. Nikolaus WeiskopfDirector
Our vision is to develop and apply functional microstructure imaging and in-vivo histology using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as novel non-invasive MRI methods to reliably characterize the detailed functional and anatomical microstructure of the human brain.
To resolve the subtle microstructure and its changes in health and disease, unprecedented spatial resolution, minimal artifact levels and high tissue specificity of the imaging are essential. To address these extraordinary methodological challenges, we pursue an interdisciplinary approach, developing novel MRI and functional MRI (fMRI) acquisition methods, image processing methods and integrated biophysical models. The developed methods are compared to ex-vivo histology and validated and applied to well-characterized neuronal systems (e.g. visual cortex), focusing on the relationship between functional and structural micro-organization in vivo.
The successful development of in-vivo histology using MRI (hMRI) and fMRI of the micro-organization will have significant impact on research and clinical applications. Investigations of the structure-function relationship and plasticity at the microstructural level would become feasible in humans. This will allow for an improved understanding of how brain structure determines function and functional demands affect structure. Microstructure imaging is expected to provide sensitive biomarkers of nervous system changes due to trauma or neurodegeneration, and to facilitate novel insights into underlying mechanisms.
Available PhD positions
Potential PhD projects reflect the highly interdisciplinary research program and are within the following domains:
- MR physics: sequence development, image reconstruction, prospective motion correction, field monitoring
- Data analysis: processing of high-resolution, multi-contrast imaging data, distortion correction, super-resolution
- Biophysical modelling: modelling of MRI contrast using data driven, AI and generative models
- Applications: proof-of-concept studies in specific pathologies and healthy controls (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, monocular blindness)
- Validation: advanced histological methods (e.g. XRF, PIXE, CLARITY)