The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) lab at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) is involved in the development of MRI data acquisition, image reconstruction, and post-processing techniques, and application of such techniques in the investigation of the healthy and diseased brain. The current research of the MRI lab focuses in two major research areas: 1) development of human brain atlases, and 2) multi-parametric in-vivo and ex-vivo MRI in aging and dementia.
Human Brain Atlas Development
Human brain atlases play a crucial role and are widely used in neuroimaging. A digital brain atlas typically consists of MRI-based templates and semantic labels delineating brain regions according to the structural, cytoarchitectural, functional or other characteristics of the underlying tissue. Brain atlases are used as references for spatial normalization, probability maps defining tissue prior distributions for segmentation or registration, spatial maps for automated brain parcellation or seed selection for fiber-tracking and functional connectivity, training data for machine learning algorithms, or standards for algorithm evaluation. Consequently, brain atlases are crucial tools for investigations conducting voxel-wise, region-of-interest, and network analyses, as well as for the development of biomarkers. The MRI lab has developed the IIT Human Brain Atlas, a comprehensive, high-quality, multi-channel atlas of the young adult brain, containing not only anatomical templates, but also state-of-the-art diffusion tensor (DT) and high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) templates, probabilistic gray matter labels, and probabilistic HARDI connectivity-based white matter labels.
Multi-parametric in-vivo and ex-vivo MRI in aging and dementia
Understanding the complex role of brain characteristics in the mechanisms supporting cognitive health or leading to cognitive decline in old age is of critical importance. Towards this goal, the MRI lab uses multi-parametric in-vivo and ex-vivo MRI in studies of older adults without dementia to a) establish the array of brain characteristics integral to cognitive function in old age, b) uncover how these brain characteristics are influenced by genetic, demographic, lifestyle, neuropathologic and clinical factors, as well as interventions, c) probe brain integrity in the preclinical stages of age-related diseases, and d) develop MRI biomarkers of age-related neuropathology's.
Details of our research on neuroimaging with MRI are provided at the web site of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Lab.