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ECE Seminar: 7 Tesla MRI in the management of neurological diseases

Speaker Name: 
Dr. Melanie Morrison
Speaker Title: 
Postdoctoral Scholar, Radiology School School of Medicine
Speaker Organization: 
University of California San Francisco
Start Time: 
Monday, April 26, 2021 - 10:40am
End Time: 
Monday, April 26, 2021 - 11:45am
Via Zoom Presentation
Asst. Prof. Shiva Abbaszadeh


Recent advances in imaging technology have led to the emergence of state-of-the-art ultra-high field (UHF) MRI scanners (7 Tesla (7T) or greater), that hold promise for improving the clinical management of neurological diseases. Compared to clinical scanners that operate at lower field strengths (1.5T and 3T), UHF systems can achieve higher signal-to-noise ratio and enhance image contrasts yielding superior resolution of fine anatomical structures, greater specificity of quantitative MRI metrics, as well as shorter scan times. When use to inform clinical decision making, UHF MRI can provide superior diagnostic and surgical confidence. As a research tool, it can increase sensitivity for detecting small effects and is thus advantageous for biomarker development. In this talk, you will hear about three different UHF applications specifically involving 7T MRI to: 1) evaluate the long-term effects of radiation therapy on brain tumor patients 2) develop biomarkers for predicting the onset of Huntington’s disease and 3) predict the efficacy of a surgical neuromodulation therapy for Parkinson’s disease called deep brain stimulation. Existing technical challenges and barriers to clinical integration of UHF MRI will also be discussed.


Melanie is a first-generation graduate who received her PhD in Medical Biophysics from the University of Toronto in 2016. After developing an expertise in preoperative functional imaging of brain tumors, she joined the Lupo Lab and ultra-high field MRI group in UCSF’s Radiology department where she has since as trained as a postdoc on projects focused on the management of neurological diseases. Recently, she has been finding her independence as an early-stage imaging scientist in the field of deep brain stimulation, a neuromodulation therapy used to treat severe neurological and psychiatric disorders. Outside of her research she serves as a mentor to first-generation and disadvantaged students, and is a member of her department's diversity committee and institution’s Black caucus. In her spare time you’ll find her in the ocean, baking, reading or working on her fiction novel!

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