SPUR 2021: IMPROVED METHODS FOR MEASURING HEART DISEASE AND STROKE PARAMETERS WITH MRI

Faculty Name:
Ed DiBella

Department:
Radiology & Imaging

Faculty College:
Medicine

Email:


Project Description:

The DiBella lab seeks to invent and refine new and better methods for the acquisition, reconstruction, and post-processing of MRI, with particular emphasis on cardiac and stroke applications. Our lab seeks to translate these improvements to clinical studies, and to use the methods to better understand physiology in health and disease. One set of current projects involves development of improved methods for measuring myocardial perfusion and fibrosis with MRI. Methods for higher spatial resolution, greater coverage, and elucidating differences across the cardiac cycle are being developed. We have pulse programmed new simultaneous multi-slice (SMS) and 3D acquisitions on the MRI scanner. Advanced reconstruction methods including constrained reconstruction and deep learning methods are also being developed for cardiac applications. Another project is to develop and evaluate methods for imaging the brain microstructure with diffusion MRI. SPUR students could work on either or both projects.

The stipend for this SPUR project is funded by an American Heart Association grant awarded to Dr. Stavros Drakos, MD, PhD. The stipend for this project is $4,000 instead of $5,000 due to grant funding limitations.



Opportunity Type:

This is a paid research position


Student Role:

We use custom matlab and python software to process the MRI data and obtain quantitative perfusion values in the heart in ml/min/g of blood flow to tissue, or to obtain maps of white matter fiber orientations in stroke subjects. We need someone to learn this software, process data, and extend the software to do a better job of quantification and to help validate these improvements. Remote Contingency Plan: In the case that students are required to work remotely for some or all of the Summer 2021 semester, these projects will in large part proceed as outline above, although in person meetings will be replaced with zoom meetings and additional email communications. We have sufficient data already for these projects so that development of analysis methods can proceed. We also have access to large public databases that are relevant to the brain diffusion (stroke) project.


Student Benefits:

The applicant will have more and more enhanced research skills, and more insight into cardiovascular research after this relatively brief training period in our laboratory. This should aid them in further refining their career goals and allow them to better map a strategy for reaching their career goals.The applicant will obtain more skills and more enhanced research skills, and more insight into cardiovascular research after this relatively brief training period in our laboratory. This should aid them in further refining their career goals and allow them to better map a strategy for reaching their career goals.


Project Duration:

35-40 hours per week on research and program-related activities, begins May 26, 2021, and ends August 5, 2021


Minimum Requirements:

Admission to the program is competitive. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria: 1) be a matriculated, degree-seeking undergraduate student in the Fall 2021 semester (beginning or continuing college career in Fall 2021 and not graduating before December 2021; concurrent enrollment while in high school does not meet this eligibility requirement). Applicants do not need to be a University of Utah student. 2) eligible to work in the United States: If you are a University of Utah Dreamer (with or without DACA), you are eligible to participate. If you are a Dreamer from a different institution: If you have DACA, you are eligible to participate. If you do not have DACA, you are able to participate and gain research experience, but might not be able to be compensated. For more information, please contact Megan Shannahan at megan.shannahan@utah.edu or 801-581-2478. If you are an international student or scholar, you must either a) be a degree-seeking undergraduate student at an American institution of higher education and verify with your institution’s international center that your visa allows you to participate in this program, OR b) possess documentation that establishes your eligibility to work in the United States (if you hold US citizenship, it is likely you have these documents). 3) able to commit to approximately 35-40 hours per week of employment at the University of Utah for the entire duration of the program (May 26-August 5, 2021). 4) at least 18 years old by May 24, 2021 (required if you wish to use on-campus housing; preferred if you will not be using on-campus housing). Please note that no previous college coursework or previous research experience is required.