An overview of all the current student projects.

We are currently looking for several motivated students with a physics, biomedical technology, neuroscience or comparable background for MSc projects or internships. A wide range of possible projects exists, from functional MRI method development or magnetic resonance spectroscopy to cognitive neuroscience.

Implementation of fast scanning sequences for fMRI
The temporal resolution in fMRI is notably poor. Several strategies exist to improve on the temporal sampling rates, each with different drawbacks. This project aims to compare the latest implementations of multiband EPI and 3D-EPI to set up a stable protocol for fast fMRI.

The use of local RF coils for high-resolution fMRI
The use of local receive coils allows us to zoom in closer on specific parts of the brain of interest for the study at hand. Although the 32-channel surface coil is used regularly for the visual cortex, its use outside the occipital region is more problematic. The aim of this project is to devise strategies to use the surface coils in other brain regions, especially to study the motor system.

Investigating image quality in quantitative brain mapping
Quantitative imaging is incredibly useful for diagnostic purposes, as information can be compared across time (for example, following an ageing patient) or scanner platforms. However, good quality quantitative scans can take a long time to acquire. The aim of this project is to study the impact of scan parameters on a fast T1 mapping sequence.

Evaluation and validation of dynamic brain spectroscopy protocols
A recent development in spectroscopy is the study of dynamic brain processes, such as task-driven activation. The metabolite changes associated with such tasks are small but measurable. The aim of this project is to compare several such spectroscopy protocols on both scanners, the 3T and 7T and select the best performing one.

Implementation of multi-voxel/multi-editing techniques for brain GABA measurements
GABA, or Gamma-AminoButyric Acid, is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system. Concentrations of GABA in the brain are thought to be affected in a number of psychiatric diseases and, hence, the measurement of GABA concentrations in-vivo is of high interest. In this project we aim to measure GABA concentrations in healthy volunteers.

Improvement of motion-correction for anatomical scans based on fat images
(RESERVED) High resolution scans, even at ultra-high field, can 15 minutes or longer to acquire. For patients and even healthy participants, the task or remaining immobile during such a time is too hard. Hence, nearly all high-resolution scans suffer to some degree from subject movements. In this project we will improve the fat navigator approach to correct data acquired with non-standard k-space trajectories

Better image homogeneity in anatomical and functional scans
Most common MRI systems have one or two transmit channels for radiofrequency pulses. However, the use of higher numbers of channels can improve image homogeneity, especially important at 7T. In this project, we will use an 8-channel transmit system to achieve better image homogeneity in both anatomical and functional images. This project is especially suitable for students interested in MR physics.

Minimum project duration 4 months fulltime, starting times are flexible. Note that the Spinoza Centre staff has no projects available in the areas of clinical and cognitive neuroscience, for opportunities in these fields you might try to contact a relevant affiliated researcher.