Imperial College London Faculty of Medicine has a strong record of developing and rolling out imaging advances to the health care community and in interfacing with industry to develop next generation technologies.
Imaging is central to clinical diagnosis and the biological understanding of fundamental mechanisms. The Strategic Research Theme in Imaging therefore impacts the whole of the Faculty's medical research. Activity in Imperial College covers all the major forms of imaging with a particular strength in Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and ultrasound.
The unique position of Imperial College with its large Faculty of Medicine closely allied with a significant proportion of London’s NHS facilities supports very substantial resources in image acquisition techniques, image processing techniques and facilities for human and animal imaging. These, together with the many underpinning scientific and engineering groups are co-ordinated through the Imaging Sciences Centre whose mission is to create and maintain a College-wide environment designed to sustain multidisciplinary imaging sciences research at a leading international level.
One key area of research is the development of imaging methods for extracting in vivo structural and functional information. This is motivated by the clinical and basic science need for more detailed physiological and pathological information on the localised development and progression of disease.
Our current research is also motivated by the fact that imaging is increasingly moving from its traditional diagnostic role to becoming a therapeutic and interventional aid. In this it is combined with advances in minimal access and robotic assisted surgery and the emergence of novel drugs and other forms of treatment.
One unique strength of Imaging Research at the Faculty of Medicine is its close integration with other faculties within Imperial. This has allowed, for example, the development of imaging based biomechanical analysis and patient specific modelling for improved prosthesis design, and surgical planning and intervention. By combining the College's strengths in chemistry, physics and computing, it has allowed the Faculty to compete effectively in the development and translation of new imaging technologies such as molecular imaging which offer much improved localisation or sensitivities.
Image: MR Tractography. Example axial slice from an infant at term showing descending white matter tracts of the posterior limb of the internal capsule superimposed on the diffusion tensor image.
Example slices showing the spatial distribution to contraction of the preterm at term equivalent age compared to the term infant. The effect size, E, quantifies volumetric change between two groups. This demonstrates abnormalities in the basal ganglia not detected by normal visual interpretation and only revealed by computerized analysis.
Effect of white matter disease on thalamic development shown by Deformation Based Morphometry. Figures a and b are statistical parametric maps (SPM) showing regions of volume reduction in preterm infants at term equivalent age who had increased ADC values in white matter (p<0.05 corrected for multiple comparisons using Gaussian random field theory). Figures c and d show equivalent SPM results from infants who had normal ADC values in all white matter regions: there are no significant changes.