Funding for MR Imaging of Neuronal Currents

Wednesday 11 Dec 19
by Signe Rømer Holm


Lars G. Hanson
Groupleader, Associate Professor
DTU Health Tech
+45 45 25 36 86
Assoc Prof Lars G. Hanson has received a Lundbeck Foundation Experiment grant for high-risk/high-impact idea for development of novel health technology.

A range of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques are widely used for mapping of brain functions in humans and animals, but they have a major limitation in common: They record indirect measures such as blood oxygenation changes.

In the Lundbeck Foundation Experiment project, a team lead by Dr. Hanson will develop a fundamentally new and direct technique for mapping tiny magnetic field changes caused by fluctuating neuronal currents.

The magnetic field changes are in principle measurable inside the brain by MRI, but the measurement times are too long to capture the fast field changes. The project proposes a robust imaging method that will improve the time resolution to a tenth of a second, thus offering a unique tool for direct mapping of brain activity, identified by comparing simultaneously recorded MRI and electrical measurements of brain activity (electroencephalography, EEG).

The method will open up fundamentally novel avenues in basic and clinical neuroimaging. The aim is to demonstrate the localization of electrical brain activity, as required for e.g. diagnosis of epilepsy -  localization of malformed brain areas causing epileptic seizures - and planning of surgery.

The Image above is from a recently published article on a novel method for measurement of weak brain currents demonstrating the highest sensitivity to measurement of injected currents to date (Göksu et al, "Human in-vivo brain magnetic resonance current density imaging", Neuroimage 171). This achievement has been a major inspiration behind the Experiment idea and takes the developed technology in an entirely new direction which would not have been possible without the high-risk support from Lundbeck Foundation. 

The Experiment project is supported with DKK 1.5m, which includes salary for a two-year position for a Postdoc to join the team at DTU. The position will be announced in early 2020. 

Lundbeck Foundation press release (in Danish):




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