Magnetic resonance imaging of lung fibrosis in interstial lung disease - physics or engineering PhD project

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Infection Immunity & Cardiovasc Disease


In this project the student will work with the primary supervisor (MRI physicist), clinical collaborators in Sheffield and an industrial partner (Galapagos Pharmaceuticals) to develop quantitative magnetic resonance imaging methods for the assessment of lung fibrosis.

Develop and assessment of multi-nuclear MRI techniques to assess: (i) lung elasticity (ii) tissue compliance - lung dynamics, and (iii) tissue gas exchange - dissolved 129Xe hyperpolarised MRI. The aim is to develop new quantitative and non-invasive techniques for the identification of early fibrotic lung disease and disease progression in interstitial lung disease.

The group of the primary supervisor have a track record in developing multi-nuclear imaging methods for functional and structural assessment of the lungs and applying them to clinical questions in respiratory medicine. In this project, novel techniques for assessing lung collagen and fibrosis will be developed using MRI elastography, xenon MRI and dynamic proton lung MRI. We will evaluate these methods in phantoms, ex-vivo samples and pilot clinical studies and assess their relative sensitivity alongside existing clinical lung function tests and CT.

Interstitial lung diseases have a very poor prognosis and anti-fibrotic drug development research is in desperate need of new and more sensitive non-invasive regionally specific biomarkers of disease progression. This project therefore has methodological novelty and scope for major clinical impact.


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