Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Development and characterisation of endogenous/exogenous MRI contrast agents for application in neurodegenerative disease

Supervisor: Joanna Collingwood

Partner: University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust


Gadolinium based contrast agents (C.A) have now been in use for over 3 decades and are used in about 1 in 3 MRI scans. Recent trends are showcasing the need for alternative novel C.A’s in MRI diagnostics. Furthermore in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease there is a critical need for earlier diagnostics as current clinical presentation diagnostics are usually too late in terms of cell death propagation. Chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) C.A function via reducing the water proton signal through a chemical exchange site on the agent (amide, hydroxide, amine group usually) via saturation transfer. This chemical exchange site ideally is at a large chemical shift from water. This type of C.A offers potential for both endogenous and exogenous molecule contrast for a variety of responses such as pH, temperature, ion presence etc. It is therefore of high benefit to develop new diagnostic C.A’s for use in neurodegenerative disease and is a primary aim of this project.


Project Scope

The project will utilise and provide training in the use of a multiple techniques to investigate C.A and ‘biomarkers’. These include but are not limited to: 9.4T NMR-MRI probe for phantom characterisation, Nuclear Magnetic resonance (NMR), Fluorescent studies, tissue staining and Mass Spectrometry.


This position has now been filled.