Neuroimaging Research in Oxford
Within the neuro theme, MRI is an Oxford strength, particularly at the FMRIB Centre that forms a hub of human neuroimaging activity and combines expertise in imaging physics, analysis and applications. The FMRIB Centre has recently had funded a bid to replace its ageing 3 Tesla scanner with a state-of-the-art 7 Tesla scanner, along with an adjunct neuro-optimised 3 Tesla scanner. This will ensure that Oxford maintains its position as a world centre for MRI developments and applications. The impending OxAVIC Centre will further strengthen the Oxford neuro MRI portfolio, allowing study of acute stroke and vascular disease. Together with the OCMR magnets this human neuro MRI portfolio will cover all patient cohorts from normal volunteer and out-patient (FMRIB, OCMR) to sub-acute in-patient (OCMR) to acute patients (OxAVIC) and across three field strengths (1.5, 3.0 and 7.0 Tesla).
Cognitive neuroscience imaging research is also strong and growing in Oxford. A particular strength is in combining diffusion MRI tractography developments with novel cognitive neuroscience insights. Current areas of neuroimaging clinical applications strength include pain, stroke, MS, mood disorders and schizophrenia and psychosis. The OPTIMA cohort provides a very valuable resource for study of Alzheimer’s disease (possessing both a large imaging database and a unique post-mortem tissue library), and will be used as a platform on which to develop an even stronger dementia theme. Another area of growing strength is in developmental neuroimaging. This theme should become an important one at the Warneford MEG facility, where the building has been specifically optimised for studying children.