Magnetic Resonance Imaging detects the faint signals emitted by the nuclear magnetic moments of hydrogen (1H) atoms in the human body. MRI typically produces images of the hydrogen atoms in water (H2O); however, by exploiting the fact that different 1H atoms emit slighty different frequencies, one can acquire images of several different metabolites in-vivo, such as n-acetyl-aspartate, choline, creatine, gamma-aminobutyric acid, glutamine/glutamate, among others. The continuous development of better and faster imaging methods, capable of covering large portions of the brain, is a core goal of the lab.

MRI is a coherent imaging modality: the magnetization of the imaged nuclear spins can be manipulated via the application of external electromagnetic fields, and retains its state for several hundreds of milliseconds. This is in stark contrast to, e.g., computerized tomography (CT) or positron emission tomography (PET), which are concerned mainly with incoherent radiation processes. This 'memory' property of the system can be exploited to generate a plethora of interesting image contrasts and localization schemes, with the particuar effect depending on the particular sequence of applied fields. The design of a sequence to achieve a certain goal is termed pulse sequence design, and is a major research interest of the lab.

Conventional functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) follows the haemodynamic response of the human brain: "activated" brain regions require an increase in blood flow, which is supplied by hemoglobin. However, the haemodynamic response only provides one piece of the functional puzzle: the electrical and metabolic/energetic changes which accompany neural activation are still largely not understood. We focus on developing new methods for imaging the metabolic and energetic changes of the human brain during activation, using both proton and phosphorous magnetic resonance spectroscopy.