Monday, 23 July 2018

Monash University collaborative research to improve newborn brain imaging

Associate Professor Suzanne Miller

Associate Professor Suzanne Miller, an NHMRC senior research fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has been awarded Faculty of Science and Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (MNHS) Interdisciplinary Research Seed Funding to improve brain imaging of newborns using X-Ray CT.

The $30,000 grant enables Associate Professor Miller to collaborate with Dr Marcus Kitchen from the School of Physics and Astronomy and a large multidisciplinary team to improve cerebral palsy outcomes by visualising brain development with unprecedented image quality.

The study is the first quantitative comparison of phase contrast CT with MRI for neonatal brain pathology. 

Associate Professor Miller, who is also Deputy Director of The Ritchie Centre (Monash University and Hudson Institute), said the long-term aim of this work is to detect the neonatal brain injury that underlies cerebral palsy as early as possible, with optimal sensitivity and ease of application.

“Our collaborative project aims to develop X-ray CT imaging methodology for imaging the brain with far higher resolution and contrast than any other commercially available CT system on the market,” Associate Professor Miller said.

“MRI is currently considered gold-standard for imaging the brain, however this is not always feasible for newborn infants and it’s expensive.”

“We hope to optimise the sensitivity of CT imaging for the newborn brain, and we will quantitatively compare phase contrast CT against MRI for detection of neuropathology in pre-clinical models.” 

The project builds on a recent publication by the team, Croton et al. In situ phase contrast X-ray brain CT, Scientific Reports, accepted July 2018. 

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