Novel MRI techniques to map the microstructure of cerebral white matter in autism spectrum disorders.
November 30th, 2020
This edition of the TACC Research Forum will feature Dr. Christine Tardif, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Neurology & Neurosurgery at McGill University.
Diffusion-weighted imaging studies suggest that there are structural connectivity differences in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in comparison to neurotypical subjects, and that the altered structural connectivity is associated with social deficits and restricted repetitive behaviours in ASD. However, we know very little about the microstructural features that underlie these diffusion imaging results. Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to study the microstructure of the human brain in vivo. A few recent studies have reported alterations in the myelin content, as well as axon caliber and density in ASD. During this talk, I will present two research projects in my lab that aim to improve the microstructural specificity of quantitative MRI. First, I will present a new imaging technique that maps the myelination of individual fibres in voxels with crossing fibre geometries. Second, I will present a novel contrast mechanism, inhomogeneous magnetization transfer, that is more specific to myelin and thus a good candidate for intra-cortical myelin mapping.
Christine Tardif is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Neurology & Neurosurgery at McGill University since 2017. She obtained her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from McGill and performed her postdoctoral training at the Max-Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Leipzig, Germany) and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute (McGill). Dr. Tardif’s lab develops novel MRI techniques to generate high-resolution quantitative MR images of the brain in-vivo, and relates them to microstructural features of the tissue. The lab has a translational approach, working on both small animal (7 Tesla) and human (3 and 7 Tesla) MRI systems at the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre of the Montreal Neurological Institute.