Our lab is focused on making measurements and images using 13C-labelled metabolites, and studying how these change in disease. We also develop the required imaging methodology and hardware to perform this new form of MRI. To give metabolites a magnetic signal large enough to enable MRI, dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) is applied in order to magnetize concentrated samples of a substrate, such as 13C-labeled pyruvate, and the resulting solution is injected in vivo. We are interested in the metabolic characterization of damaged heart muscle in order to detect the early stages of heart failure and select therapies, as well as metabolic characterization of cancer as a possible method for staging and for measuring response to therapy.
Our group specializes in the development of new methodology and hardware for imaging 13C-labelled compounds in humans, and have used these to make the first metabolic images of the human heart.
Metabolic MRI of the human brain has revealed consistent spatial patterns of 13C-lactate production, and understanding how these patterns change in neurodegenerative disorders is the current focus of the lab.