MRI Research at the University of Oxford

  • Posted on: Thu, 08/27/2015 - 00:59
  • By: OCHIS Chief Editor
Under the Medical Science Division at the University of Oxford, there are three MRI research centres: FMRIB, OCMR, AVIC. This article is an introduction of the three centres. 

MRI Research at the University of Oxford

The Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford is an internationally recognized centre of excellence for biomedical and clinical research. It is the largest of the four academic divisions at the University of Oxford and comprises 16 departments. Over the past 4 years, the medical sciences division has consistently ranked first in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for clinical, pre-clinical and health sciences. The division has long-standing relations with Oxford University hospitals, including the John Radcliffe Hospital, the Churchill Hospital, the Nuffield orthopaedic Centre and the Horton General Hospital. This integration has enabled patients to benefit immensely and directly from the latest medical research. The medical science division has impressive historical achievements, including discovering penicillin, advancing immunization and being the first to provide concrete evidence linking smoking and cancer.

Under the Medical Science Division at the University of Oxford, there are three MRI research centres: The Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain(FMRIB), the University of Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research(OCMR), and Acute Vascular Imaging Centre(AVIC).

FMRIB is a multi-disciplinary research centre founded in 1998 with the focuse on neuroimaging. The centre has more than 110 scientists and over 650 papers published to date. FMRIB carries two state-of-the-art MRI scanners, a Siemens 7T human scanner (one of the two in the United Kingdom) and a Siemens Prisma 3T scanner. With these facilities,the center is conducting cutting-edge research spanning many exciting dimensions in brain imaging, including physics, analysis, basic science and translational neuroscience.

The Physics Group, lead by Dr. Peter Jezzard, focuses on developing new imaging methods. Research areas include high field MRI, diffusion MRI, fMRI, image reconstruction, neurovascular imaging, microstructural imaging, and MR spectroscopy. The Analysis Group, headed by Dr. Stephen Smith, focuses on the development of methods for the analysis of structural and functional imaging. To date, this group has developed a highly successful and popular software: the FMRIB Software Library (FSL), a comprehensive library of analysis tools for fMRI, MRI and DTI data. The Analysis group is also a major partner of the NIH Human Connectome Project (HCP).

Basic science & Translational Neuroscience at FMRIB spans across many exciting areas such as pain, plasticity, neurodegeneration, vision, and cognitive neuroscience. To highlight, the Pain Group, lead by Dr. Irene Tracey - the former Director of FMRIB - studies how the human central nervous system generates and modulates painful experiences in the acute and chronic setting. The Plasticity Group, headed by Dr. Heidi Johansen-Berg - the current Director of FMRIB - uses brain imaging to monitor brain change as it aims to develop new approaches to facilitate learning, recovery and health aging.

In comparison to FMRIB with the emphasis on brain imaging, OCMR, founded in 2001, is a multidisciplinary centre for clinical research in cardiac MRI and MRS. The center holds a 1.5T Siemens scanner, a 3T Siemens scanner, and a GE MR hyperpolarizer. With the leadership under Dr. Stefan Neubauer as clinical director and Dr. Matthew Robson as physics director, OCMR covers a diverse array of research areas including clinical cardiac Hyperpolarized 13C Imaging and spectroscopy, cardiovascular involvement, cardiac fibre structure and function, 3D flow assessment, cardiac metabolism, cardiac tissue characterisation, liver imaging. The 3rd imaging center, AVIC, which is smaller than its FMRIB and OCMR counterparts, is dedicated to clinical research, with primary focus on acute coronary syndrome such as heart attack and unstable angina, stroke and transit ischemic attack. The center houses a 3T Siemens MRI scanner.

Masters and DPhil (PhD) opportunities are available in FMRIB and OCMR. Please refer to the following links:






Author's Biography

Wenchuan Wu

Wenchuan Wu is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oxford. He is working with Prof. Karla Miller at the Oxford centre for functional MRI of the brain (FMRIB). His research is focused on diffusion imaging, fast imaging, and Ultra high field.