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It is with sadness that we here in the MRI Research Facility must resign ourselves to the fact that Friday, June 26 is Casey Johnson's last day with our group. Casey has been a postdoctoral fellow with the lab for over three years, with his work primarily involving the study of imaging biomarkers in psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder. Casey's run here is epitomized in the pictures; a lot of hard work, a lot of deep thinking, and ultimately big success. His time at Iowa has been extremely productive, authoring or co-authoring nearly a dozen papers and earning awards for his presentations at international conferences. He has served as a mentor to several of the incoming students in the group as well. We know he is on to bigger and better things, but we regret having to say goodbye (Marla and Autumn will particularly miss his judgemental glances at their shenanigans).
Casey is headed back to his home area of Minneapolis-St. Paul, where he will be a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota, shifting his focus to musculoskeletal MRI. We hope he learned a little from us here at Iowa to take with him (like don't let your wife share too many Facebook pictures). We wish him all the best in his advancing career. Good Luck Casey!
March 2015 began the era of 7T brain imaging at the University of Iowa. We have begun human brain imaging on healthy volunteers with our GE MR950 scanner, and the results are already showing us new things. Above are shown sample images from T2-weighted (left panel) and FLAIR (right panel) acquisitions, where we are beginning to optimize sequences and protocols for 7T. We have also been gaining experience with BRAVO (the GE version of magnetization-prepared gradient scho) and SWAN (the GE version of susceptibility weighted imaging).
Installation of the Magnetic Resonance Research Facility's new 7T scanner is almost complete! We have begun to acquire images in phantoms and other materials as our system is tested and calibrated. The image above is a sample of the kind of exquisite detail we hope to see once we begin human imaging. Can you guess what it is?
New picture, new insight
In a study published January 6, 2015 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, UI researchers showed that quantitative T1ρ MRI yielded significant differences in the cerebral white matter and the cerebellum of patients with by bipolar disorder compared to matched control subjects. T1ρ imaging is thought to be sensitive to changes in pH and/or glucose concentration, factors that are influenced by cellular metabolism. This imaging research is providing new understanding of the mechanisms of bipolar disorder and may help in its diagnosis and treatment.
The full paper is "Brain abnormalities in bipolar disorder detected by quantitative T1ρ mapping" (link), authored by Casey Johnson, Robin Follmer, Ipek Oguz, Lois Warren, Gary Christensen, Jesse Fiedorowicz, Vincent Magnotta, and John Wemmie.
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