Biomedical NMR

The visualization of structures and functions by imaging plays an important role in biological and medical research. In particular, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers detailed and completely noninvasive insights into the body of humans and animals. It is our primary aim to further develop and apply MRI methods that provide even deeper insights into the anatomy and physiology of intact organ systems. Our core competence combines MRI methodology with interdisciplinary research in the biomedical sciences. Extending into translational research, many of our goals are achieved through collaborations with researchers and clinicians.

MRI Videos in Real Time

As early as 1985, we invented a new principle for the acquisition of rapid magnetic resonance images (FLASH) that accelerated MRI by more than a factor of 100 and revolutionized its scientific potential and clinical impact. Current progress is based on improved data acquisition techniques in combination with advanced image reconstruction strategies using numerical mathematics. A most relevant area is quantitative mapping of physical and physiological parameters characterizing tissues and organs. Such approaches benefit from model-based reconstruction techniques which directly exploit a known signal model and emerge as solutions to a nonlinear inverse problem. In a related manner, such methods for the first time offer image reconstructions from extremely undersampled data sets and thus lead to a further acceleration of MRI. For serial images we now achieve measuring times of only 10 to 40 milliseconds per frame – yielding real-time MRI videos of joint dynamics, speaking movements and swallowing mechanics as well as of the beating heart and the flow of blood and other body fluids. The technical and clinical translation of real-time MRI is a major focus of our research efforts.

Listen live while talking

This real-time MRI film shows the movements in the mouth and throat when speaking live: The spatial-temporal coordination of lips, tongue, soft palate, and larynx, which is necessary to form vowels, consonants, and coarticulations, becomes visible.

How our heart beats

The real-time MRI movie shows the natural movements of the chest: Breathing and heartbeat are clearly visible. In contrast to clinical practice with conventional magnetic resonance imaging, the patient does not have to hold his breath thanks to the fast image rate, nor does the recording have to be controlled by the ECG signal.

Sung live

The real-time MRI video makes the movements in the mouth and throat visible when singing.

Press Releases & Research News

The number is gigantic: In medical diagnostics, about 100 million examinations are carried out with magnetic resonance imaging every year – and every scanner worldwide uses the technology developed by Jens Frahm and his team at the MPI for Biophysical Chemistry. For his achievements, the physicist has now been awarded the Werner von Siemens Ring, one of the most important German technology prizes. more

Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Neurobiology – From Mouse to Human
Research of the Biomedical NMR unit focuses on the further development of magnetic resonance imaging and advanced applications in neurobiology. Pertinent approaches allow for unique insights into the structure, metabolism, and function of the intact living brain – from mouse to human. Specific projects range from novel image encoding and reconstruction techniques to animal models of neurodegenerative disease and functional assessments of neuroaxonal connectivity and cognitive information processing in humans. (in German)


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