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Andrew Melbourne

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Andrew Melbourne


Overview - see webpage and publications here.

My recent research has begun to develop, in close collaboration with imaging physicists and clinical colleagues, multi-modal imaging biomarkers of future functional brain development in at-risk very preterm babies (those born at less than 32 weeks completed gestation) and to extend this work to preterm adolescents. I have helped establish the MR imaging protocols for the SPARKS funded University College Hospital preterm development project and the MRC funded EPICure@19 project. In particular I have published recent papers investigating the macroscopic cortical folding pattern at term equivalent age [NeuroImage 2014] and begun investigating multi-modal imaging of infant myelination and white matter maturation on MR spectroscopy, Diffusion Weighted MR and T2 relaxometry [MICCAI 2014, NeuroImage 2014, MICCAI 2013, ISMRM 2014, ISMRM 2013]. With this work I hope to investigate micro and macroscopic structural brain changes in the context of improved energetic and functional efficiency. My immediate future work will combine these results and investigate new measurements of multi-modal, multi-scale structural efficiency and compare these with separate functional neuropsychological data. This work will aid prediction of long term functional outcome and further establish the sequence of human brain growth and development at this very young age.

Previously I have worked on motion correction and pharmacokinetic modelling applied to dynamic contrast enhanced MRI in the liver and breast [MIA 2014, SPIE 2014, PMB 2011, PMB 2007]. Subject movement within this type of scan can be detrimental to subsequent analysis of tissue pharmacokinetics, but motion correction is made difficult by the indistinguishability of contrast change and motion artefacts [MICCAI 2008]. In this area my work focuses on image registration techniques that are able to correct motion in the presence of contrast change. This work was funded by the EPSRC Grants GR/T 20434/0 and EP/E031579/1 and the European 7th Framework Program, HAMAM, ICT-2007.5.3.


Improvements in neonatal care have reduced the lowest gestational age at which survival after premature birth becomes a clinical reality, however the prevalence of disabling conditions in survivors remains high. Many conditions are thought to be related to perinatal white matter injury affecting subsequent neurological maturation often investigated by postnatal MRI. This has stimulated efforts to develop MR markers of outcome to guide mitigating treatment or therapy. As part of the SPARKS Preterm Development Project, data acquired both shortly after birth and at term equivalent age provides a unique resource that may help describe the pathway from perinatal mechanical disruption of white matter to functional deficit at term and in early years, thus guiding biomarker development. Early work has investigated to what extent diffusion MRI derived connectivity properties of white matter can be correlated with the cortical folding pattern at term [NeuroImage 2014, NeuroImage 2013, MICCAI 2012] and whether the cortical folding pattern itself independently describes functional neurological outcome [ISMRM 2013, MICCAI 2012, ESPR 2011]. Investigations of this type may lead to improvements in postnatal care and treatment for high-risk premature infants in addition to providing insight into the ontological debate on the human cortical folding pattern and the theoretical links to underlying white matter structure and function.


My key contributions to teaching in the department are continued organisation of the flagship CMIC/CABI DTP Critical Review of Key Papers in Biomedical Imaging course, developed to assess students in key research skills such as presentation, critical reading and writing. I am a key organiser of the Information Processing in Medical Imaging MSc course, preparing and giving lectures, coursework and setting/marking of the final examination and I also contribute significantly to the assessed teaching and coursework of the Computational Modelling in Biomedical Imaging course. In addition I prepare a number of lectures and examination for the Physics of the Human Body Medical Physics MSci course.


I obtained a 1st Class MSci Physics degree from Imperial College London in 2005 followed by a PhD from UCL three years later investigating motion correction strategies in contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). I am now working as a Research Associate within the Centre for Medical Image Computing at University College London investigating the use of quantitative MRI in establishing the links between preterm birth and subsequent neuro-developmental outcome in babies born very preterm.


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