I have a degree in Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics from the University of Lisbon, where I am from. During this period, I did two internships at the University of Virginia. For my BSc final project, I worked with MR-guided Focused Ultrasound and Hyperpolarized Gas MRI and for my MSc thesis, the study that I was involved in focused on evaluating lung function in healthy subjects and in patients with Cystic Fibrosis using Hyperpolarized Xenon-129 and Chemical Shift Imaging. At the moment, I am based at the Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre of the University of Nottingham and working on Multinuclear MR Spectroscopy in the brain at 7T for my PhD studies.
Project Title: Multinuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Supervisor: Peter Morris
Centre: SPMMRC, Nottingham
Secondment: University of Pisa and RAPID Biomedical
My research project will involve MR spectroscopy in human subjects at 7T. Initially, I will gain experience in proton MR spectroscopy, measuring the concentrations of key brain metabolites in discrete volumes (visual cortex, anterior cingulate cortex and insula) of volunteers and subjects with schizophrenia. I will focus particularly on the measurement of the amino acid neurotransmitters glutamate and GABA in the nodes of networks known to be dysfunctional in schizophrenia.
The main body of my PhD project will involve the use of Carbon-13 MR spectroscopy at 7T to measure the rate of incorporation of Carbon-13 label from [1-13C]glucose into glutamate, glutamine and GABA. These experiments will be amongst the first such to be performed at ultra-high field. They will enable me to determine the rates of aerobic metabolism as well as excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission in the same brain regions studied by proton MR spectroscopy. They will contribute directly to a major MRC-funded project designed to determine the role of glutamate in the aetiology of schizophrenia. Initially, I will compare surface and volume coil approaches and direct and indirect detection methods, in order to optimize acquisition protocols. Depending on the results, I will also consider the design of a more sensitive multielement coil in collaboration with ITN partners.
Outreach: Light Night 2014, Nottingham
Meetings Attended: ISMRM 2014, Milan; BCISMRM 2014, Edinburgh
Publications: Glutathione deficit as a pathophysiological indicator in patients with psychosis. CC Fernandes, EL Hall, SE Robson, J Kumar, MJ Brookes, L Palaniyappan, PF Liddle, MC Stephenson, M Simmonite, EB Liddle, M Skelton, NG Christodoulou, M Katshu, A Qureshi and PG Morris (2014). BCISMRM, Edinburgh (Poster) 2014