The University of Nottingham

Irati Markuerkiaga


Project Title: WP5 Layer Specific fMRI

Supervisor: Prof. David Norris

Centre: Donders Institute for Cognitive Neuroimaging

Secondment: FMRIB, Oxford

Project Description

The project aims at developing a magnetic resonance (MR) acquisition and processing method that will allow us to identify functional activation across cortical layers in humans. In order to achieve this, good understanding of the layer specific Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) response and the development of a MR sequence yielding a set of images with high spatial and temporal resolution is required.

It is anticipated that the project will go through the following phases:

  1. Examination of the hemodynamic point spread function between layers, combining a model of cortical vasculature with quantitative measures of cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen consumption (CMRO2) obtained by Arterial Spin Labelling techniques (ASL). This parameter will ultimately determine the spatial resolution of this technique.
  2. Development of a whole brain imaging protocol at 0.75 mm isotropic spatial resolution and assessment of its sensitivity. This protocol will enable whole brain imaging of the histological layers of the cortex.
  3. The BOLD noise will be measured as a function of cortical depth, which should make it possible to identify the vascular layers, and obtain an informal estimate of relative cortical blood volume.
  4. High resolution morphological data will be included to inform algorithms that attempt to track the boundaries of the layers over the crowns, banks and basins of the gyri.


Meetings Attended: ISMRM Benelux, Joint Annual Meeting ISMRM/ESMRMB 2014 (Milan)

Publications:Towards a vascular model of layer specific activation.
Irati Markuerkiaga, Markus Barth, and David Norris (2014). ISMRM presentation traditional poster

Estimation of layer specificity of Spin Echo and Gradient Echo BOLD at 7T
Irati Markuerkiaga, Markus Barth, and David Norris (2014), poster at the ISMRM workshop on fMRI



HiMR co: SPMMRC,  The University of Nottingham,  NG7 2RD, UK,  Email: