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$1 million grant to advance diagnostic imaging

August 27, 2007

The largest grant amount ever awarded to fund mathematics research at ASU will support a project aimed at making advances in medical technology to improve magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The National Science Foundation grant will provide $1 million over three years to the project titled “Mathematical Foundations of Magnetic Resonance Imaging” led by Rosemary Renaut, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Fellow mathematics and statistics faculty on Renaut’s team include professor Randall Eubank, professor Anne Gelb and assistant professor Svetlana Roudenko. They are joined by Douglas Cochran, assistant dean of research for the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering and associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering.

The project involves a partnership with the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) in Phoenix, particularly with the institute’s MRI system designers, James Pipe and Josef Debbins.

The team’s will work be to increase the understanding of the mathematics and algorithms necessary to improve the clarity of magnetic resonance images, and increase the speed at which images can be produced. The research also should enable development of advanced diagnostic methods that can more precisely depict moving tissues, such as a beating heart or blood flowing in veins, Cochran says.

“Success in this project can provide a springboard for advances in other aspects of medical imaging,” he says.

Adds Renaut: “It’s exciting to be able to contribute better mathematical understanding of recent novel image acquisition approaches that are being pioneered by the team at BNI. These technical advances can provide enhanced image resolution while reducing scan time for patients.

“We are also thrilled to provide the opportunity for some talented undergraduate and graduate students to become acquainted with sophisticated mathematics through such a relevant and significant application.”