Furthering MRI research with a Kellogg Travel Grant

19 July 2018

The Kellogg College Travel Grant is available to all Kellogg DPhil and MPhil students, studying on either a full-time or part-time basis.

Istvan Huszar is currently studying Biomedical Imaging (EPSRC & MRC CDT), he was awarded, a Kellogg Travel Grant in Trinity Term 2018. He used the grant to help fund his attendance at the annual meeting of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Medicine (ISMRM) in Paris, in June 2018. Here he tells us more about his work and the significance of being able to go to the ISMRM.

Since the 1970s, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has seen numerous technological advances in both hardware and software. These have made scans faster, crisper, and gradually enabled the collection of unprecedentedly large sets of information from the living human body. With recent emergence of artificial intelligence technologies, the race for creating intelligent software that can read large numbers of scans with superhuman abilities has already started. As new methods constantly emerge, it remains crucial that we understand what computers perceive from the beautiful complexity of the various tissues in the human body, and how this information can be used by clinicians.

This translational aspect of MRI research was greatly reflected in the number of sessions featuring interdisciplinary talks and panel discussions between clinicians and engineers at the annual meeting of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Medicine (ISMRM), that was held in Paris between 16-21 June 2018. With more than 6000 attendees this year, it continues to be the largest meeting of both academic and industrial researchers striving to make MRI an even safer, better, cheaper and more efficient diagnostic method.

As a medical doctor, I have been astonished by the elegance and complexity of the human nervous system for years. Investigating it in its true complexity surpasses our current methodological capabilities, urging us to combine different (imaging) methods to obtain a better understanding (literally, a more complete picture). In my DPhil research, I am trying to combine post-mortem MRI with histology to investigate what MRI is able to perceive from the delicate microstructural changes of the diseased brain. I have been developing a software framework for this task, and with the help of Kellogg’s generous Travel Grant, I was able to connect with other researchers at the annual meeting of the ISMRM, who wish to use the same technique to better understand cancer and neurodegeneration.

Besides meeting with distant colleagues, this conference acquainted me with the wonderfully motivating world-wide research community of MRI, and actively shaped my understanding of the many challenges in our field. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Kellogg College for the Travel Grant and I wish to extend my great appreciation for the benefactors of Kellogg College, who helped me travel to Paris and make my first steps on a potentially long journey of scientific endeavour.

Travel Grants are awarded termly, so if you would like to apply for a Michaelmas Term Travel Grant, further information can be found here.