This project aims at obtaining an engineering solution for a simultaneous, non-conventional fully integrated PET/MRI breast imaging coil. In this solution, PET and MRI should be performed using the same physical support, a modified breast MRI coil. The project will require solid knowledge about MRI electromagnetics, coils and positron emission state-of-the art detection systems. Simulation packages both for PET and MRI will be used. A common-frame image reconstruction solution will be developed based on non-trivial data sampling on PET.
IBEB and INESC-ID (IST – ULisboa)
This project aims at producing a deformable, mechanically realistic model of the female breast than would be useful for several types of medical simulation (imaging and the training of breast surgery for example). MRI breast imaging sets with anatomical and angiographic data will be used. This project will require solid knowledge on finite elements and image segmentation of medical images. The development of the project can be interfaced with INESC-ID (IST – ULisboa).
This project aims at understanding the advantages and limitations of using ultra-fast (10 ps time-resolution) detection chains in PET for imaging. The framework to be developed will take into account the how dynamic PET imaging can be optimized for the study of the physiology of biological phenomena.
This project aims at proposing a solution for a radically new cell sorter system to use in Biology/Genetics labs. This new system will use state-of-the art Silicon Photomultipliers and their detection spectral characteristics to obtain multi-thread cell imaging and sorting. This project may be developed in collaboration with the German company KTEK
IBEB and Champalimaud Foundation
This project builds on a financed project which will be running in collaboration with the Champalimaud Foundation. It will aim at characterizing and correlating the regional brain glucose consumption with biochemical markers of the use of chemotherapeutical drugs used for breast cancer treatment.
This project aims at developing and testing a new system for improving the quality of scintigraphic lung exams in nuclear medicine by using positive pressure ventilation systems. This project will require the development of a computer model of the human airways able to provide information about the flow of DTPA-labeled molecules in different lung pathological conditions.
This project may be lead with the collaboration of the veterinary school for testing the solutions proposed in animal models before applying for human testing. This project will be developed with the collaboration of the Nuclear Medicine Department of Hospital de Santa Cruz in Carnaxide.
LOLS (Campus do Lumiar) and IBEB
The purpose of this master thesis is to assess the ability of a brain-computer interface to acquire data from Electroencephalography (EEG) in bright glare situations. The mass access to light sources of high power and directivity (such as laser pointers, but also some flashlights) has led to an increasing concern on the potential effects of their use. More than the direct effects of retinal partial destruction (though less probable), the focus has been directed to the effects related to the changes in the concentration states of subjects to perform critical tasks (as helicopter pilots or drivers). This effect is known as dazzling and it is typically a temporary negative effect on the ability to view or to be concentrated. However, while damage to the retina can be quantified, the dazzling effects, being indirect (based on capability to execute a given task), are typically qualitative (or at least with a more subjective measurement).
In this context, the use of brain-computer interfaces capable of analysing the brain’s response to external stimuli, opens a door towards creating a new tool to assess the dazzling effects. The proof of concept will be carried out using the equipment and experience in the study of dazzling existing at the groups involved in this project.
Combining MEG/EEG and fMRI can be performed in a relatively simple way, when the same stimulation paradigm (e.g. mechanical or electrical stimulation of a finger) is first performed using MEG/EEG, and then repeated using fMRI. Under the assumption that in both cases the same sources are activated, one can use the fMRI determined source positions as a priori knowledge in the analysis of the MEG/EEG data.
However, a much greater challenge is to record EEG and fMRI simultaneously. In the first place, this eliminates the need of the assumption that the state of the brain is the same under both modalities, because it is so by definition. More important, simultaneous registration of EEG and fMRI makes it possible to study spontaneous activity of the working brain using the localisation power of fMRI and the detection power of EEG. For example, a subject at rest produces 10 Hz alpha oscillations that vary in amplitude over time scales of 10 to 100 s. By correlation the strength of the alpha rhythm to co-registered fMRI BOLD signals, one can detect the parts of the brain that are involved in the generation of the alpha rhythm. Another example is the correlation of the presence/absence of epileptic spikes to BOLD in patients with epilepsy.
However, there are several technical problems that need to be solved before these EEG/fMRI correlation studies can be applied in practice, on a routine basis. One example is that the switching of the MRI gradients produce large artfacts on the EEG signals. A start has been made, but several improvements are to be explored. We are now carrying out a series of experiments in which we apply the above ideas. In this project, we will explore amongst others: non-linear correlation measures of EEG/BOLD, comparison of dipole fitting with EEG/fMRI correlation, application of signal space projection, modelling electric/heamodynamic coupling.
LOLS (Campus do Lumiar)
Lasers have long been used in biomedical applications, from a non-contact diagnosis tool to an intrusive, direct tool in chirurgical procedures. Although much research has been made during the past years, and even many commercial products are already available using laser technology in the biomedical field, the interest in the subject is still very active. In particular, the use of laser radiation to activate nanoparticles in tumour therapy either to perform drug delivery or tumour ablation has been subject of many research activities for the past years, in some way following the overall advances in the field of medical nanotechnology. In these fields, a FCUL’s team in collaboration with other institutions has been participating in the development of new techniques for tumour therapy using laser radiation and nanoparticles. One of the most challenging tasks was identified has being the development and implementation of methodologies to evaluate the temperature inside specific phantoms under laser irradiation. The measurement should be as less intrusive as possible and insensitive to the laser radiation itself.
The work to be performed consists of:
• Evaluation of possible metrology techniques to measure the thermal effect on a phantom under irradiation. A particular focus will be made regarding fibre-based sensors.
• Development of the instrumentation necessary to implement the technique or techniques.
• A ‘standard’ phantom will be defined. Its characteristics should reflect the ones found in a potential real application, but should also allow the implementation in a laboratorial base of one or more sensors in order to monitor temperature distribution at different positions.
• Implementation and test of one or more of the considered techniques under irradiation conditions.
This study aims at producing initial options for optimizing the number of detectors, scintillating material and sampling option in new state-of-the art PEM systems using Si-PM’s.
This study aims at producing initial options for understading how to optimize sampling options and electromagnetic shielding between a commercial MRI breast coil and an array of Si-PM detectors in order to obtain a “plug-and-play” solution to be used on an MRI system.
This study aims at producing initial options for understanding the possibility of building a new system for cell sorting in biological applications using Si-PM’s and multiplexing data measurements.
IBEB and INESC-ID (IST-ULisboa)
This study aims at producing a deformable breast model useful to include in breast imaging simulation and on augmented and virtual reality solutions useful for surgical training in medicine.
The project may be done in collaboration with INESC-ID (IST-ULisboa).
Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) is a new technique that has the ability to address mammography’s limitations because it takes a series of projection images from different source positions and combines them to reconstruct 3D image using approximately the same dose of two mammograms. Currently, handling noise level is a major problem in DBT images mainly due to low dose projections and incomplete sampling of the projection frequency space due to the limited angular range used.
Total Variation (TV) based minimization algorithms have achieved great success due to its virtue of preserving edges while reducing image noise. TV is a quantity that characterizes how smoothly the intensity of an image is changing and it increases significantly in the presence of noise. We developed a successful method based on TV minimization to reduce DBT images noise. One of the steps involves the discretization of the solution found by the Euler-Lagrange equation with Finite Difference Methods. The objective of this work is to evaluate different schemes for this gradient discretization and its impact on the filtered image.
This project aims at producing/using a deformable, mechanically realistic model of the female breast to be used for surgical training. This model will be coupled to a virtual reality platform and haptic control in order to simulate the procedures applied when using mastectomy and, if possible, breast reconstruction. This project will require solid knowledge on finite elements and image segmentation of medical images and virtual reality platforms. The development of the project can be interfaced with INESC-ID (IST – ULisboa). A candidate with a Ph.D, in Biomedical Engineering or Computer Sciences with solid knowledge about image processing and programming is desired.