Research in the BME Functional Imaging Program focuses on development of improved techniques for investigating brain function, including:

  • high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques
  • methods for combining information from functional MRI (fMRI) and other sources of functional data, including electrophysiological recordings.

Flourescent cells. Image by Gangjian Quin. Research projects range from technical MRI development to study of visual systems in the brain and functional investigations of the mechanisms by which the brain recovers function after stroke.

Functional MRI of the brain works by imaging changes in local blood oxygenation, blood flow, and volume accompanying local activation of the brain. Development of improved methods involves challenges in signal processing; radio frequency design; data collection and archiving, graphics, and visualization methods; biophysical modeling; NMR physics; and a host of other cross-disciplinary areas.

Student Opportunities

There are many exciting opportunities for students to become involved in important research questions and to make fundamental contributions to this new and growing field of medical imaging. Student research advisors for these projects are UAB faculty in the vision sciences, psychology, radiology, neurology, and the neurosciences, as well as Biomedical Engineering.

Students completing the M.S. or Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering will be well prepared to seek a job in an industrial or academic research lab or in the medical imaging industry. In addition to training in engineering and medical imaging techniques, students in this program also take a year of neuroscience courses. This balanced curriculum prepares graduates to work with colleagues from the life sciences as well as from engineering.