On Tuesday, March 7th, Dr Marco Palombo –  Associate Professor in microstructure imaging at Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) and United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellow – discussed innovative magnetic resonance imaging techniques at the cellular level during his talk entitled:  Perspectives on AI-powered brain microstructure imaging.

With the support of UKRI and SNSF, this talk which took place at the CIBM Seminar room at EPFL, constitutes part of an ongoing collaboration with exchange visits between Dr Palombo and CIBM alumni and affiliate member, Dr Ileana Jelescu, Head of the Microstructure Mapping Lab at CHUV-UNIL. The UKRI-SNSF travel grants aim to promote scientific exchange between Switzerland and the UK highlighting the increasing connections between the two research and innovation communities.

The collaboration between the two labs began when Dr. Ileana Jelescu previously visited CUBRIC to obtain Connectom MRI data for her gray matter microstructure project. Dr. Palombo subsequently applied for the UKRI-SNSF travel grant to establish a new collaboration with Dr. Jelescu’s lab, focusing on magnetic field correlation using preclinical MRI data gathered from the 14 Tesla MRI scanners at the  CIBM MRI EPFL. 

The exchange of visits between the two labs is just the start of an ongoing partnership.

During the talk, Dr Palombo presented recent advancements and exciting new perspectives on quantifying brain tissue structure at the cellular scale through diffusion-weighted MR imaging (dMRI) and spectroscopy (dMRS). He showcased the power of combining dMRI and dMRS measurements with computational modeling and machine learning capabilities to extract microstructure features such as typical cell sizes, span, and dendrite arborization. 

Highlights of the talk

  • overview of advanced measurement techniques
  • microstructure imaging techniques based on diffusion-weighted MRS
  • microstructure imaging techniques based on diffusion-weighted MRI
  • Uncertainty in parameter estimation and interpretability


CIBM and its affiliate members offer unique opportunities for MRI data acquisition and expertise in a broad range of MR modalities and applications (14T and 9.4T preclinical, and 7T clinical), according to Dr. Jelescu. Given the potential for groundbreaking results from this collaboration, stay tuned for future scientific outputs and updates.

More information about the travel grant can be found here for the UK  and here for Switzerland

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