Research

MI Lab leader Professor Olav Haraldseth. Photo: Geir Mogen/NTNU.MI Lab's research is based on the understanding that the most important challenge for the future healthcare is how to exploit the great achievements in medical research in order to improve patient treatment and outcome while containing costs. Medical imaging is central to meeting this challenge, and new technology for improved cost efficacy should be a main focus for imaging research and industrial innovation.

Our research areas:

Ultrasound is facing a paradigm shift in technology. Photo: Geir Mogen/NTNU.Ultrasound technology

Ultrasound is facing a paradigm shift in technology over the next 10 years that will totally change the way it is used. It can only be compared with the PC revolution in the computer industry. The critical technology will be in transducer arrays, ultrasound electronics, software beamforming, parallel imaging & compressed sensing, minimum diffractive wave imaging, model powered acquisition and new technology for flow imaging/quantification. The MI Lab research task is to create innovations within all these areas of ultrasound technology.

One main focus for MI Lab is the hand-held, pocket-sized ultrasound system VScan. Photo: Geir Mogen/NTNU.Advanced imaging applications for non-expert users

In MRI and ultrasound new and advanced clinical methods are of great benefit for primary diagnosis, monitoring of disease development (‘watchful waiting'), and follow-up of drug treatment in chronic disease. Presently these methods depend on expert users and can most often only be performed in specialised departments and large hospitals. The limitations for widespread use for non-experts in smaller hospitals and community based medicine lie both in obtaining images of sufficient quality, and in the interpretation of the results with sufficient precision. One main focus for MI Lab is the hand-held, pocket-sized ultrasound system Vscan, released by partner GE Vingmed Ultrasound in 2009.

Image-guided, minimally invasive surgery cause quicker rehabilitation for patients. Photo: Geir Mogen/NTNU.Image-guided minimally invasive surgery

Image-guided minimally invasive surgery cause less tissue traumatisation and quicker rehabilitation for the patients. Presently the use is limited by lack of imaging technology adapted to the operation theatre and by increased risk of some intra- and post-operative complications that are avoided in open surgery. The main focus for MI Lab's research in this field is that ultrasound is the best imaging modality for intraoperative imaging when combined with advanced navigation technology and preoperative MR imaging of anatomy and function available in the operation theatre, which is then updated with ultrasound during the operation.

Imaging, especially MRI and ultrasound, has a central role in 'personalised medicine'. Photo: Geir Mogen/NTNU.Image-based information to support medical decision making

New knowledge indicates that individual variations in patient genomics and disease pathology may be of major importance for how to choose the most efficient treatment. This forms the basis for the ‘personalised medicine' philosophy of individually ‘tailored-to-fit' treatment, based on more complete biological information about the patient and his/her disease entity, disease genotype & phenotype, functional changes, and disease progression. Imaging, especially MRI and ultrasound, has a central role in ‘personalised medicine' as it offers a broad range of methods that integrates qualitative and qualitative and quantitative assessments of anatomy, localisation, physiology, organ function, and molecular biology non-invasively and with the possibility of repeated investigations to monitor progression and therapy effect. Research into optimal application of the new advanced MRI and ultrasound methods to the different diseases is still in its infancy, and there is a need for scientific evaluation of benefits to patient outcome.