Christian Beaulieu

Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Brain Micro-structure

Tier 1 - 2017-11-01
University of Alberta
Canadian Institutes of Health Research


Research involves

Developing and applying new quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods to detect brain injuries.

Research relevance

This research will lead to scientific advances in MRI, which will improve our understanding of healthy brain development and our ability to diagnose and treat brain disorders.

Uncovering Invisible Brain Injury

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a versatile, non-invasive technology that plays a vital role in diagnosing and understanding many human diseases. Over the past 30 years, MRI has let us peer inside the living body and examine and measure brain structure, function and metabolism. However, the brain damage we can see using standard MRI may be just the tip of the iceberg in many neurological disorders.

Engineering and scientific advances in hardware, as well as the development of novel imaging methods, have led to vastly improved MRI technology. These better images can show tissue abnormalities that would not be detected using standard MRI. As Canada Research Chair in MRI of Brain Micro-structure, Dr. Christian Beaulieu will drive the next generation of technologies to detect and quantify micro-structural features in the brain that cannot currently be measured with MRI. He and his research team aim to reveal “invisible” injuries through images that will reflect a disease’s overall impact more precisely and thoroughly.

Working with clinical researchers, Beaulieu will test imaging innovations on patients with stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neurodevelopment disorders. He will also test the same imaging innovations on healthy people at different ages for comparison, in order to understand what is typical before identifying what is wrong.

By supporting advances in MRI technology, Beaulieu’s research will help unravel the mysteries of many brain disorders. It will also improve our ability to diagnose and treat patients, and make the best possible use of new, powerful tools in health care.