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July 1, 2016
NIH Mentoree Directs Brain Imaging Center in Wales

Dr. Derek Jones, a scientist mentored at NIH, recently became director of the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) in Wales.
Dr. Derek Jones (c) is flanked by his former postdoctoral mentor Dr. Peter Basser (l) and Dr. Carlo Pierpaoli, both of NICHD.
Dr. Derek Jones (c) is flanked by his former postdoctoral mentor Dr. Peter Basser (l) and Dr. Carlo Pierpaoli, both of NICHD.

The centre, located in the capital of Wales, opened in March and was formally dedicated on June 7 by the Queen of England, and her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. NICHD scientists Dr. Carlo Pierpaoli and Dr. Peter Basser were invited to attend the opening and give inaugural seminars to help mark the occasion.

Said Basser, “This was particularly satisfying for me because Derek received his postdoctoral training in my laboratory almost 15 years ago and has succeeded spectacularly in his scientific career.”

Besides containing state-of-the-art instruments for performing magnetoencephalography, electroencephalography, transcranial magnetic stimulation, as well as clinical MRI scanners, CUBRIC’s crown jewel is its new human “connectome” MRI scanner, the only other one of which is housed at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Martinos Center in Boston.

The “connectome,” developed as part of NIH’s Human Connectome Project, is designed to perform “microstructure imaging” studies, which are intended to measure useful histological features that cannot be obtained with conventional clinical MRI scanners.

“Microstructure imaging provides new information about axon size, shape and orientation within white matter pathways, which are of interest to neuroradiologists, neuropathologists and neuroscientists alike, but is obtained using noninvasive MRI methods,” said Basser.

Since about 2002, Basser and his lab have been instrumental in developing the field of microstructure imaging. He said it is particularly gratifying for him to see this research activity flourishing and the new MRI scanner in the hands of such a capable investigator.

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