Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards
Organisation: University of Southampton
Dates: Nov 2011-Oct 2016
Summary: Magnetic resonance is a physical method that involves the interaction of atomic nuclei and electrons with strong magnetic fields. It is used in many different scientific fields for the study of molecular and anatomical structure. For example, the technique called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used in hospitals to determine the anatomy of soft tissues. A related branch of magnetic resonance, called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is used as an analytical tool in thousands of laboratories worldwide, and yet another method, called electron magnetic resonance (EMR) (or sometimes, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR)) are used to study substances which have unpaired electrons, such as many metals as well as reactive free radicals.
Historically, these methods have generally been studied in isolation, with only limited contact between practitioners of the different methods. There is need for an integrated approach to magnetic resonance, in which all of the different methods are treated with as uniform an approach as possible. This will have great benefits since insights will be more readily transferred from one field to another, and new methods can be developed on the creative boundaries between the fields. The current proposal includes funding for visits to a range of laboratories will be used to further my understanding of how the different subfields of magnetic resonance relate to each other, stimulating new research ideas on the intersections. Examples include new ways of using the strong magnetism of electrons to help generate stronger NMR and MRI signals. Enhancement of MRI technology will eventually have societal benefits through the development of faster, cheaper, and more specific techniques for imaging anatomy and assessing disease states, for example cancer.