Tonima Ali

Tonima Ali has succesfully defended her master’s thesis entitled “Real-time Voxel-based Quantitative T2 MRI Analysis and Applications”. Congratulations Tonima! A summary of the thesis can be found…

      Summary of Thesis

       This year the Canadian Cancer Society predicts that 2,600 Canadians will be diagnosed with brain cancer, and 1,750 will die of the disease. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) generates excellent soft-tissue contrast and is the most common method to diagnose and monitor brain cancer. MR images are often formed by measuring the “T2 relaxation” of protons attached to water molecules, after the protons have been excited using a pulse of radio-frequency energy. T2 relaxation in tissue is influenced by cellular-scale water compartments. Pathology alters tissue structure and may cause significant changes in T2 relaxation.

Quantitative T2 (qT2) is a specialized field of MRI research that examines the fundamental T2 relaxation process to provide quantitative information about water compartmentalization in vivo. My research was focused on developing a new high- resolution “voxel-based” technique for quantitative T2 MRI analysis. This technique produces spatial color maps showing tissue water fraction and geometric mean T2. These maps can be interactively manipulated and compared to reveal alterations to water compartmentalization caused by pathology.

I analyzed MR scans from normal control mice and mice with invasive gliomas induced from human brain tumor initiating cells. Results were compared to ex vivo histological stains produced from the same animals. My analysis was able to accurately identify tumor infiltration not visible on standard MRI. This new technique may be useful for scientists and clinicians who wish to identify and monitor pathology in vivo.