About Dr. Ravi Menon

About Dr. Ravi Menon

 

RaviFun_Pic

Contact Details
Facility Director, CFMM
Professor, Departments of Medical Biophysics, Medical Imaging, Neuroscience, and Psychiatry,Western University
Canada Research Chair in Functional and Molecular Imaging
Contact Information:
• Sue Bedford, Assistant
• Phone: (519) 931-5777 x25244
• Fax: (519) 931-5260
• Email: sbedford at robarts dot
• Website: www.robarts.ca/ravi-menon

Profile & Research InterestsRavi Menon (CRC) has directed the CFMM since its inception in 1994. He has more than 2 years of hands-on MRI, MRS and fMRI pulse-sequence and RF hardware contributions in humans at high and ultra-high magnetic fields (≥4T) and more than 22 years of similar experience with large animals at 4.7T, 7T and 9.4T. Along with his former Minnesota colleagues (Garwood and Ugurbil), he likely has the longest continuous high/ultra-high field track record of anyone in the world [22333670]. He has the leadership experience to manage the team and extensive collaborations, with ~100 of his 140 papers published with other team members on this proposal.

Research Summary

My research area lies in the development of technology for ultra high field functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as well as understanding what it measures and tells us about human brain  function. Driven by neuroscience questions posed by our colleagues, we develop new hardware (such as new radio frequency coils) and software solutions (novel pulse sequences) for fMRI. We utilize MRI scanners at 3 Tesla (T), 7 T and 9.4 T to understand the normal anatomy and function of both humans and animals as well as to understand the changes in anatomy and function that accompany disease and degeneration in the brain. These studies are done with colleagues in the hospitals and University, most notably in the Centre for Brain and Mind.

Research Questions

What are the smallest units of cortical organization that fMRI can identify and map in the human brain ?

The brain is organized on many different spatial scales. At it’s coarsest, one might consider left brain and right brain, each which specializes for certain cognitive functions. Then there are large sensory areas such as the visual cortex and the motor cortex. Within something like the visual cortex are 25+ areas specialized for different aspects of visual processing, and within those areas are even smaller structures like cortical columns. We are interested in mapping out these smallest of structures, understanding what they do and relating them to the development and operation of human brain as well as neurodegenerative diseases.What are the contrast mechanisms that govern functional and anatomic contrast at ultra high fields in MRI ?

MRI at magnetic field strengths of 7 Tesla and above can generate some novel image contrasts that we don’t fully understand. By studying the mechanism for these contrasts, we may be able to detect conditions like Alzheimer’s plaques or multiple sclerosis with much higher sensitivity. Along similar lines, we may be able to detect other processes, such as brain function, using different contrasts than what is currently use. Contrast can also be derived from more unconventional nuclei than water (used in normal MRI). Sodium, phosphorus and other important biochemical compounds can be detected using MRI as well.

How does one optimize ultra high magnetic field MRI scanners for human and animal brain imaging ?

While there are a number of ultra high field MRI scanners in use worldwide, their hardware and software is far from optimized. In order to operate such scanners within the human safety guidelines from agencies such as the US FDA, considerable work needs to be done. This involves the design of new ways of imaging (so-called pulse sequences) as well as optimization of much of the hardware, including radio frequency coils, our specialty. Making the use of ultra high field systems routine for human studies will allow go a long way towards making them diagnostically useful in research settings.

Education

• B.Sc. Physics (Hons), University of British Columbia, 1984
• M.Sc.(A) Medical Physics,  McGill University, 1986
• Ph.D. Medicine, University of Alberta, 1990

 

 

 

Training

• University of Minnesota, 1990-1994