The last two decades have witnessed remarkable development in the tools available to image living systems. As well as providing high-resolution structural information (such as the thickness of artery or the size of a mass), PET and MRI provide molecular and functional information (such as the expression and occupancy of the dopamine receptor, or flow of blood to a specific region in the brain). Therefore, instead of making inferences based on relatively basic measurements, or extrapolating from animal models and cellular systems, with clinical imaging investigators can directly test detailed hypotheses about pathophysiology in humans, in vivo. As the physics and technology of the imaging modalities are further developed, the role of imaging in clinical medicine and clinical research in the future will continue to expand.
Imanova Clinical Imaging Centre (CIC)
The Imanova Clinical Imaging Centre (CIC), in the heart of the Hammersmith campus, is the UK’s best equipped clinical research imaging centre, with two cyclotrons and PET/CT systems, two 3T MRI systems, and associated laboratory space in a newly completed research-dedicated facility. Through collaboration with the CIC, there is a strong emphasis on the use of imaging within the TMT programme. Therefore, imaging makes up a component of most Fellows’ projects. This may range from designing and acting as the Principal Investigator on an MRI or PET study or performing in vitro work to better understand implications of imaging signals.
The TMT programme aims to teach young researchers to apply new tools of clinical investigation (including imaging) to test hypotheses about human pathophysiology in vivo. It is not intended to attract or train radiologists. Fellows are not expected to have any experience (or interest!) in radiology. Nor are they expected to have experience in imaging, which will be taught to you during your fellowship.