Metabolic Imaging Research Opportunities


BBC science video - what is fat?

The Metabolic and Molecular Imaging Group in the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College London at Hammersmith Hospital runs a multidisciplinary research programme that integrates biochemical, molecular biology, physiology and magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy techniques for translational science to study metabolism, eating behaviour and obesity. We have use of dedicated research MRI facilities in the clinical Robert Steiner MRI Unit (1.5T and 3T scanners) and pre-clinical Biological Imaging Centre (4.7T and 9.4T, PET scanner) that enable us to study body composition and fat distribution, brown adipose tissue function, and neuronal activity with a particular focus on hypothalamic, brainstem and reward systems. Using these MR techniques, in combination with hormone and metabolite measurements, genetic analysis, psychological and appetite assessments we study:

(i) the effects of regional fat distribution (visceral, subcutaneous, liver and muscle) on metabolic risk and biomarkers in obesity and diabetes, and their response to therapy;

(ii) how eating behaviour and appetite is altered in obesity, by gut hormones and anti-obesity therapies, including bariatric surgery, using pre-clinical manganese-enhanced MRI and clinical BOLD functional MRI;

(iii) the influence(s) of specific environmental factors such as diet, exercise, early-life events, ethnicity and candidate genes on these pathophysiological processes.

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In collaboration with the Computational, Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Laboratory, Imperial College London at Hammersmith Hospital, we also study how pituitary dysfunction after traumatic brain injury, particularly growth hormone deficiency, impacts on neurocognitive and psychological processes, brain structure and function using diffusion tensor imaging and functional MRI.

Research opportunities are available for clinicians, scientists, and nutritionists to join our research programme. We have an excellent track record in obtaining Research Council and charitable Clinical Research Training Fellowships. If interested, please contact Dr. Tony Goldstone on 020 3313 5856 or