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Honolulu, USA

Old Members Trust Travel Grant Report – Niloufar Zarghami

International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine is the most well known conference in the field of MRI, with high-ranking speakers from across the globe, in-depth discussions of pressing challenges, and many opportunities to build relationships on the sidelines of the panels. For the first time, I attended to this years’ annual meeting between 22 – 27 April 2017 in Honolulu, USA. The conference opened with weekend educational sessions from experts of the field followed by the main scientific panels.

My DPhil research focuses on developing molecular MRI contrast agents to detect brain metastasis at early stages. As a researcher that works in the lab, I am interested to know the clinical aspects of my project. This meeting allowed me to broaden my knowledge by attending clinical sessions for brain cancer diagnoses and treatment. Noriko Salamon reviewed different imaging techniques from conventional T1, T2 to more advanced applications of nanoparticles for detection of brain cancer lesions. The recent assessment of gadolinium agents recommends regulatory actions, including suspension for some marketing authosrisations. As the result, most of the clinical talks were focusing on necessity of developing new generations of contrast agents with no side effects on patients.

I found “Molecular Imaging” sessions relevant to my research. These sessions started from basic of chemistry of MRI tracer to application of iron oxide particles in animal models, such as, in-vivo tracking of iron oxide labelled T-cells infiltrating preclinical tumour models. Dorela Shuboni-Mulligan showed nicely how commercially available iron oxide snanoparticles can be used to detect and monitor diabetes in the pre-clinical models.

I presented my project as an e-poster in “agent development and technical advances in molecular MR imaging” session. I received critical yet positive feedbacks from other researchers in the field. These comments will inform the future areas I address when writing my DPhil thesis and publications. After 6 days of inspiring, invigorating, and exhausting meetings, the conference closed with a commemorative presentation in honour of Sir Peter Mansfield, the main architect of the MRI scanner, who passed away this year in Nottingham.

Finally, I am immensely grateful to Old Members’ Trust for providing the financial support to enable my attendance at this conference.

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