Introduction

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) capitalizes on the quantum properties of matter to emerge as the most versatile medical imaging technique available to date, making it possible to image tissues deep and superficial, soft and hard. The vast number of protons in the human body contribute to high quality images, both in terms of spatial resolution and signal-to-noise ratio. Combined with the possibility of manipulating and detecting the magnetization of protons with electromagnetic radiation in the radio-frequency range of the spectrum, this qualifies MRI as the only medical imaging technique enabling access to deep tissues, in vivo and with high resolution, while avoiding harmful ionizing radiation.

MRI finds use also beyond human and veterinary medicine or biology, and is employed for industrial, engineering and pharmaceutical applications with materials and inanimate objects to study their internal properties or observe their behavior when subject to variable environmental parameters.

Who are we?

The Magnetic Resonance Imaging Laboratory (MRILab) at i3M in Valencia blends quantum and medical physicists and engineers with a focus on two related goals. One is to boost the quantitative performance of current MRI systems. The other is to exploit the potential arising from the strong synergies between the fields of MRI and Quantum Information Processing (QIP) to advance MRI in directions thus far unfathomed, qualitatively distinct from established trends, and based on algorithms, protocols, techniques and technologies refined in the field of QIP and its most notorious branch, quantum computing.

Team members

I3M

Joseba Alonso, PhD, Group leader

I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Valencia, and completed my PhD in experimental atomic physics with Prof. Günther Werth and Prof. Klaus Blaum at the University of Mainz. After a few years in a private consultancy, I joined the trapped-ion quantum information group of Jonathan Home at ETH-Zurich as a postdoc and, later, as a senior scientist. My CV can be found here.

Tel: +34963877000 Ext. 88255

Email: joseba.alonso@i3m.upv.es


José M. Benlloch, PhD, Prof.

I am a full professor at the Spanish National Research Council. In my early career, I worked in particle detectors at CERN and at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and later as staff member of the Massachussetts Institute of Technology under the direction of Jerome Friedman. When I returned to Spain in 1999, I started a research group on Medical Imaging, which eventually developed into the Institute of Molecular Imaging and Instrumentation, which I direct.

Tel: +34 96 387 99 07

Email: benlloch@i3m.upv.es


Fernando Galve, PhD, Senior scientist

I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Valencia, and completed my PhD in experimental atomic physics with Prof. G. Werth at the University of Mainz. I did two postdocs in quantum information and open systems with Prof. P. Hänggi at the University of Augsburg, and with Prof. R. Zambrini at the University of the Balearic Islands, where I led my own research lines as PI of a project funded by the Spanish Ministry. My CV can be found here.

Email: fernando.galve@i3m.upv.es


José Miguel Algarín Guisado, PhD, PostDoc

I did my undergraduate in Physics (best academic record) in 2009 at the University of Seville. After my undergraduate I did a Master in Medical Physics and I completed my PhD in Physics in 2015 with Extraordinary Doctorate Award at the University of Seville. After my PhD, I joined the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics as a postdoc at University of Maryland (USA). In my freetime I like to immerse myself in the night sky with my telescope and my camera to get a record of the past of our universe.

Email: josalggui@i3m.upv.es


Eduardo Pallas Lodeiro, Mechanical engineer

I have a bachelor’s degree in Technical Industrial Engineering (Mechanical) from the University School of Ford Spain, and a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering (Mechanical) from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. I enjoy mechanical design and developing new products. I did two years practice agreement in the Railway Company Vossloh Spain (2014-2016), nowadays Stadler Rail Spain.

Tel: +34 96 387 70 00 Ext: 88173

Email: epallas@i3m.upv.es


Pepe Borreguero Morata, Physicist

I did my undergraduate in Physics at the University of Valencia,  with a specialization in Theoretical Physics . After that I did a Master in Advanced Physics oriented to Particle Physics and Quantum Field Theory. I apply my knowledge in the i3M studying the pulses that allow the construction of images in MRI.

Email: pepe.morata@i3m.upv.es


Carlos Gramage, Industrial Electronics Engineer

I did a degree in industrial electronic engineering focusing the final work of degree to the control and acquisition of data of electronic instruments. I want to continue with my career looking for new knowledge.

Email: c.gramage2@i3m.upv.es



Rubén Bosch Esteve, Industrial Electronics and Automation Engineering

I received the title of technician in avionics maintenance in integrated public center of FP of Cheste. I have done my undergraduate in Industrial Electronics and Automation in Florida universitaria (Valencia). I am finishing a Master in construction and applications of unmanned aerial systems. My hobbies are 3D printers, drones and calisthenics.

Email: ruben.bosch@i3m.upv.es



Guillermo López, Physicist

I obtained the degree in Physics at the University of Murcia. After a six month stay in Hospital General Universitario Santa Lucía of Cartagena, I did a Master in Advanced Physics (specialization on theoretical physics) at the University of Valencia. I am currently working on hard tissue imaging at the MRILab.

i3M spin-offs

We work in close collaboration with Tesoro Imaging S.L. and PhysioMRI tech S.L.

Tesoro Imaging

Alfonso Ríos, PhD, CEO

I have a degree in Electronic Engineering at University of Valencia (Spain) and a doctorate in Particle Physics and Computing at CERN-UNESCO in Switzerland and at the University of Valencia. I am an entrepreneur and scientist, focused on disruptive technologies and IT, and founder of several companies with IPR generation in different countries. I have been director in large companies such as INDRA with more than 15 years of professional experience, with special attention in areas such as Cloud Computing and Big Data.

Tel: +34 96 072 81 11

Email: alfonso.rios@tesoroimaging.com


Juan Pablo Rigla Pérez, PhD

I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Valencia and PhD in Nuclear Engineering with Prof. K. Koubychine at the Technical University of Catalonia (Barcelona, Spain). From 2006 to 2012 I was research assistant in the Nuclear Physics and Accelerators of the Institute of Energy Technologies at the Technical University of Catalonia. Later I joined the i3M as a PostDoc. In 2015 I joined as a researcher at the Tesoro Imaging S.L. My research interests involve the development of novel magnetic system for medical imaging diagnostic systems and for transport and propulsion of magnetic nanoparticles.

Tel: +34 96 072 81 11

Email: jpablo.rigla@tesoroimaging.com


Daniel Grau Ruiz, PhD student

I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Valencia and master´s degree in communications technologies, systems and networks at the Polytechnic University of Valencia.  I am currently working on my PhD, based on the design and construction of a fast and intense gradient system for a high-spatial-resolution MRI system.

Tel: +34 96 072 81 11

Email: daniel.grau@tesoroimaging.com


José Manuel González Hernández, PhD student

My educational background is in Industrial Engineering, specialized in mechanical. I obtained my degree in 2016 and joined the Instittute for Instrumentation and Molecular Imaging (i3M) between 2016 and 2018, where I contributed to the development of different equipment. At present, my doctoral research is based on Electro-Permanent Magnet principle to create the static magnetic field for MRI. This EPM system allows magnetic field adjustment controlled by magnetic remanence.

Tel: +34 96 072 81 11

Email: josemanuel.gonzalez@tesoroimaging.com


Teresa Guallart Naval, Physicist

I completed my degree in Physics at the University of Zaragoza. I worked as a programmer for a year at a tech consulting firm and then I started my master’s degree in Theoretical Physics at the University of Valencia. I have recently joined Tesoro Imaging.

Email: teresa.guallart@tesoroimaging.com

PhysioMRI Tech

Rubén Pellicer Guridi, PhD

I did my electrical and electronics engineering studies at the Polytechnic University of Mondragón. I worked for 3 years as industrial engineer designing automatised manufacturing lines at CEGASA, Vitoria. Following this experience in industry, I did my master on biomedical engineering after which I had the opportunity to engage in research on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at ETH (Switzerland) and Erasmus University Medical Centre (The Netherlands). Aforementioned experiences made me realise that only a fraction of what MR is capable of is translated to help patients, mainly because of the prohibitive costs of this technology. This realisation inspired me to focus my efforts developing purpose built low-cost & portable MRI devices. With this aim in mind, I did my PhD and a postdoctoral stay at The Centre for Advanced Imaging (Australia). Afterwards I returned to Europe and did a research stay at PTB (Physikalisch – Technische Bundesanstalt) Institute and Charité Hospital (Germany) before finally joining the i3M group and PhysioMRI.

Email: ruben.pellicer@physiomri.com

Visiting scientists

(2019-20) Dr. Manuel Murbach, Zurich (Switzerland)

Former members

(2014-20) Elena Díaz Caballero, R&D engineer

(2019) Miguel Corberán Ruiz, Control and Automation Engineer

(2019) Lasthenis Angelidakis, PhD student

(2017-18) Héctor Sánchez Izquierdo, Masters student

(2016-18) Guillermo Puchalt Casanys, Electronics engineer

Projects

Ongoing projects

Elastography with Acousto-optical techniques and Rapid MAgnetic control of biocompatible nanoParticles (EARMAP)
Funded by Ministry of Science and Innovation under the “Retos de investigación” program 2019

EARMAP is a coordinated project formed by two subprojects. One consists in the development of innovative biocompatible nanoparticles which will be detected acoustically and excited either optically with coherent light and/or magnetically by means of intense, rapidly controlled magnetic fields. The other consists in the development of innovative techniques to image the nanoparticles through tissue-mimicking phantoms, quantitatively evaluate their concentration and, simultaneously, to study the viscoelastic properties of the labeled tissues through ultrasound waves produced by the nanoparticles after being excited. The global objective of the project is to develop a novel molecular elastography technique by combining magneto-motive ultrasound and photoacoustic technologies with the use of nanoparticles with outstanding photoacoustic and magnetic activity.

In situ imaging of living tissues with cellular spatial resolution (Histo-MRI).
Funded by European Commission under the FETOPEN (H2020) program 2016

The main objective of HISTO-MRI project is to develop the technologies that will enable the non-invasive visualization of individual human cells in vivo and in real time, based on a radical
new Magnetic Resonance Imaging concept: Strong Pre-Polarized magnet field and Ultra-High Frequency Pulsed gradient system.

Link: http://www.histo-mri.i3m.upv.es/

Featured past projects

Dental imaging with low-field magnetic resonance imaging (DentMRI)

Funded by ATTRACT and European Commission under the H2020 program 2019

The main goal of the DentMRI project is to demonstrate a technology capable of simultaneous, high resolution imaging of soft and hard deep biological tissues, and which can be massively deployed in dental clinics within the next decade. Prior to the project start, we have been first to obtain high-resolution images of teeth (the hardest tissue present in the human body) in a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner operating at low magnetic fields. Running at 0.3 T, well below the 1.5 T clinical standard, equipment costs are reduced by one to two orders of magnitude, a necessary condition for commercial viability.

In the scope of DentMRI, we will develop new electromagnetic pulse sequences for a test MRI scanner, as well as an image post-processing software application for diagnostic aid. We will use these to generate the first combined images of teeth and gum with diagnostic value, which will be assessed by professional odontologists. This test setup can accommodate objects of size up to 1 cubic centi-meter, so it is an additional goal of DentMRI to equip a human-head scanner with the radio-frequency electronics required for the pulse.

Link: https://attract-eu.com/selected-projects/dental-imaging-with-low-field-magnetic-resonance-imaging-dentmri/

Publications and preprints

2020

4. Peripheral Nerve Stimulation limits with fast narrow and broad-band pulses. D. Grau-Ruiz, J. P. Rigla, E. Pallás, J. M. Algarín, J. Borreguero, R. Bosch, G. Comazzi, E. Díaz-Caballero, F. Galve, C. Gramage, J. M. González, R. Pellicer, A. Ríos, J. M. Benlloch, J. Alonso. arXiv:2012.06232, (2020). (public preprint in https://arxiv.org/abs/2012.06232, media: https://www.csic.es/en/node/1262098, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo3ZXK1g0GA).

3. Model-driven reconstruction with phase-constrained highly-oversampled MRI. F. Galve, J.M. Algarín, J.M. Benlloch and J. Alonso. arXiv:2007.15674, (2020). (public preprint in https://arxiv.org/abs/2007.15674).

2. Simultaneous imaging of hard and soft biological tissues in a low-field dental MRI scanner, J.M. Algarín, E. Díaz-Caballero, J. Borreguero, F. Galve, D. Grau-Ruiz, J.P. Rigla, R. Bosch, J.M. González, E. Pallás, M. Corberán, C. Gramage, S. Aja-Fernández, A. Ríos, J.M. Benlloch and J. Alonso. Scientific Reports volume 10, 21470 (2020). (DOI 10.1038/s41598-020-78456-2, public preprint in https://arxiv.org/abs/2005.01462).

1. Low-field rampable magnet for a high-resolution MRI system, JP. Rigla, F. Bodker, A. Anari, E. Pallás, D. Grau, G. Puchalt, JM. González, M. Corberán, E. Díaz, JM. Algarín, A. Ríos, JM. Benlloch and J. Alonso. IEEE Transactions on Magentics, Vol 52 (2) p.1-7 (2020). (DOI 10.1109/TMAG.2019.2950891, public preprint in https://arxiv.org/abs/1808.05795).

Open positions

We offer PhD and Post-Doc positions, plus summer and Masters projects for undergraduates.

Undergraduate and Masters projects

Please send a CV, including the contact address of at least one referee, to joseba.alonso@i3m.upv.es. Please also indicate the period over which you would like to undertake the project.

PhD positions

Excellent students with a keen interest in medical physics and instrumentation are encouraged to apply at any time. Please send a Curriculum Vitae to joseba.alonso@i3m.upv.es if interested. This should include information about prior education, previous research which you have performed, and the name and contact addresses of at least two referees.

PostDoc positions

We welcome applications from motivated and capable researchers with a strong background in experimental research. Please send a Curriculum Vitae to joseba.alonso@i3m.upv.es if interested. This should include information about prior education, previous research which you have performed, and the name and contact addresses of three referees.

Valued research experience – PhD and PostDoc

Knowledge in the following areas will be highly valued:

  • Medical imaging experiments (MRI, PET, CT, ultra-sound, etc)
  • Design and characterization of magnetic systems
  • Design and characterization of radio-frequency and microwave systems
  • High-power amplification electronics
  • Simulation of MRI processes using Matlab/Mathematica
  • Multiphysics numerical simulations using COMSOL/Ansys
  • Programming Graphical User Interfaces and software for instrumentation control using LabVIEW/Matlab
  • CAD design using AutoCAD/SolidWorks
  • Digital/Analog electronics, design of circuits
  • Digital control, including FPGA programming
  • Digital acquisition systems, programming for experimental control