Faculty Members

Dr. Nick De Zanche

Associate Professor

Department of Oncology

Division of Medical Physics
    Contact details are for academic matters only.

About Me

Senior Member: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Member: Canadian College of Physicists in Medicine
PEng: Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA)


Advanced MRI Techniques for MR-guided Radiation Treatment
The aim of this research is to utilize novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to generate the high-quality images that are needed to ensure that beams used for radiation therapy are steered with high precision. Accurate targeting ensures more effective killing of the tumour, while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. Current image-based approaches use computed tomography (CT) which is unable to distinguish between healthy and cancerous tissues as precisely as MRI, although it does a better job at locating bone which is required to make accurate predictions of radiation dose distribution. In this research program we use ultrashort-echo-time (UTE) MRI to visualize bone and other non-Cartesian acquisitions that minimize geometrical distortions that can limit the accuracy of the treatment.

High-density Receiver Coil Arrays for MRI
MRI array coils with large numbers of elements offer improvements in image quality (SNR) and acquisition speed (using parallel imaging techniques) over those from arrays with fewer elements. However, building such large arrays is a challenging task due to electromagnetic interactions between coils and between coils and respective cables. A large number of cables creates a potential safety hazard (power deposition, SAR) and contributes to "crosstalk" between the loops that reduces imaging performance. Furthermore, as the loop dimensions shrink the amplifiers connected to the loops are no longer ideal as current design methods assume. This research aims to optimize the performance of large arrays by focussing on the following methods:

  • characterization of preamplifier noise parameters
  • effects of coil overlap on image quality
  • improving coil design methods by incorporating preamplifier noise performance early on in the design process
  • using more mathematically "complete" arrangements of coils that capture all the information in RF magnetic field emitted by the nuclear spins
  • using fibre-optics to eliminate the problems caused a large number of cables.

Research Keywords

Electrical Engineering, Image-guided Radiation Therapy, Magnetic Resonance Imaging