Multimodal Imaging in Clinical Neuroscience

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Irene Neuner
deputy clinical director

Contact: Sigrid Loevenich, Lisa Prickartz
Phone: +49 241 80-89633
Phone: +49 241 80-89640
Fax: +49 241 80-82401


INM4 - FZ-Jülich

Phone: +49 2461 61-6356
Fax: +49 2461 61-1919


Multimodal Neuroimaging

Recent developments in all fields of medical imaging technology have paved the way for the simultaneous acquisition of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). The key element, and main advantage of this approach, is that structural and functional (via MRI) and metabolic (via PET) signatures can be assessed simultaneously under the same physiological and psychological conditions. Although MRT and PET provide a very high spatial resolution, the temporal resolution is low. As neuronal networks function and regroup in a time frame of milliseconds, a high temporal resolution as provided by electroencephalography (EEG) is highly desirable. Thus, in order to best utilize the complementary features of PET, MRI, and EEG, data from three modalities are measured simultaneously. The feasibility of measuring PET/MRT/EEG data simultaneously in a single session has already been reported (Shah et al., 2017) and the benefits of such a set-up are numerous. For example, the use of a PET/MR/EEG set-up can advance the understanding of brain structure and function and can be used to identify new biomarkers for neurological and psychiatric disorders, as well as improving accuracy in early diagnosis (Neuner et al., 2018). Furthermore, this setup is especially desirable for studies with pharmacological challenge in which a sequential design would add confounding factors.

In a recent experimental application of simultaneous EET/MR/EEG the trimodal neuroimaging setup was used to characterize the brain’s default mode network (DMN) in healthy male subjects. Multimodal fingerprints in the DMN were obtained by quantifying 1) energy metabolism with the PET-Tracer 2- [18F]fluoro-2-desoxy-D-glucose PET (FDG-PET), 2) the inhibition – excitation balance of neuronal activation via magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), and its functional connectivity via fMRI and 3) its electrophysiological signature via EEG. The trimodal approach revealed complementary fingerprints (Rajkumar et al., 2018; Shah et al., 2017).]

In the ongoing EU-funded (FP7) simultaneous-trimodal study „TRIMAGE“, the glutamatergic system in schizophrenic patients is targeted using the PET tracer 11C-ABP688 (Guerra et al., 2017). Furthermore, other simultaneous-trimodal studies were conducted targeting the GABAergic  and dopaminergic systems using [11C] Flumazenil and [11C] Raclopride as PET tracers, respectively (Neuner et al ., 2018).

Scientific staff

  • PD Dr. med. Tanja Veselinovic [Senior physician]
  • Dr. med. Gereon Schnellbächer [Assistant doctor]
  • Freya Türkeri [Assistant doctor]
  • Dr. Ravichandran Rajkumar, M.Sc. [postdoc]
  • Shukti Ramkiran, M.Sc. [PhD-candidate]
  • Clàudia Régio Brambilla, M.Sc. [PhD-candidate; DAAD-stipend; joint supervision with Dr. Christoph Lerche INM4, FZ Jülich]
  • Hasan Mohammad Hasan Sbaihat [PhD-candidate; Palestinian-German Science Bridge PGSB stipend financed by BMBF]
  • Linda Orth [PhD-candidate, joint supervision with PD Dr. Sarkheil]
  • Nicolas Kaulen [Master student, Medical Physics, TU Dortmund]
  • Joshua Bierbrier [Bachelor student, Electrical and Biomedical Engineering, McMaster University]
  • Andrej Ruch [Medical Student]

Practical Semester / Master’s Thesis Position

For more information, please refer to the PDF-file