Brain Imaging, biomarkers, multiple sclerosis, visuomotor neuroscience, ultrahigh field MRI
YouTube video (3:57 min): Scott Kolbe explains his research on venous rhythms in the brain and MS. See video
To improve the treatment of brain injury by developing and testing new biomarkers for use in personalised monitoring and prognosis, or as early phase clinical trial endpoints.
Group Leader - Dr Scott Kolbe
Dr Kolbe's research uses computational analysis of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data to study brain structure and function. He is particularly interested in understanding how the brain's of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) adapt to damage to maintain cognitive and motor functions for longer.
Find out more about Dr Scott Kolbe
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) represents the gold standard for radiological diagnosis and monitoring of neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis. However, current clinical MRI technologies are not sensitive to the primary pathologies that drive neurological progression: axonal demyelination and degeneration. Nor can they reveal reparative processes such as axonal remyelination, axonal remodelling and brain network remodelling. Our research addresses a number of key problems to improve radiological practice:
- How to measure pathological and reparative changes in axonal myelination?
- How to measure loss of axons?
- How to identify stressed neurons that are at risk of degeneration?
- How to classify pathology and stratify patients?
- How to identify pathological and reparative changes in large scale brain networks?
- How to translate new imaging biomarkers into radiological practice?
Axonal myelination provides efficient neuronal communication and trophic support. Enhancing myelination is an active area of interest for new therapy development, yet tracking changes in myelination in live brain tissue is challenging. Magnetic susceptibility is a property of substances that causes addition to (paramagnetic) or subtraction from (diamagnetic) a magnetic field. MRI is incredibly sensitive to the presence of these substances as they cause disturbances in the MRI phase signal and can be measured using a technique called Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping (QSM). Wrapped myelin is diamagnetic and the wrapping density of myelin can be measured using an advanced QSM technique that specifically measures the abundance diamagnetic substances. This project aims to develop QSM for myelin mapping for use in testing drugs that act to promote myelination.
Loss of axons is characteristic of many neurodegenerative disorders. By measuring the rate of axonal loss in individual patients at the earliest disease stages, clinicians could identify patients at risk of more rapid neurological progression. Axonal loss can be detected as loss of white matter fibre density (FD) using diffusion MRI, a technique that is sensitive to the molecular motion of water. Colinear axonal membranes cause preferential diffusion along the axons. Loss of FD causes a loss of preferential diffusion. This project will study loss of FD in specific neural pathways in different disease populations with the goal of predicting disease progression.
Current Project Funding:
- 2018-21: Kolbe SC. Biogen Investigator Initiated Study.
Selected Recent Publications
For full list of publications, visit Pubmed.
- F Boonstra, G Noffs, T Perera, V Jokubaitis, A Vogel, A Evans, B Moffat, H Butzkueven, A van der Walt and S Kolbe. 2019. “Functional neuroplasticity in response to cerebello-thalamic injury underpins the clinical presentation of tremor in multiple sclerosis”. Multiple Sclerosis Journal. (In Press)
- W Syeda, Y Blunck, S Kolbe, J Cleary, L Johnston. “A continuum of T2* components: flexible fast fraction mapping in sodium MRI”. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. (In Press)
- Y Blunck, B Moffat, S Kolbe, R Ordidge, J Cleary, L Johnston. 2018. “Zero-Gradient-Exciation Ramped Hybrid Encoding (zGRF-RHE) Sodium MRI”. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. (Accepted manuscript)
- F Boonstra, T Perera, A Evans, A van der Walt and S Kolbe. 2018. “Novel functional MRI task for studying the neural correlates of upper limb tremor”. Frontiers in Neurology 9: 513.
- S Gajamange, D Raffelt, T Dhollander, E Lui, A van der Walt, T Kilpatrick, J Fielding, A Connelly and S Kolbe. 2017 “Fibre specific white matter changes in multiple sclerosis patients with optic neuritis”. NeuroImage Clinical. 17: 60-8.