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... MRI of the fetal brain?
Please contact Dr. Orit Glenn (orit.glenn@radiology.ucsf.edu)

We are seeking a medical student to help with a study on MRI of the fetal brain. The study has two primary goals. First, we would like to see how accurately fetal MRI detects changes in the fetus’ brain during pregnancy compared to ultrasound. While ultrasound is the most commonly used method of monitoring fetal development, its ability to detect changes in the brain is limited. In this study, we are comparing ultrasound and MR images of fetuses to identify the situations in which fetal MRI will provide valuable clinical information not seen on ultrasound. Second, we would like to learn how various congenital abnormalities detected on fetal MRI correlate with childhood development. Currently, it is very difficult to counsel parents who have a fetus with a brain abnormality, because outcomes can vary widely. By classifying abnormalities more thoroughly with fetal MRI, we will be able to give parents a more accurate picture of what they can expect for their child from a neurological and developmental standpoint. This information will help parents make decisions during pregnancy and prepare in advance for challenges their child and the family may face.

The Job: Speak with women who undergo fetal MRI, review medical records, maintain the database, help with data analysis, and possibly assist in arranging neurodevelopmental visits. As part of the project, the student will also have the opportunity (if interested) to work with the PI to develop his/her own research question and analyze the data to answer the research question.

The Rewards: Exposure to the many disciplines that this project spans (such as neuroradiology, prenatal sonography, obstetrics, perinatology, genetics, and child neurology), excellent preparation for someone interested in a top radiology residency, experience in cutting-edge research at one of the few centers in the world doing fetal MRI, authorship on papers that result from the project (depending on level of interest).

The Collaborators: Orit A. Glenn, M.D. (Neuroradiology); Roy Filly, M.D. (Ultrasound), Ruth Goldstein, M.D. (Ultrasound), Hannah Glass, M.D. (Child Neurology), Donna Ferriero, M.D. (Child Neurology), Jim Barkovich, M.D. (Neuroradiology), Linda Hopkins, M.D. (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Larry Rand, M.D. (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Mary Norton, M.D. (Obstestics and Gynecology)

This is an excellent opportunity for a student interested in neuroimaging, prenatal diagnosis, and neurodevelopmental disorders. The level of participation is flexible, and includes the possibility of taking a year off to work on the project as a paid research assistant if interested.

Updated: March 24, 2009
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