Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre

Magnetic Resonance Physics

Magnetic Resonance Physics Research


The Magnetic Resonance Physics group works in close collaboration with clinical colleagues in the Centre developing methods to address specific clinical questions. Physics led development has allowed us to undertake novel studies in numerous medical domains.

Through a research agreement with Philips Medical Systems we are able to program new pulse sequences on our 3T clinical scanner and develop new radio-frequency coil systems, particularly for non-proton MR measurements.

We are developing a number of novel techniques and applications focussing on metabolic and physiological measurements closely allied to our clinical populations:

  • proton spectroscopic imaging – multi-slice whole brain measurements
  • fluorine-19 imaging – MRI of inhalable inert gas tracers for lung function measurements
  • phosphorus-31 spectrscopy techniques - for use in skeletal muscle and heart
  • carbon-13 spectroscopy techniques - for use in skeletal muscle, liver and brain
  • lithium-7 spectroscopy techniques – for quantitative assessment of brain levels
  • blood flow imaging - for use in the brain and skeletal muscle
  • 3-point Dixon imaging techniques – for quantitation of fat levels in many body areas
  • applications of cardiac tagging – measuring heart function

These studies are supported by a variety of funders including the MRC and the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust. 

View Prof Andrew M. Blamire's staff profile.

View Prof Pete Thelwall's staff profile.



Many of the MR Centre publications are heavily reliant on the technical developments made by the MR physics team. The following publications describe publications solely based around team developments.


  • Mann LW, Higgins DM, Peters CN, Cassidy S, Hodson KK, Coombs A, Taylor R, Hollingsworth KG. Accelerating MR Imaging Liver Steatosis Measurement Using Combined Compressed Sensing and Parallel Imaging: A Quantitative Evaluation. Radiology. 2016 Jan;278(1):247-56. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2015150320. Epub 2015 Jul 28.


  • Hollingsworth KG. Reducing acquisition time in clinical MRI by data undersampling and compressed sensing reconstruction. Phys Med Biol. 2015 Nov 7;60(21):R297-322. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/60/21/R297. Epub 2015 Oct 8.
  • Loughran T, Higgins DM, McCallum M, Coombs A, Straub V, Hollingsworth KG. Improving highly accelerated fat fraction measurements for clinical trials in muscular dystrophy: origin and quantitative effect of R2* changes. Radiology. 2015 May;275(2):570-8. doi: 10.1148/radiol.14141191. Epub 2015 Jan 7.


  • Thrippleton M, Parikh J, Bridget Harris, Marshall I, Semple S, Andrews, P, Wardlaw J and Marshall I, Reliability of the MR Brian Temperature mapping at 1.5T and 3T, NMR Biomed. 2014 Feb 27(2):183-90.
  • Hussain R, Vogt SJ, Honari A, Hollingsworth KG, Sederman AJ, Mitchell J, Johns ML. Interfacial tension measurements using MRI drop shape analysis. Langmuir. 2014 Feb 18;30(6):1566-72. doi: 10.1021/la404635x. Epub 2014 Feb 6.
  • De Luca E, Harvey P, Chalmers KH, Mishra A, Senanayake PK, Wilson IJ, Botta M, Fekete M, Blamire AM, Parker D. Characterisation and evaluation of paramagnetic fluorine labelled glycol chitosan conjugates for 19F and 1H magnetic resonance imaging. J Biol Inorg Chem. 19:215-227, (2014).
  • Payne BA, Hollingsworth KG, Baxter J, Wilkins E, Lee V, Price DA, Trenell M, Chinnery PF. In vivo mitochondrial function in HIV-infected persons treated with contemporary anti-retroviral therapy: a magnetic resonance spectroscopy study. PLoS One. 2014 Jan 7;9(1):e84678. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084678. eCollection 2014.


  • Smith FE, Cousins DA, Thelwall PE, Ferrier IN, Blamire AM. Quantitative Lithium Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in the Normal Human Brain on a 3T Clinical Scanner. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2011; 66(4):945-9
  • Chalmers KH, Kenwright AM, Parker D, Blamire AM. 19F-lanthanide complexes with increased sensitivity for 19F-MRI: Optimization of the MR acquisition. Magn Reson Med. 2011; 66(4):931-6
  • Aribisala BS, He J, Blamire AM. Comparative Study of Standard Space and Real Space Analysis of Quantitative MR Brain Data. Journal of Magnetic Resonance in Imaging. 2011;33(6):1503-9
  • Smart SD, Firbank MJ, O'Brien JT. Validation of automated white matter hyperintensity segmentation. J Aging Res. 2011;2011:391783. Epub 2011 Sep 6. PubMed PMID: 21904678; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3167190.


  • He J, Blamire AM. Application of variable-rate selective excitation pulses for spin labelling in perfusion MRI. Magn Reson Med. 2010 Vol.63:842-84 7
  • Chalmers KH, De Luca E, Hogg NHM, Kenwright AM, Kuprov I, Parker D, Botta M, Wilson JI, Blamire, AM. Design Principles and Theory of Paramagnetic Fluorine Labelled Lanthanide Complexes as Probes for 19F Magnetic Resonance: a Proof of Concept Study. Eur J Chem 2010. Vol. 16: 134-148.


  • Shepherd TM, Thelwall PE, Stanisz GJ, Blackband SJ. Aldehyde fixative solutions alter the water relaxation and diffusion properties of nervous tissue. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2009; 62: 26-34.


  • Blamire AM. The technology of MRI - the next 10 years? British Journal of Radiology. 2008;81(968):601-17
  • Firbank MJ, Barber R, Burton EJ, O’Brien, JT. 2008. Validation of a fully automated hippocampal segmentation method on patients with dementia. Human Brain Mapping. 29(12), 1442-1449.


  • Thelwall PE. Detection of 17O-tagged phosphate by (31)P MRS: a method with potential for in vivo studies of phosphorus metabolism. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2007; Jun;57(6):1168-72.