Past Event

BME WEBINAR SERIES: Brian Rutt, PhD, Stanford University

March 19, 2021
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Online Event

On Friday, March 19th @ 11:00AM EST, we welcome Professor of Radiology at the Richard M. Lucas Center for Imaging at Stanford University, Brian Rutt, as he presents, "New Directions in Ultra High Field MRI System Design."


A complete understanding of both normal brain function and neurological disorders / mental illness will require the deciphering of the complex brain networks that underlie behavior and cognition, at both whole-brain and microscopic scales. The difficulty of structurally and functionally mapping these brain networks in living human subjects with sufficient sensitivity and resolution to understand normal function and detect pathological change represents a fundamental challenge. Recent large-scale neuroimaging studies typically use diffusion MRI (dMRI) and BOLD-based functional MRI (fMRI) to derive whole-brain structural and functional connectivity maps for individual subjects at 1.5-2mm resolution (3-8µL voxels). Such coarse resolution results in the spatial blurring of single-voxel responses over ~106 neurons. The NIH BRAIN Initiative calls for disruptive new approaches to resolving brain circuit connections and function at dramatically higher spatiotemporal and microstructure resolution. The Rutt lab is currently focusing on designing, building and validating a complete next-generation, compact, high-performance ultra-high-field (7T) MRI system, capable of resolving neural connections and circuitry at the scale of 104 neurons (~0.2µL), throughout the entire living human brain non-invasively. Our goals are to re-engineer all front-end components of the 7T MRI system to produce a next-generation compact connectome 7T MRI system, resolving the technological and physics challenges that have been severely holding back this human brain imaging modality. We are developing several new technologies, designed synergistically to create a dramatically lower cost but higher performing 7T MRI system: 1) compact 7T magnet technology; 2) high performance gradient hardware that will reach “connectome” levels of performance while at the same time causing minimum peripheral nerve stimulation using novel PNS-optimal gradient design methods; and 3) innovative shim and RF array technologies. The practical impact of our work will be to enable greatly improved human brain mapping, while simultaneously solving the major limitations of ultra high field MRI.


Dr. Brian Rutt is a Professor of Radiology at the Richard M. Lucas Center for Imaging, Stanford University, where he has been on the faculty since 2009. He has made important contributions in both the basic technology of MRI (e.g., leading-edge work in high performance gradient coils and RF components), biophysical measurements using MR (e.g., combined T1 and T2 mapping using variable flip angle gradient echo sequences), basic science applications of MR (e.g., the first demonstrations of in-vivo detection of a single mammalian cell using MRI and the use of MR to longitudinally monitor tumor growth deep within tissue starting from a single cell), and applications of high field MRI.


The Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University is proud to host an annual weekly webinar series on the latest developments and research in Biomedical Engineering. The weekly series takes place on Friday mornings at 11:00AM Eastern and includes a variety of renowned academics invited from top universities to talk about their specific research and experience.

Contact Information

Alexis Newman