Dr. Lawrence Ver Hoef is an epileptologist and Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Universityof Alabama at Birmingham. With an undergraduate background in engineering and post-doctoral graduate studies in biomedical engineering, Dr. Ver Hoef seeks to establish himself as a technical translational neuroimaging researcher that bridges the gap between the unapplied cutting-edge abilities of the MRI engineering community and the disease-specific imaging needs of the clinical neuroscience community to facilitatecooperative endeavors. These two highly specialized arenas would benefit greatly from a researcher who is fluent in both languages who could connect engineering abilities in need of application with clinical investigationsin need of better tools. To accomplish this goal Dr Ver Hoef will develop his research abilities through a mentored project and educational curriculum that will complete his engineering credentials, equiphim with skills in biostatistics and study design, and provide hands-on experience managing a project with engineering and clinical components. The project will optimize a novel MRI technique ("3D Cones") to generate high-resolution thin-sliced images of the human hippocampus that will clearly demonstrate the normal layered hippocampal internalarchitecture (HIA). A loss of differentiation of HIA on coronal MRI has been suggested to be an imaging halmarkof hippocampal sclerosis (HS) in epilepsy patients. HS is a common cause of medically refractory epilepsy, but is also highly remediable with resective surgery. Current MRI techniques are inconsistent and poorly able to demonstrateHIA. Therefore, an imaging technique that consistently demonstrates HIA, or abnormalities thereof, may identify certain patients with disabling, intractible epilepsy as surgical candidates with an excellent prognosis for seizure freedom. The project will utilize the 3D cones imaging technique in conjunction withmultiple-image averaging (to improve signal to noise ratio) and inter-scan co-registration (to minimize movement effects). Several specific parameters will be optimized to generate the best possible differentiation of HIA. The new technique will then be compared to standard MRI techniques to demonstrate superiority. Dr. Ver Hoef will have close mentorship under experts in both biomedical engineering and clinical neuroimaging.

Public Health Relevance

This project will develop a specialized MRI technique that will generate very high resolution images of a part of the brain called the hippocampus. This technique will allow us to detect fine anatomic abnormalities of the hippocampus that may be seen in patients with severe epilepsy so that those patients can be directed to surgery to potentially cure their epilepsy. This technique may also help in research of other illnesses that nvolve the hippocampus such as Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZEB1-OSR-E (O1))
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Erim, Zeynep
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University of Alabama Birmingham
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Haritha, Abhishek T; Wood, Kimberly H; Ver Hoef, Lawrence W et al. (2013) Human trace fear conditioning: right-lateralized cortical activity supports trace-interval processes. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 13:225-37
Ver Hoef, Lawrence W; Paige, A LeBron; Riley, Kristen O et al. (2013) Evaluating hippocampal internal architecture on MRI: inter-rater reliability of a proposed scoring system. Epilepsy Res 106:146-54
Ver Hoef, Lawrence W; Williams, Frank B; Kennedy, Richard E et al. (2013) Predictive value of hippocampal internal architecture asymmetry in temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy Res 106:155-63