Case study: Chris Mirfin

2015 CDT student Chris Mirfin is working on the deign of complex radio-frequency pulses for high-field MRI

Christopher is based at Nottingham University and has been assigned a co-supervisor from Philips Healthcare who has intimate knowledge and experience of the latest Philips hardware installations. This provides a natural pathway to commercialize successful research into clinical products in the coming years.


One of the crucial benefits of using higher magnetic field strengths for MRI is higher resolution images. The motivation behind Christopher’s PhD research is to address a fundamental barrier to the clinical translation of ultra-high field (7 Tesla) MRI, whereby multiple transmitter coils are needed to transmit energy into the patient to achieve a uniform image sensitivity.

Christopher came to the CDT already keen to work with an industrial partner, so this imaging physics project in collaboration with Philips, a world-leader in healthcare technologies, immediately appealed when it was offered as a potential project. Knowing from the start that he would want to continue this project to DPhil, he chose his other short project with an eye to improving his knowledge of image registration, a critical component of any image analysis pipeline. The project also requires him to draw on a range of training from his first year training, especially that on neural networks.

Christopher’s initial short project focused on the safety aspects of using multiple transmit coils and he has now moved on to examine how we can improve acquired images while ensuring patient safety. He says that one of the most satisfying aspects of his research is controlling state-of-the-art hardware, by designing customized software. The figure below is a screenshot from the software he has designed and built as part of his research (begun only in the summer of 2016).