From the Brain to the Spine

14 April 2020

The subject for Lasse Knudsen’s master’s thesis is to investigate a method to scan the area in the brain that transmits the motoric output, i.e. the activity from the brain to the spine.

As a second-year student at the Master’s degree programme in Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, Lasse Knudsen began to work on his thesis in September 2019 at the Institute of Biophysics, CAS in Beijing, where he is investigating if a specific MR scanner, a so-called 7 Tesla MRI scanner, can be used to measure the motoric output from the brain.

Currently, there are no valid methods to investigate the motoric output without surgery, where you open the cranium. If we can validate the scanning method, we can use the MR scanner to e.g. diagnose ALS patients and monitor different treatments because the area in the brain that transmits the motoric output, is the area where ALS patients’ brain cells die, thus causing mobility problems’, Lasse Knudsen explains.

The special thing about the 7 Tesla MRI scanner is that it has an extra strong magnet for exceptional images.

It is a very expensive machine to use. There is only one of its kind in all of Denmark and as a as graduate student I would probably not be able to work with it. So, it is a huge opportunity for me to be able to work with it in China and gather valuable experience’, Lasse Knudsen says.

Alongside his thesis, Lasse Knudsen is working on PhD applications, because he hopes to be able to continue studying the MR scanning method after he graduates from SDC.