Medical Physics Graduate Program Faculty

Nicola De Zanche

Nicola De Zanche, PhD, MCCPM, P Eng

Associate Professor, Division of Medical Physics, Department of Oncology, University of Alberta

Medical Physicist, Dept. of Medical Physics, CCI

Laurea (Electronic Engineering: Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy, 1996)
PhD (Medical Sciences and Electrical Engineering, University of Alberta, 2002)

Member: Canadian College of Physicists in Medicine

PEng: Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA)

Research Interests

Advanced MRI Techniques for MR-guided Radiation Treatment

The aim of this research is to utilize novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to generate the high-quality images that are needed to ensure that beams used for radiation therapy are steered with high precision. Accurate targeting ensures more effective killing of the tumour, while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. Current image-based approaches use computed tomography (CT) which is unable to distinguish between healthy and cancerous tissues as precisely as MRI, although it does a better job at locating bone which is required to make accurate predictions of radiation dose distribution. In this research program we use ultrashort-echo-time (UTE) MRI to visualize bone and other non-Cartesian acquisitions that minimize geometrical distortions that can limit the accuracy of the treatment.

High-density Receiver Coil Arrays for MRI

MRI array coils with large numbers of elements offer improvements in image quality (SNR) and acquisition speed (using parallel imaging techniques) over those from arrays with fewer elements. However, building such large arrays is a challenging task due to electromagnetic interactions between coils and between coils and respective cables. A large number of cables creates a potential safety hazard (power deposition, SAR) and contributes to "crosstalk" between the loops that reduces imaging performance. Furthermore, as the loop dimensions shrink the amplifiers connected to the loops are no longer ideal as current design methods assume. This research aims to optimize the performance of large arrays by focussing on the following methods:

  • characterization of preamplifier noise parameters
  • effects of coil overlap on image quality
  • improving coil design methods by incorporating preamplifier noise performance early on in the design process
  • using more mathematically "complete" arrangements of coils that capture all the information in RF magnetic field emitted by the nuclear spins
  • using fibre-optics to eliminate the problems caused a large number of cables.

Selected Publications

Jean-David Jutras, Keith Wachowicz, Guillaume Gilbert, Nicola De Zanche,
"SNR Efficiency of Combined Bipolar Gradient Echoes: Comparison of 3D FLASH, MPRAGE, and Multi-Parameter Mapping with VFA and MP2RAGE",
Magn. Reson. Med. (2016) (DOI:10.1002/mrm.26306).

Jean-David Jutras, Keith Wachowicz, Nicola De Zanche,
"Analytical Corrections of Banding Artifacts in Driven Equilibrium Single Pulse Observation of T2 (DESPOT2)",
Magn. Reson. Med. (DOI: 10.1002/mrm.26074)

Atefeh Kordzadeh, Nicola De Zanche,
"Permittivity Measurement of Liquids, Powders and Suspensions using a Parallel-Plate Cell",
Concepts in Magnetic Resonance part B: Magnetic Resonance Engineering 46(1): 19-24 (2016)

Adam M. Maunder, B. Gino Fallone, Mojgan Daneshmand, Nicola De Zanche,
"Experimental Verification of SNR and Parallel Imaging Improvements Using Composite Coil Arrays",
NMR Biomed. 2015 Feb;28(2):141-153. dio: 10.1002/nbm.3230. Epub 2014 Nov 11.
PubMed Link

Nicola De Zanche, Klaas P. Prüessmann,
"An Algebraic Method to Synthesize Specified Modal Currents in Ladder Resonators: Application to Non-circular Birdcage Coils",
Magn. Reson. Med. 75(5): 1470-1481(2015). (DOI:10.1002_mrm.25503).

Russell L. Lagore, Brodi Roduta Roberts, Cecilia Possanzini, Charles Saylor, B. Gino Fallone, Nicola De Zanche,
"A System for Automated Noise Parameter Measurements on MR Preamplifiers and Application to High B0 Fields".
NMR in Biomedicine 27(8): 926-938 (2014).

A.M. Maunder, M. Daneshmand, P. Mousavi, B.G. Fallone, Nicola De Zanche,
"Stray Capacitance between MRI Coil Elements: Models and Application to Array Decoupling",
IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, 61(12): 4667-4677 (2013)

J-D Jutras, B.G. Fallone, N. DeZanche,
"Efficient multichannel coil data compression: a prospective study for distributed detection in wireless high-density arrays,"
Concepts Magn. Reson., Part B 39B(2): 64-77 (2011).

M. Lamey, B. Burke, E. Blosser, S. Rathee, N. DeZanche, B.G. Fallone,
"Radiofrequency shielding for a linac-MRI system,"
Phys. Med. Biol., 55(4), pp. 995-1006(2010).
[Editor's Choice]

David O. Brunner, Nicola De Zanche, Jürg Fröhlich, Jan Paska, Klaas P. Prüssmann.
"Traveling-Wave Nuclear Magnetic Resonance."
Nature 457(7232): 994-998 (2009).

Nicola De Zanche, Navjeet Chhina, Kevin Teh, Chris Randell, Klaas P. Prüessmann, Jim M. Wild.
"Asymmetric Quadrature Split Birdcage Coil for Hyperpolarized 3He Lung MRI at 1.5T."
Magn. Reson. Med.60(2): 431-438 (2008).

Nicola De Zanche, Christoph Barmet, Jurek A. Massner, Klaas P. Prüssmann.
"NMR Probes for Measuring Magnetic Fields and Field Dynamics in MR Systems."
Magn. Reson. Med. 60(1): 176-186 (2008).

Nicola De Zanche, Jurek A. Massner, Christoph Leussler, Klaas P. Prüssmann.
"Modular Design of Receiver Coil Arrays."
NMR in Biomedicine 21(6): 644-654 (2008).

Nicola De Zanche, Atiyah Yahya, Fred. E. Vermeulen, and Peter S. Allen.
"An Analytical Approach to Non-circular Section Birdcage Coil Design: Verification with a Cassinian Oval Coil."
Magn. Reson. Med. 53(1): 201-211 (2005).

Nicola De Zanche, Peter S. Allen.
"Sensitivity Calculations and Comparisons for Shielded Elliptical and Circular Birdcage Coils."
Magn. Reson. Med. 47(2): 364-371 (2002).

Link to Pubmed Publications, Click Here

Google Scholar citations and h factor for Dr. De Zanche.

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