Magnetic Resonance Elastography of the Heart

Project Code: 23626

Faculty: Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Department: Anatomy

Main Supervisor: Professor Alistair Young

Application open date: 08 Jun 2015

Application deadline: 04 Jul 2018

Enrolment information: NZ Citizens, NZ Permanent Residents, International


Myocardial stiffness is a major determinant of heart function, with large changes in stiffness associated with heart failure. Understanding of this disease is limited by the difficulty in measuring intrinsic stiffness and contractility of myocardium.We have developed finite element analysis (FEA) methods for the evaluation of myocardial stiffness from magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) examinations. In this method, harmless sound waves are transmitted into the body and are imaged using MRI. However, the relationships between the resulting stiffness parameters and the underlying disease processes are not known. The purpose of this project is to develop new methods of estimating the stiffness and contractility of myocardium from MRE data, and to validate these methods in phantoms and patients with heart failure. Funding is available to support a PhD stipend plus fees and insurance for three years. 

What we are looking for in a successful applicant

Masters or honours degree in engineering or physics with strong skills in finite element modelling. 


The following hypotheses will be examined:

1. That anisotropic tissue stiffness and contractility parameters can be robustly identified from MRE evaluations.

2. That these properties change in HFPEF to the extent that robust non-invasive characterization of heart failure in patients is possible with this technique.



Other information

Funding is available to support a PhD stipend plus fees and insurance for three years.