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Cardiff brain expertise recognised

03 April 2008

Cardiff University research to improve knowledge of the structure and function of the human brain has been recognised with an award.

Dr Alexander Leemans, from Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC), has won first prize in the General Electric (GE) Brain Expert competition. The results were announced at the European Congress of Radiology.

Using a recently developed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique called 'diffusion tensor imaging', scientists can investigate in incredible detail the organisation of the brain’s white matter (which acts as the 'wiring' of the central nervous system).

Dr Leemans’ winning research examined methods to improve the reliability of the information extracted from the data acquired. In particular he looked at the difficulties caused by head motion that occurs during scanning.

Dr Leemans, School of Psychology said: "A scan can take up to 20 minutes - so lying still while acquiring the data is not trivial. To mitigate this adverse effect motion correction methods can be applied after scanning. This project investigated the effect of neglecting an important reorientation step while correcting for such a head motion. Although many research groups omit the reorientation step, our work shows that it could have potentially serious consequences for example in surgical planning."

Professor Derek Jones, Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre said: "Dr Leemans’ work exemplifies CUBRIC’s principal aim of developing robust methods for improved assessment of brain structure and function putting Cardiff, and Wales, at the international forefront of developments in brain imaging."


Notes to Editors:

1. A photo of Dr Alexander Leemans is available from the Public Relations Office, 029 20874499.

The prize of €5,000 to promote innovative research was sponsored by GE Healthcare.

2. Cardiff School of Psychology

The School of Psychology is one of Britain top-rated schools of psychology, it being the first to achieve the double accolade of the highest grade of merit for both research and teaching. In an independent assessment of teaching, conducted by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales it was rated ‘Excellent’, and in the latest Research Assessment Exercise it was awarded the highest level of distinction, Grade 5A, indicating research of a uniform international standard. The School is one of the largest Schools of psychology in the United Kingdom.

More information on The Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) at:

3. Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities. It is also ranked as one of the world’s top 100 universities by the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES).

2008 marks the 125th anniversary of Cardiff University having been founded by Royal Charter in 1883. Today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading research universities.

Visit the University website at:

Further Information:

Emma Darling

Public Relations Office,

Cardiff University

Tel: 029 2087 4499


Dr Alexander Leemans

Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre

School of Psychology

Tel: (0)29 208 70354