The Michigan Engineer News Center

Gopal Nataraj earns Best Paper Award for improving MRI

Nataraj is using big data techniques to transform the field of medical imaging| Short Read
EnlargeGopal Nataraj

Gopal Nataraj, a doctoral student in ECE, earned a Best Student Paper award at the 2017 IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging for his paper “Dictionary-Free MRI Parameter Estimation Via Kernel Ridge Regression.” The paper was chosen among 11 finalists from the many student first-authored submissions, and his prize included an NVidia Titan X GPU and a gift card.

Gopal is working to improve the sensitivity of MRIs to specific disorders as well as improving doctors’ ability to distinguish closely-related disorders. He intends to do this while acquiring the data as quickly as other fast, yet less reliable, methods of MRI. His specific field of study is quantitative MRI (qMRI), which has the potential to be more informative than conventional MRI thanks to its use of spatially localized measurements of “biomarkers,” or physical parameters of direct clinical significance.

Nataraj has created an approach using big data techniques that may completely transform the field of quantitative MRI. With these improvements, he hopes that this relatively safe diagnostic tool will be used even more broadly by the medical community.

Gopal Nataraj received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, and his master’s degree in Electrical Engineering:Systems from the University of Michigan in 2014. He is a member of Prof. Jeffrey Fessler’s research group, and is co-advised by Prof. Fessler and Dr. Jon-Fredrik Nielsen, a research scientist in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Read more: Gopal previously earned a Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship for this research.

Gopal Nataraj
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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

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