I use MRI scanners to image the human brain. Since these scanners don't use radiation like CT scanners or X-ray machines, we can scan people – even babies – multiple times. My main research focus is to develop and use new methods to get sharper images and detailed maps of the brain.

I use these techniques for the diagnosis and investigation of concussion, for instance. We have scanned young ice hockey players before and after concussion and we were able to measure the changes in their brains due to concussion.

We also investigate what happens to the MRI signal when the myelin in the brain is damaged. Myelin is the insulator around the nerve fibres. Damage to the myelin due to injury or disease leads to impairment of the brain and has serious consequences for patients. We develop MRI methods for the measurement of myelin damage and repair. These methods allow earlier and better diagnoses of diseases and help medical doctors to initiate the right treatment as early as possible.


What Have We Learned from Perfusion MRI in Multiple Sclerosis?
American Journal of Neuroradiology
E. Lapointe, D.K.B. Li, A.L. Traboulsee, A. Rauscher
DOI: 10.3174/ajnr.A5504

Cerebral Microbleeds: A Call for Standardized Advanced Neuroimaging
American Journal of Neuroradiology
A. Rauscher, G.-Y.R. Hsiung, A.A. Sepehry
DOI: 10.3174/ajnr.A5323

Cover Image, Volume 30, Issue 8
NMR in Biomedicine
Vanessa Wiggermann, Simon Hametner, Enedino Hernández-Torres, Christian Kames, Verena Endmayr, Gregor Kasprian, Romana Höftberger, David K.B. Li, Anthony Traboulsee, Alexander Rauscher
DOI: 10.1002/nbm.3645

Susceptibility-sensitive MRI of multiple sclerosis lesions and the impact of normal-appearing white matter changes
NMR in Biomedicine
Vanessa Wiggermann, Simon Hametner, Enedino Hernández-Torres, Christian Kames, Verena Endmayr, Gregor Kasprian, Romana Höftberger, David K.B. Li, Anthony Traboulsee, Alexander Rauscher
DOI: 10.1002/nbm.3727

Microbleeds in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Neuropsychological Overview and Meta-Analysis
Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences / Journal Canadien des Sciences Neurologiques
Amir A. Sepehry, Alexander Rauscher, Ging-Yuek Hsiung, Donna J. Lang
DOI: 10.1017/cjn.2016.296

Subcortical grey matter alterations in cocaine dependent individuals with substance-induced psychosis compared to non-psychotic cocaine users.
Willi TS, Lang DJ, Honer WG, Smith GN, Thornton AE, Panenka WJ, Procyshyn RM, Vila-Rodriguez F, Su W, Vertinsky AT, Leonova O, Rauscher A, MacEwan GW, Barr AM
PubMed: 27499362

RE: Elucidating Pretreatment Cognitive Impairment in Breast Cancer Patients: The Impact of Cancer-Related Post-traumatic Stress.
Sepehry AA, Tyldesley S, Davis MK, Simmons C, Rauscher A, Lang DJ
DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djw048
PubMed: 27075855

Operationalizing Neuroimaging for Disorders of Consciousness: The Canadian Context.
Illes J, Owen AM, Byram AC, MCS Neuroimaging Workgroup
DOI: 10.1017/cjn.2015.395
PubMed: 26842547

Anisotropic cerebral vascular architecture causes orientation dependency in cerebral blood flow and volume measured with dynamic susceptibility contrast magnetic resonance imaging.
Hernández-Torres E, Kassner N, Forkert ND, Wei L, Wiggermann V, Daemen M, Machan L, Traboulsee A, Li D, Rauscher A
PubMed: 27259344

Quantifying visual pathway axonal and myelin loss in multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica
NeuroImage: Clinical
Praveena Manogaran, Irene M. Vavasour, Alex P. Lange, Yinshan Zhao, Katrina McMullen, Alexander Rauscher, Robert Carruthers, David K.B. Li, Anthony L. Traboulsee, Shannon H. Kolind
DOI: 10.1016/j.nicl.2016.05.014

Reduced Myelin Water in the White Matter Tracts of Patients with Niemann-Pick Disease Type C.
Davies-Thompson J, Vavasour I, Scheel M, Rauscher A, Barton JJ
PubMed: 26939636

FLAIR2: A Combination of FLAIR and T2 for Improved MS Lesion Detection.
Wiggermann V, Hernández-Torres E, Traboulsee A, Li DK, Rauscher A
DOI: 10.3174/ajnr.A4514
PubMed: 26450539

Prevalence of Brain Microbleeds in Alzheimer Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Influence of Neuroimaging Techniques.
Sepehry AA, Lang D, Hsiung GY, Rauscher A
DOI: 10.3174/ajnr.A4525
PubMed: 26635284

Characterization of white matter integrity deficits in cocaine-dependent individuals with substance-induced psychosis compared with non-psychotic cocaine users.
Willi TS, Barr AM, Gicas K, Lang DJ, Vila-Rodriguez F, Su W, Thornton AE, Leonova O, Giesbrecht CJ, Procyshyn RM, Rauscher A, MacEwan WG, Honer WG, Panenka WJ
DOI: 10.1111/adb.12363
PubMed: 26833821

Corticospinal tract integrity measured using transcranial magnetic stimulation and magnetic resonance imaging in neuromyelitis optica and multiple sclerosis.
Manogaran P, Vavasour I, Borich M, Kolind SH, Lange AP, Rauscher A, Boyd L, Li DK, Traboulsee A
DOI: 10.1177/1352458515579441
PubMed: 25948623

Motor Skill Acquisition Promotes Human Brain Myelin Plasticity.
Lakhani B, Borich MR, Jackson JN, Wadden KP, Peters S, Villamayor A, MacKay AL, Vavasour IM, Rauscher A, Boyd LA
DOI: 10.1155/2016/7526135
PubMed: 27293906

Myelin Water Fraction Is Transiently Reduced after a Single Mild Traumatic Brain Injury--A Prospective Cohort Study in Collegiate Hockey Players.
Wright AD, Jarrett M, Vavasour I, Shahinfard E, Kolind S, van Donkelaar P, Taunton J, Li D, Rauscher A
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150215
PubMed: 26913900

A Prospective Pilot Investigation of Brain Volume, White Matter Hyperintensities, and Hemorrhagic Lesions after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.
Jarrett M, Tam R, Hernández-Torres E, Martin N, Perera W, Zhao Y, Shahinfard E, Dadachanji S, Taunton J, Li DK, Rauscher A
DOI: 10.3389/fneur.2016.00011
PubMed: 26903944

Changes in cerebral vascular reactivity and structure following prolonged exposure to high altitude in humans.
Foster GE, Davies-Thompson J, Dominelli PB, Heran MK, Donnelly J, duManoir GR, Ainslie PN, Rauscher A, Sheel AW
DOI: 10.14814/phy2.12647
PubMed: 26660556

Trajectories of subcortical iron accumulation in MS.
Rovira À, Wiggermann V, Rauscher A
DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001691
PubMed: 25979699

Mortality from treatable illnesses in marginally housed adults: a prospective cohort study.
Jones AA, Vila-Rodriguez F, Leonova O, Langheimer V, Lang DJ, Barr AM, Procyshyn RM, Smith GN, Schultz K, Buchanan T, Krausz M, Montaner JS, MacEwan GW, Rauscher A, Panenka WJ, Thornton AE, Honer WG
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008876
PubMed: 26297373

Orientation Dependent MR Signal Decay Differentiates between People with MS, Their Asymptomatic Siblings and Unrelated Healthy Controls.
Hernández-Torres E, Wiggermann V, Hametner S, Baumeister TR, Sadovnick AD, Zhao Y, Machan L, Li DK, Traboulsee A, Rauscher A
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0140956
PubMed: 26489078

Increased spinal cord movements in cervical spondylotic myelopathy
The Spine Journal
DOI: 10.1016/j.spinee.2014.01.036

A prospective study of the influence of acute alcohol intoxication versus chronic alcohol consumption on outcome following traumatic brain injury.
Lange RT, Shewchuk JR, Rauscher A, Jarrett M, Heran MK, Brubacher JR, Iverson GL
DOI: 10.1093/arclin/acu027
PubMed: 24964748

Prevalence of extracranial venous narrowing on catheter venography in people with multiple sclerosis, their siblings, and unrelated healthy controls: a blinded, case-control study.
Traboulsee AL, Knox KB, Machan L, Zhao Y, Yee I, Rauscher A, Klass D, Szkup P, Otani R, Kopriva D, Lala S, Li DK, Sadovnick D
DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61747-X
PubMed: 24119384

To exclude or not to exclude: further examination of the influence of white matter hyperintensities in diffusion tensor imaging research.
Lange RT, Shewchuk JR, Heran MK, Rauscher A, Jarrett M, Brubacher JR, Iverson GL
DOI: 10.1089/neu.2013.2866
PubMed: 23952763

Magnetic resonance frequency shifts during acute MS lesion formation.
Wiggermann V, Hernández Torres E, Vavasour IM, Moore GR, Laule C, MacKay AL, Li DK, Traboulsee A, Rauscher A
DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31829bfd63
PubMed: 23761621

Evaluation of white matter myelin water fraction in chronic stroke.
Borich MR, Mackay AL, Vavasour IM, Rauscher A, Boyd LA
DOI: 10.1016/j.nicl.2013.04.006
PubMed: 24179808

A prospective study of physician-observed concussion during a varsity university hockey season: white matter integrity in ice hockey players. Part 3 of 4.
Koerte IK, Kaufmann D, Hartl E, Bouix S, Pasternak O, Kubicki M, Rauscher A, Li DK, Dadachanji SB, Taunton JA, Forwell LA, Johnson AM, Echlin PS, Shenton ME
DOI: 10.3171/2012.10.FOCUS12303
PubMed: 23199426

Rapid whole cerebrum myelin water imaging using a 3D GRASE sequence.
Prasloski T, Rauscher A, MacKay AL, Hodgson M, Vavasour IM, Laule C, Mädler B
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.06.064
PubMed: 22776448

Bilateral filtering of magnetic resonance phase images.
McPhee KC, Denk C, Al-Rekabi Z, Rauscher A
DOI: 10.1016/j.mri.2011.03.009
PubMed: 21664782

The influence of white matter fibre orientation on MR signal phase and decay.
Denk C, Hernandez Torres E, MacKay A, Rauscher A
DOI: 10.1002/nbm.1581
PubMed: 21404336

Susceptibility weighted imaging with multiple echoes.
Denk C, Rauscher A
DOI: 10.1002/jmri.21995
PubMed: 20027586

Localization of the subthalamic nucleus: optimization with susceptibility-weighted phase MR imaging.
Vertinsky AT, Coenen VA, Lang DJ, Kolind S, Honey CR, Li D, Rauscher A
DOI: 10.3174/ajnr.A1669
PubMed: 19509077

ToF-SWI: simultaneous time of flight and fully flow compensated susceptibility weighted imaging.
Deistung A, Dittrich E, Sedlacik J, Rauscher A, Reichenbach JR
DOI: 10.1002/jmri.21673
PubMed: 19472425

Phase unwrapping of MR images using Phi UN--a fast and robust region growing algorithm.
Witoszynskyj S, Rauscher A, Reichenbach JR, Barth M
DOI: 10.1016/j.media.2008.10.004
PubMed: 19070532

MR relaxation in multiple sclerosis.
MacKay AL, Vavasour IM, Rauscher A, Kolind SH, Mädler B, Moore GR, Traboulsee AL, Li DK, Laule C
DOI: 10.1016/j.nic.2008.09.007
PubMed: 19064196

Quantification of modulated blood oxygenation levels in single cerebral veins by investigating their MR signal decay.
Sedlacik J, Rauscher A, Reichenbach JR
DOI: 10.1016/j.zemedi.2008.07.005
PubMed: 19459585

Susceptibility weighted imaging at ultra high magnetic field strengths: theoretical considerations and experimental results.
Deistung A, Rauscher A, Sedlacik J, Stadler J, Witoszynskyj S, Reichenbach JR
DOI: 10.1002/mrm.21754
PubMed: 18956467

Improved elimination of phase effects from background field inhomogeneities for susceptibility weighted imaging at high magnetic field strengths.
Rauscher A, Barth M, Herrmann KH, Witoszynskyj S, Deistung A, Reichenbach JR
DOI: 10.1016/j.mri.2008.01.029
PubMed: 18524525

Investigation of the influence of carbon dioxide concentrations on cerebral physiology by susceptibility-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (SWI).
Sedlacik J, Kutschbach C, Rauscher A, Deistung A, Reichenbach JR
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.07.008
PubMed: 18678260

Investigations on the effect of caffeine on cerebral venous vessel contrast by using susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) at 1.5, 3 and 7 T.
Sedlacik J, Helm K, Rauscher A, Stadler J, Mentzel HJ, Reichenbach JR
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.11.046
PubMed: 18226553

Informatics in Radiology: GUIBOLD: a graphical user interface for image reconstruction and data analysis in susceptibility-weighted MR imaging.
Deistung A, Rauscher A, Sedlacik J, Witoszynskyj S, Reichenbach JR
DOI: 10.1148/rg.283075715
PubMed: 18480476

Obtaining blood oxygenation levels from MR signal behavior in the presence of single venous vessels.
Sedlacik J, Rauscher A, Reichenbach JR
DOI: 10.1002/mrm.21283
PubMed: 17969121

Detection of multiple intracranial hemorrhages in a child with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) by susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI).
Kullnig PE, Rauscher A, Witoszynskyj S, Deistung A, Kentouche K, Reichenbach JR, Mentzel HJ, Kaiser WA
DOI: 10.2484/rcr.v2i4.135
PubMed: 27303498

Contrast-enhanced, high-resolution, susceptibility-weighted magnetic resonance imaging of the brain: dose-dependent optimization at 3 tesla and 1.5 tesla in healthy volunteers.
Noebauer-Huhmann IM, Pinker K, Barth M, Mlynarik V, Ba-Ssalamah A, Saringer WF, Weber M, Benesch T, Witoszynskyj S, Rauscher A, Reichenbach JR, Trattnig S
DOI: 10.1097/01.rli.0000188360.24222.5e
PubMed: 16481907

Susceptibility weighted imaging: data acquisition, image reconstruction and clinical applications.
Rauscher A, Sedlacik J, Deistung A, Mentzel HJ, Reichenbach JR
DOI: 10.1078/0939-3889-00322
PubMed: 17216749

Demonstration of paramagnetic and diamagnetic cerebral lesions by using susceptibility weighted phase imaging (SWI).
Deistung A, Mentzel HJ, Rauscher A, Witoszynskyj S, Kaiser WA, Reichenbach JR
DOI: 10.1078/0939-3889-00324
PubMed: 17216751

High resolution susceptibility weighted MR-imaging of brain tumors during the application of a gaseous agent.
Rauscher A, Sedlacik J, Fitzek C, Walter B, Hochstetter A, Kalff R, Kaiser WA, Reichenbach JR
DOI: 10.1055/s-2005-858428
PubMed: 16021537

Nonnvasive assessment of vascular architecture and function during modulated blood oxygenation using susceptibility weighted magnetic resonance imaging.
Rauscher A, Sedlacik J, Barth M, Haacke EM, Reichenbach JR
DOI: 10.1002/mrm.20520
PubMed: 15968657

Subtraction of in-phase and opposed-phase images in dynamic MR mammography.
Reichenbach JR, Hopfe J, Rauscher A, Wurdinger S, Kaiser WA
DOI: 10.1002/jmri.20316
PubMed: 15834904

Application of an exogenous hyperoxic contrast agent in MR mammography: initial results.
Fischer DR, Reichenbach JR, Rauscher A, Sedlacik J, Kaiser WA
DOI: 10.1007/s00330-004-2484-0
PubMed: 15449007

Magnetic susceptibility-weighted MR phase imaging of the human brain.
Rauscher A, Sedlacik J, Barth M, Mentzel HJ, Reichenbach JR
PubMed: 15814914

Robust field map generation using a triple-echo acquisition.
Windischberger C, Robinson S, Rauscher A, Barth M, Moser E
DOI: 10.1002/jmri.20158
PubMed: 15390143

Optimized 3 T EPI of the amygdalae.
Robinson S, Windischberger C, Rauscher A, Moser E
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2003.12.048
PubMed: 15110010

Automated unwrapping of MR phase images applied to BOLD MR-venography at 3 Tesla.
Rauscher A, Barth M, Reichenbach JR, Stollberger R, Moser E
DOI: 10.1002/jmri.10346
PubMed: 12884329

Multi-echo GRE imaging of knee cartilage.
PubMed: 27564991


Magnetic Resonance Frequency Imaging of the Human Brain
The MRI signal can be compared to a lighthouse. At any given time, the lighthouse beam has a brightness and a direction. Conventional MRI deals mainly with the brightness of the signal and ignores the direction. We have shown that this direction information, which is related to the frequency of the signal, contains valuable information on structure and composition of biological tissues. My team and I use this frequency imaging approach for the characterization of changes in the brain at high resolution and with high sensitivity.

Concussion in young ice hockey players
The best way to study brain injury is to obtain data before and after injury for direct comparison. In humans, this can be done by following people who have a high risk of sustaining a brain injury. We worked with ice hockey players and scanned their brains at the beginning and at the end of the hockey season. The concussed athletes were scanned at three days, two weeks and two months after concussion.


NSERC Discovery Grant, Parkinson Foundation Pilot Grant, Milan and Maureen Ilich Foundation

Honours & Awards

Toshiba Award

CIHR New Investigator Award

London Drugs Award for Research Excellence in Radiology

Research Group Members

Vanessa Wiggermann, Doctoral Student
Alexander Weber, Postdoctoral Fellow
Enedino Hernandez-Torres, Postdoctoral Fellow
Mike Jarrett, Research Assistant
Christian Kames, Co-op Student
Andreas Schmidbauer, Student