Research Group

Hyperpolarization and Metabolism

Group leader: Pernille Rose Jensen

Our aim is to advance non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging tools for studying metabolism in living biological systems.

Hyperpolarization allow real-time metabolic data to be measured in the intact living cell from cell to man on a whole new timescale. Hyperpolarized metabolic MR let us observe cellular intermediates in enzyme-catalyzed reactions and explain activity through entire metabolic pathways. These studies require novel instrumentation and methods.

We develop the spin physics theory of dissolution Dynamic Nuclear Polarization, design new electron paramagnetic agents and characterize the physical chemistry. Hyperpolarized metabolic MR imposes new challenges on the detection hardware and unconventional acquisition strategies to reach the ultimate limit of sensitivity. We thus develop MR coils and pulse sequences to measure the far out-of-equilibrium, transient, nuclear spin states.

Our research activities within hyperpolarization are organized in Center for Hyperpolarization in Magnetic Resonance (HYPERMAG), a Center of Excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation, committed to studying basic research questions of nuclear spin hyperpolarization, exploiting the enormous enhancement of the MR signal.

In recent years, our research has taken us in two main application directions; studies aimed at understanding the importance of metabolism in the declining human brain and holistic studies of the metabolic crosstalk between pathogens and the human gut. We have one of the worlds most advanced facilities for research into real-time metabolism using hyperpolarization by dDNP with several polarizers operating at high magnetic field and low temperature, state-of-the-art NMR spectrometers, and to be installed in 2021, a clinical MR scanner. The center is further funded by grants from the Danish research councils, private foundations, and the ERC.

Visit the HYPERMAG site for a detailed description of facilities and activities.