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Experimental Magnetic Resonance Imaging

We develop preclinical magnetic resonance imaging methods to study neurological disorders.

Researchgroup Boehm-Sturm am Schlaganfallcentrum der Charité Berliin

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) plays a major role in animal models of neurological disease, as it can spatially and temporally illustrate important biological processes in the same subject. For this purpose, we have established a dedicated laboratory for experimental MRI. Our main focus is quantitative MRI to develop biomarkers of neurological disease and for therapy evaluation. Using biophysical models, we try to establish a link between measured MRI parameters (e.g. change of water diffusion after a stroke) and important biological parameters (e.g. edema).


MRI of recovery after stroke

Deformation based morphometry to characterize edema and tissue swelling after stroke in the mouse.

The aim is to study several neuroprotective therapies using quantitative MRI in animal models. This includes

  • Measurement of morphological changes in the brain using atlas registration (voxel- / deformation-based morphometry)
  • Mapping behavioural data onto imaging data, e.g. lesion-symptom mapping, to explore the structural causes of recovery after stroke
  • Measurement of tissue oxygen saturation using 19F MRI
  • Measurement of changes in the structural and functional connectivity using DTI and resting state MRI

MRI of vascular function

High resolution MR angiography of the mouse cerebral vasculature, spatially registered to the Allen mouse brain atlas and compared to histology.

The aim is to characterize blood flow and vascular changes in animal models of cerebrovascular disorders using contrast-enhanced MRI (high-resolution angiography, DCE MRI, vessel size imaging). Investigations include the effects of therapies that stimulate vascular growth on the blood-brain barrier, cerebral blood flow and vascular density. High resolution MR angiography of the mouse cerebral vasculature, spatially registered to the Allen mouse brain atlas and compared to histology.

New contrast agents for MRIs

Dynamic contrast enhanced MRI in murine subcutaneous tumor model using a novel iron complex (Fe-tCDTA) in comparison to a traditional Gadolinium-based contrast agent (Gd-DTPA).

Goal of this line of research is to make the MRI signal more specific towards biological processes, e.g.

  • Iron-based contrast agents for DCE MRI with a potentially improved long-term toxicity profile as an alternative to gadolinium-based contrast agents
  • Calcium-sensitive contrast agents for functional MRI
  • Iron oxide- and fluorine 19-based contrast agents to detect inflammation

Selected publications

Hall GR*, Boehm-Sturm P*, Dirnagl U, Finke C, Foddis M, Harms C, Koch SP, Kuchling J, Madan CR, Mueller S, Sassi C, Sotiropoulos SN, Trueman RC, Wallis MD, Yildirim F, Farr TD. Long-Term Connectome Analysis Reveals Reshaping of Visual, Spatial Networks in a Model With Vascular Dementia Features. Stroke. 2022;53:1735–1745, ahead of print,

Boehm-Sturm P, Mueller S, Freitag N, Borowski S, Foddis M, Koch SP, Temme S, Flögel U, Blois SM. Phenotyping placental oxygenation in Lgals1 deficient mice using 19F MRI. Sci Rep. 2021;11(1), doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-80408-9

Ray S, Li M, Koch SP, Mueller S, Boehm-Sturm P, Wang H, Brecht M, Naumann RK. Seasonal plasticity in the adult somatosensory cortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020;117(50):32136–32144,

Khalil AA, Mueller S, Foddis M, Mosch L, Lips J, Przesdzing I, Temme S, Flögel U, Dirnagl U, Boehm-Sturm P. Longitudinal 19F magnetic resonance imaging of brain oxygenation in a mouse model of vascular cognitive impairment using a cryogenic radiofrequency coil. MAGMA. 2019;32(1):105-114,

Koch S, Mueller S, Foddis M, Bienert T, von Elverfeldt D, Knab F, Farr TD, Bernard R, Dopatka M, Rex A, Dirnagl U, Harms C, Boehm-Sturm P. Atlas registration for edema-corrected MRI lesion volume in mouse stroke models. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2019;39(2):313-323. Cover page, doi: 10.1177/0271678X17726635

Boehm-Sturm P*, Haeckel A*, Hauptmann R*, Mueller S, Kuhl CK, Schellenberger EA. Low-Molecular-Weight Iron Chelates May Be an Alternative to Gadolinium-based Contrast Agents for T1-weighted Contrast-enhanced MR Imaging. Radiology. 2017;170116,

Boehm-Sturm P*, Füchtemeier M*, Foddis M, Mueller S, Trueman RC, Zille M, Rinnenthal JL, Kypraios T, Shaw L, Dirnagl U, Farr TD. Neuroimaging Biomarkers Predict Brain Structural Connectivity Change in a Mouse Model of Vascular Cognitive Impairment. Stroke. 2017;48(2):468–475, DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.116.014394

Farr TD, Lai C-H, Grünstein D, Orts-Gil G, Wang C-C, Boehm-Sturm P, Seeberger PH, Harms C. Imaging early endothelial inflammation following stroke by core shell silica superparamagnetic glyconanoparticles that target selectin. Nano Lett. 2014;14(4):2130–2134, doi: 10.1021/nl500388h

Boehm-Sturm P*, Aswendt M*, Minassian A, Michalk S, Mengler L, Adamczak J, Mezzanotte L, Löwik C, Hoehn M. A multi-modality platform to image stem cell graft survival in the naïve and stroke-damaged mouse brain. Biomaterials. 2014;35(7):2218–2226, DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.11.085

Boehm-Sturm P*, Farr TD*, Adamczak J, Jikeli JF, Mengler L, Wiedermann D, Kallur T, Kiselev V, Hoehn M. Vascular changes after stroke in the rat: a longitudinal study using optimized magnetic resonance imaging. Contrast Media Mol Imaging. 2013;8(5):383–392, DOI: 10.1002/cmmi.1534

Group Leader - Reserach Experimental MRI

Dr. Philipp Boehm-Sturm

Group Leader

CCM : Campus Charité Mitte

Team members