Daniel Harrison and Seongjin Choi research

Principal Investigator: Daniel M. Harrison, MD

Better diagnostic and prognostic tools will lead to improved treatments of multiple sclerosis (MS).

This is the premise behind the work of Dr. Daniel Harrison’s team of researchers, who come from varying disciplines, in their study of imaging technologies and techniques in MS.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has spurred dramatic improvements in the understanding of multiple sclerosis, the ability to diagnose it and monitor treatment. However, clinical MRI does not show the entire picture.

Clinical MRI focuses on inflammatory white matter pathology in MS. In autopsies of MS patients’ brains, in addition to these white matter lesions, we see many other changes that occur as a consequence of MS. Unfortunately, many of these changes are not readily visible on standard MRI.

MS patients can develop lesions in gray matter structures, including the cortex and deep gray matter. Lesions may also have low-grade, chronic, smoldering inflammation at their outer rims. The brains and spinal cords of MS patients may also undergo chronic, degenerative changes. The tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord (the meninges) also show signs of inflammation.

Because standard MRI does not easily detect these changes, it is unclear if current MS treatments curb these issues.

We need your support to keep the MS research team at the University of Maryland working on groundbreaking discoveries.

Goals and Focus of our MS Research

The University of Maryland Multiple Sclerosis Neuroimaging and Biomarker Research Group works toward advancing treatment through MS research that leads to more effective imaging and better quantification of: 

  • Damage to the gray matter structures of the brain (cortex, deep gray nuclei) and spinal cord 
  • Remyelination after damage occurs
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Meningeal inflammation and its effects on the brain and spinal cord
  • Differentiation of old, inactive lesions from lesions undergoing chronic inflammation and demyelination

We are exploring new MRI techniques and technologies, including:

  • Magnetic susceptibility-based sequences and high-resolution anatomic images from ultra-high field 7 Tesla (7T) MRI
  • Metabolic and diffusion-based sequences on high gradient 3 Tesla (3T) MRI 
  • Eye scanning technologies, such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) and Adaptive Optics (AO)
  • Blood and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers
  • Machine learning algorithms 

Read publications from Our MS Research