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Aashley Sardjoe Mishre, MSc

Obesity is a main risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It has only recently been discovered that brown adipose tissue (BAT) plays an important role in energy metabolism in human adults. In contrast to the lipid storage function of white adipose tissue, brown adipose tissue oxidizes lipids. Therefore, activation of brown adipose tissue improves the metabolism of lipids and glucose and could provide therapeutic modalities for obese individuals and type 2 diabetes patients. Currently, BAT volume and activity are determined with PET-CT imaging as the gold standard. To this end, subjects are injected with a radioactive glucose analogue to visualize the glucose metabolism. However, this may result in a misjudgment of the BAT volume, since BAT combusts lipids rather than glucose. Other limitations of PET-CT imaging are radiation dependency and invasive administration of the radioactive tracer.

My research is focused on imaging of brown adipose tissue and its activity using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI is radiation free and is non-invasive. Due to the multimodal possibilities of MRI more information regarding the function and anatomy of BAT tissue can be extracted. Therefore, besides quantifying BAT volume, I aim to determine temperature increases and biochemical processes that occur due to activation of brown adipose tissue.