Our lab is committed to understanding diseases of blood vessels in the head and neck using new imaging techniques. We study a variety of diseases, including vasculitis, dissections and connective tissue disorders, but much of our work has targeted atherosclerotic plaque. An important goal of our lab has been to reduce the risk of stroke by understanding how atherosclerotic plaque forms and why it becomes unstable using high-resolution MRI scans of arteries in the head and neck.
We have developed and implemented MRI techniques in population-based studies (e.g., MESA, ARIC) for this purpose. For example, this was done in the MESA cohort and ARIC cohort to understand the risk factors for developing various components of carotid plaque, some of which we know can lead to stroke. A new 3-D MRI technique has more recently been developed and implemented in the ARIC cohort to study plaque forming in arteries in the head.
Through continued work with MRI and other new imaging tools we hope to further understand the basis of plaque development and disruption so we can work to prevent strokes and to gain new insight into the diagnosis and management of vascular diseases affecting blood vessels of the head and neck.