Robert Bartha


 Professor, Department of Medical Biophysics, Western University
 Director Imaging Research Laboratories at Robarts Research Institute

bartha-crop.jpg
Degree: Ph.D. Medical Biophysics (Western University), B. Sc. Physics  University of Waterloo
Email: rbartha@robarts.ca
Phone: 519.661.2111
X 24039
Office: RRI 1250E
Website:  www.brain-mri-lab.com

  

Dr. Robert Bartha is Professor of Medical Biophysics at Western University, with cross appointments in Medical Imaging and Psychiatry.  He is also a Scientist in the Imaging Research Group at the Robarts Research Institute where his research has focused on the development of high-field magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy methods for the early diagnosis of disease and monitoring of treatment response; specifically related to neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, concussion, spinal cord compression, and brain cancer.  Dr. Bartha specializes in ultra high magnetic field imaging utilizing a 7 Tesla human MRI scanner, the only one of its kind in Canada, as well as 3 Tesla human and 9.4 Tesla small animal MRI scanners at the Western Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping.  Dr. Bartha’s research is focused on identifying specific imaging biomarkers of disease progression and building novel MRI tracers that highlight pathological aspects of a disease process.  His work is highly interdisciplinary involving collaboration with chemists, cell biologists, and physicians.  These collaborations have lead to the develop of new imaging contrasts sensitive to physiological conditions such as temperature and pH, new contrast agents targeted to specific proteases upregulated in Alzheimer disease and cancer, and to validate new endogenous metabolic and anatomical biomarkers of disease progression in subjects with Alzheimer disease and brain cancer.  Dr. Bartha heads an exciting team that includes research associates, post-doctoral fellows, technicians, and students, with expertise in imaging, physics, and biology.

Research Summary

Research is focused on the development of high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy techniques for early diagnosis of disease and monitoring of treatment response. We use primarily 3.0 Tesla and 7.0 Tesla human MRI scanners as well as a 9.4 Tesla small bore MRI scanner all at Robarts Research Institute. The group develops new methods for imaging structural and metabolic tissue changes, but also applies these new methods to the study of disease such as Alzheimer disease, stroke, and cancer. A major goal is to validate new imaging biomarkers of disease progression and build novel MRI tracers that highlight pathological aspects of a disease process. These studies involve a highly integrated team with expertise in physics, chemistry, cell biology, and medicine. Physiological and metabolic biomarkers of disease progression may have greater sensitivity to tissue damage than the imaging of structural changes.

Research Questions

Can Alzheimer disease be detected by MRI before subjects begin to experience cognitive decline?

Early detection of Alzheimer disease before brain damage has occurred.
Monitoring of treatment response in Alzheimer disease.

Do metabolic changes in the brain precede structural changes induced by disease?

Early detection of Alzheimer disease and cancer , evaluation of tissue viability in acute stroke.

Development of new targeted MRI contrast agents to image specific disease processes.

Widespread applications in many diseases including cancer, Alzheimer disease, and stroke.