Lay summary

Today, medical imaging for human brain studies, neuroimaging, is mostly dedicated to children and adults. Recent advances in clinical imaging of the fetus provide an unprecedented opportunity to image the process of human brain growth in utero.

Despite new fast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques allow high contrast imaging of fetal brain tissues, clinical acquisitions still have many critical limitations that restrain the use of computer-based methods for large-scale analysis. Consequently, the research project presented here is oriented to develop solid mathematical framework for the fetal MRI reconstruction as well as for robust and accurate segmentation methods of fetuses at second and third trimester of pregnancy.

The automated quantitative analysis of structural fetal MRI in this project will help addressing the fundamental neuroscience question of early brain development. Moreover, in a clinical perspective, our quantitative studies of fetal MRI will help to better characterize the timing and the nature of prenatal pathologies, like for instance ventriculomegaly or intra-uterine growth restriction.