Lundbeck Foundation Ascending Investigator Grant 2023 awarded to Professor Sarang Dalal
CFIN Professor Sarang Dalal has received a Lundbeck Foundation Ascending Investigator Grant 2023 for: "Optically-pumped Magnetometry for in Utero Measurement of developing brain function (OptiMUM)"
Optically-pumped Magnetometry for in Utero Measurement of developing brain function (OptiMUM)
Obstetricians and neuroscientists sorely lack direct measures of a developing baby's brain function during pregnancy. Fetal magnetoencephalography (MEG) can measure the faint magnetic signals of the fetal brain with sensors over the pregnant mother’s abdomen, but until now, has only been available in two labs worldwide due to the expense of the specialized system needed for it.
Now, MEG in adults and children is being revolutionized by a cost-effective new technology, optically pumped magnetometers (OPMs). Together with fetal medicine specialist Dr. Lars Henning Pedersen at Aarhus University Hospital, Prof. Dalal recently demonstrated for the first time that these same OPM-MEG systems can also detect fetal MEG, thereby standing to make fetal MEG far more widely available.
This project aims to now develop OPM-based fetal MEG into a robust tool for measuring brain activity from the human fetus, across both healthy and high-risk pregnancies. This would finally give obstetricians a practical means to directly evaluate fetal brain activity when the nervous system is at risk and allow deeper insight into how our brains begin to function already in the womb. In addition to Dr. Pedersen, Prof. Dalal will cooperate with ultrasound image processing expert Prof. Ana Namburete at the University of Oxford and fetal MEG pioneer Prof. Hubert Preissl at the University of Tübingen.
The Lundbeck Foundation Ascending Investigator Grant 2023 is DKK 5,119,830
Professor Sarang S. Dalal