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Dr David Thomas
Neuroradiological Academic Unit
Department of Brain Repair & Rehabilitation
UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
Dr David Thomas profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • Brain Repair & Rehabilitation
  • UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

I am a physicist working on the development of advanced MRI techniques, with a particular focus on brain imaging. My main research interests include both high resolution structural imaging of the brain at 3T and 7T, and the use of physiological MRI techniques such as arterial spin labeling (ASL), fMRI, and chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST), to measure brain function and how it changes during neurological diseases.


I have been a member of the Dementias Platform UK (DPUK) since it was established in 2014, and have made key contributions to designing the imaging protocols for major initiatives such as UK Biobank and the Deep and Frequent Phenotyping (D&FP) study. I am Co-chair of one of the DPUK Imaging Network Working Groups, and also involved with the EU Joint Program Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) Strategic Research Agenda. I am a member of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and served on the ISMRM Subcommittee for the Young Investigator Award from 2016-19. Between 2014-19, I was the principal MR physicist for the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre at Queen Square, which is a dedicated specialist centre for the conduct of first-in-human studies of novel treatments of neurodegenerative diseases, using imaging to non-invasively assess and monitor the efficacy of these novel therapies. Prior to this post, I held a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship (2005-2009) and was a senior lecturer at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology (2010-2013). I have supervised >10 PhD students to completion, and am a module convener for the MSc in Advanced Neuroimaging at IoN.


Currently I work with the Dementia Research Centre and the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging at Queen Square, developing advanced MRI methods for application to dementia. I am a peer mentor on the UCL uMentor scheme, and a strong advocate of equality, diversity and inclusivity in academia and society.
Research Summary

My role is to:

  • Develop new MRI methods to image brain structure and physiology
  • Improve the accuracy and efficiency of current methods by optimising acquisition schemes and applying cutting-edge fast imaging techniques
  • Set up and optimise comprehensive MR imaging protocols for large multi-centre clinical studies and trials

Projects I’m currently working on include:

  • Development of Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL) methods for the measurement of cerebral perfusion in neurodegenerative disease
    • Clinical collaborator:  Prof Jonathan Schott
    • PhD student: Jack Highton, working on motion correction of ASL data using post-hoc image processing methods and machine learning
  • Harmonisation of MR imaging protocols for multi-centre dementia studies
    • Clinical collaborator:  Dr Jonathan Rohrer (GENFI)
    • Funding: ARUK Network Accelerate award
  • Optimisation of acquisition protocols at 3T and 7T for high resolution structural imaging of the brain
    • Collaborators: Profs Nick Fox, Cathy Price, Eleanor Maguire
    • Specific focus: hippocampal subfield imaging

Teaching Summary

I am Research Department Graduate Tutor for the Department of Brain Repair & Rehabilitation, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology. I also currently have the following teaching responsibilities:

M.Sc. in Advanced Neuroimaging, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Convener for Module P2: Imaging Modalities
  • Lectures
    • Why is MRI so popular? The MRI scanner and MR applications
    •  Imaging of Cerebral Perfusion

M.Sc in Dementia, , UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Coordinator for optional Neuroimaging module

M.Sc. in Advanced Biomedical Imaging, UCL CABI
  • Lecturer: Imaging in Dementia

01-JUN-2019 Principal Research Associate Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, United Kingdom
01-JAN-2014 – 31-MAY-2019 Principal Research Associate Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre UCL Institute of Neurology, United Kingdom
01-JUN-2010 – 31-DEC-2013 Senior Lecturer Brain Repair and Rehabilitation UCL Institute of Neurology, United Kingdom
01-JUN-2005 – 31-MAY-2010 Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow Medical Physics and Bioengineering UCL, United Kingdom
01-JAN-2000 – 31-MAY-2005 Senior Research Fellow Medical Physics and Bioengineering UCL, United Kingdom
Academic Background
1999   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
1995   Bachelor of Science (Honours) Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
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