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École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Fundamentals of Biomedical Imaging: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne via edX


This physics course covers the physical principles of major in vivo bio-imaging modalities.

This course will focus on magnetic resonance imaging, also known as an MRI. In the first part of the course, the dynamic of spins in a magnetic field is described, leading to the essential notions of magnetic resonance (MR), excitation and relaxation. We will also discuss the basic mechanisms of image reconstruction, MR spectroscopy and functional MRI.

You will learn how existing physical principles transcend into bio-imaging and establish an important link into life sciences, illustrating the contributions physics can make to life sciences. Practical examples will be shown to illustrate the respective imaging modality, its use, premise and limitations, and biological safety will be touched upon.

During this course, you will develop a good understanding of the mechanisms leading to tissue contrast of the bio-imaging modalities covered in this course, including the inner workings of the scanner and how they define the range of possible biomedical applications. You will be able to judge which imaging modality is adequate for specific life science needs and to understand the limits and promises of each modality.


  1. Introduction to biological magnetic resonance (MR) - Boltzmann distribution, from spins to magnetization
  2. Excitation of spins, Relaxation, the Basis of MR contrast (The Bloch Equations)
  3. MR spectroscopy
  4. From Fourier to image: principles of MR image formation, k-space - echo formation
  5. Basic MRI contrast mechanisms, BOLD fMRI, contrast agents
  6. Advanced contrast mechanisms & overview of imaging modalities

Taught by

Rolf Gruetter


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  • Profile image for Hossam Abd El Latif
    Hossam Abd El Latif

    Hossam Abd El Latif is taking this course right now, spending 7 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This site is very good to teach MRI with easy so I, M so happy because I need to be agoog technologist in MRI and thank you for everyone can help me

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