The School of Medicine recently hosted the 27th annual ERMI (Erasmus Courses on Magnetic Resonance Imaging) event at Ninewells, which was attended by a number of delegates from across the globe. Here, course co-ordinator Dr Stephen Gandy shares his round-up of the event...
The Erasmus Courses on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (EMRI) were formed in 1991, and as part of this a Basic MRI Physics module was formed as an educational resource for Radiology audiences. The course is run annually by one of five European Universities (Brussels, Cambridge, Dundee, Lodz and Madrid), and the 27th course was hosted by University of Dundee (25-29th September 2017).
The basic format consists of five days of lectures and Q/A tutorials on all aspects of MR physics - covering everything from basic NMR, T1 and T2, through to advanced neuro, body and cardiovascular MR physics. No prior experience of MR Physics is assumed, and the aim of the course is to start from the very basics and build on this to explain the physical principles that underpin modern day Clinical MRI. For the 2017 course a size limit of 26 delegates was set in order to provide an optimised environment for focused learning (including one-to-one tutorial discussions), and suitable opportunities for social networking.
For 2017 the teaching Faculty was from Dundee (Dr Stephen Gandy, Dr Stephen Nicholas, Dr Jennifer Macfarlane, Mr Lukasz Priba and Mr Matthew Marzetti), together with visiting guest lecturers from Cambridge (Dr Stephen Sawiak) and Brussels (Dr Peter Van Schuerbeek). The course proved to be very popular and all available places were filled three months prior to the event. Delegates from 11 nations were present, with the majority visiting from European countries. However this year the course also took on a wider international flavour, with visitors attending from Peru, Kenya, Jordan and even Australia. Delegates were from a variety of disciplines, including Clinical Radiology, Medical Physics, Radiography and scientific university departments.
In addition to the standard course programme, a lunchtime sponsor’s symposium was delivered by Dr Jan Endrikat from Bayer – providing delegates with a summary of the current status of MR safety awareness associated with gadolinium accumulation in the brain. On the final day of the course all delegates completed a short examination consisting of MR physics questions based on the material covered during the week. Each delegate was subsequently awarded an Erasmus certificate of completion along with 32 European Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits.
Two major social activities took place during the week to help delegates unwind after the day of MR physics. A welcome drinks reception was held on Monday 25th September 2017 on the Royal Research Ship ‘Discovery’ (used by Captain Scott’s Antarctic expeditions in 1901), where delegates and members of the faculty were able to enjoy a glass of wine whilst sitting at the dining table of the ship (see photograph). Additionally, the course social dinner was held later during the week at the highly acclaimed Seafood Restaurant in the University town of St Andrews.
The feedback received by course delegates has been very positive, with Radiologist attendees reporting a better understanding of how the physics of MRI translates to their image observations in clinical practice. Radiographer delegates were particularly interested to hear how the various MR pulse sequences work and how changes to the various sequence parameters would affect their images in terms of contrast, quality and timing.
Next year the 2018 course will be hosted by Brussels and details will be available on the EMRI course website soon. For anybody interested in attending next year it is recommended that you register your interest as soon as possible to secure your place on this popular course.