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Silvia Capuani (PhD in Physics, Post Graduate degree in Medical Physics) is an experimental physicist working at the CNR where she has a Permanent Research position (Assistant Professor).Silvia Capuani headquarters is in Physics Department of Sapienza University of Rome, where she directs her own research group and holds a NMR laboratory called: “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Medical Physics Laboratory.
Her research interests include theoretical and experimental investigation of NMR Spectroscopy and Imaging of materials (confined water, porous systems) and living systems (ex-vivo tissues, in-vivo animal models,humans). Specifically, her research focuses on developing new NMR techniques and innovative NMR protocols with impact in clinical diagnostics and diagnostics of cultural heritage. During her research activity she has established over the years, collaborations with different groups of theoretical physicists, physical chemists, biochemists and clinicians, which are still kept active.
Use of NMR spectrometers and tomographs (Siemens, Philips, Bruker) of small-scale (samples, animals) and large scale (humans). NMR tomograph Siemens Allegra 3T (human head dedicated), NMR high field spectrometer Bruker Avance with vertical magnetic field dedicated to small samples in vitro investigations and Bruker Biospec with horizontal magnet to small animals investigations, NMR scanner Philips Achieva3T (human all body).
Her research interests include theoretical speculation and experimental investigation in the field of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). Part of her research has been focused on developing new NMR techniques and innovative NMR diagnostic approaches. All her activities have been characterized by a specific orientation to applicative fields with a potentially high clinical impact. Some of her research lines are currently at the stage of basic research, some others are in a transitional stage between basic research and clinical application. Her main research tools are NMR related techniques, including both Spectroscopy and Imaging. Moreover, she is also an expert of other experimental procedures, such as techniques based on x-rays or dielectric spectroscopy. Her investigation targets are: materials and biomaterials (confined water, gels, macromolecules, bone) and living systems (cells, ex-vivo and excised tissues, such as cancellous bone,dentin, bone-marrow, cartilage, meningioma, in-vivo animal models such as glioma rat brain, healthy and diseased humans).
She is an expert in the diagnosis of osteoporosis by NMR.
She is an expert in the developing and applying of diffusion protocols for microstructural investigations in porous materials, biological tissues and Humans (brain, cancellous bone, prostate, placenta, calcaneus,femour)
She obtained several contracts in public hospitals and research institutions concerning technology transfer inthe field of NMR investigation.
From 2009 she is Member of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM).
Specific research activities
-1- Development of new non Gaussian and anomalous diffusion NMR approaches with the final goal toidentify new sources of contrast in biological tissues.
a) basic research applied on controlled heterogeneous samples (packed polystyrene micro-beads inwater solution) and excised tissues such as human meningiomas and bone marrow (research activity)
b) neuroimaging in vivo applications in rat and mouse brain, normal and pathological human brains(translational clinical research)
c) Comparison between DTI, Kurtosis Imaging and Anomalous Diffusion Imaging in brain tissues.-2- MR investigations of skeletal system (cancellous bone, cartilage, muscle, bone marrow) using multi-parametric approach:
a) conventional relaxation parameters, internal magnetic field gradient and diffusion techniques correlated to spectroscopic 1 H-MRS quantitative analysis (research and translational clinical research).
b) Non convention NMR technique, such as DTI , 23 Na-triple- quantum non Gaussian diffusion(research activity)
-3- Study and Development of new MR Multi Quantum coherences, light scattering and x-rays approaches,conventional MR techniques applied to investigate:
a) cement, ancient wood and stone materials of historical and artistic interest, cultural heritage, and fossil bones and teeth
b) Biological tissues investigation (in particular cancellous bone)
– 4-MR investigations at high magnetic field (7T) of glioma animal model to optimize BNCT (Boron Neutron Capture Therapy) using:
a) Conventional and non conventional (DTI) techniques and Imaging and spectroscopic techniques performed on 19 F nuclei to detect spatial distribution of BNCT-carriers and study their pharmacokinetics
b) other biophysical approaches (Dielectric Spectroscopy, HPLC) together with MR strategies to improve BNCT effectiveness.
She is co-author of more than 75 publications on international peer-reviewed journals. 100 publications as abstracts and papers in proceedings of scientific meetings and six chapters in books.H-index 17 (google scholar reference).
2000 “Young Investigator Award” ESMRMB (European Society Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and Biology) September, Paris, for a work concerning the first application of NMR multiple-quantum coherences to study cancellous bone.
In the NMR Laboratory headed by the coordinator of MADMAN project, there are NMR instruments, workstations and computers linked to a server. Specifically, a 9.4T Bruker Avancespectrometer for in vitro experiments (equipped with a microimaging, multinuclear probe and highperformance gradients with maximum magnetic gradient strength equal to 1200 mT/m along the three x,y and z axes) and an NMR spectrometer Bruker MINISPEC operating at 0.47T with a 5 cmin diameter bore, designed for relaxation measurements.
Full processing facilities are available, including a server for data storage and a grid engine for parallel computing (currently 18 CPUs, in expansion to 66+ CPUs)for the most demanding computational tasks.
Software facilities include the main neuroimaging tools (SPM, AFNI,FSL, etc.), and general computation tools (IDL, Matlab, Consol).