Publications by authors named "Nikki S Rentz"

3 Publications

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A standard system phantom for magnetic resonance imaging.

Magn Reson Med 2021 Sep 13;86(3):1194-1211. Epub 2021 Apr 13.

Physical Measurement Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder, Colorado, USA.

Purpose: A standard MRI system phantom has been designed and fabricated to assess scanner performance, stability, comparability and assess the accuracy of quantitative relaxation time imaging. The phantom is unique in having traceability to the International System of Units, a high level of precision, and monitoring by a national metrology institute. Here, we describe the phantom design, construction, imaging protocols, and measurement of geometric distortion, resolution, slice profile, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), proton-spin relaxation times, image uniformity and proton density.

Methods: The system phantom, designed by the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine ad hoc committee on Standards for Quantitative MR, is a 200 mm spherical structure that contains a 57-element fiducial array; two relaxation time arrays; a proton density/SNR array; resolution and slice-profile insets. Standard imaging protocols are presented, which provide rapid assessment of geometric distortion, image uniformity, T and T mapping, image resolution, slice profile, and SNR.

Results: Fiducial array analysis gives assessment of intrinsic geometric distortions, which can vary considerably between scanners and correction techniques. This analysis also measures scanner/coil image uniformity, spatial calibration accuracy, and local volume distortion. An advanced resolution analysis gives both scanner and protocol contributions. SNR analysis gives both temporal and spatial contributions.

Conclusions: A standard system phantom is useful for characterization of scanner performance, monitoring a scanner over time, and to compare different scanners. This type of calibration structure is useful for quality assurance, benchmarking quantitative MRI protocols, and to transition MRI from a qualitative imaging technique to a precise metrology with documented accuracy and uncertainty.
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September 2021

Sensing bacterial vibrations and early response to antibiotics with phase noise of a resonant crystal.

Sci Rep 2017 09 22;7(1):12138. Epub 2017 Sep 22.

Applied Chemicals and Materials Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder, CO, 80305, USA.

The speed of conventional antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) is intrinsically limited by observation of cell colony growth, which can extend over days and allow bacterial infections to advance before effective antibiotics are identified. This report presents an approach for rapidly sensing mechanical fluctuations of bacteria and the effects of antibiotics on these fluctuations. Bacteria are adhered to a quartz crystal resonator in an electronic bridge that is driven by a high-stability frequency source. Mechanical fluctuations of cells introduce time-dependent perturbations to the crystal boundary conditions and associated resonant frequency, which translate into phase noise measured at the output of the bridge. In experiments on nonmotile E. coli exposed to polymyxin B, cell-generated frequency noise dropped close to zero with the first spectra acquired 7 minutes after introduction of the antibiotic. In experiments on the same bacterial strain exposed to ampicillin, frequency noise began decreasing within 15 minutes of antibiotic introduction and proceeded to drop more rapidly with the onset of antibiotic-induced lysis. In conjunction with cell imaging and post-experiment counting of colony-forming units, these results provide evidence that cell death can be sensed through measurements of cell-generated frequency noise, potentially providing a basis for rapid AST.
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September 2017

Three-dimensional hydrogel constructs for exposing cells to nanoparticles.

Nanotoxicology 2014 Jun 24;8(4):394-403. Epub 2013 Apr 24.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Applied Chemicals and Materials Division , Boulder, CO 80305 , USA.

In evaluating nanoparticle risks to human health, there is often a disconnect between results obtained from in vitro toxicology studies and those from in vivo activity, prompting the need for improved methods to rapidly assess the hazards of engineered nanomaterials. In vitro studies of nanoparticle toxicology often rely on high doses and short exposure periods due to the difficulty of maintaining monolayer cell cultures over extended time periods as well as the difficulty of maintaining nanoparticle dispersions within the culture environment. In this work, tissue-engineered constructs are investigated as a platform for providing doses of nanoparticles over different exposure periods to cells within a three-dimensional environment that can be tuned to mimic in vivo conditions. Uptake of quantum dots (QDs) by model neural cells was first investigated in a high-dose exposure scenario, resulting in a strong concentration-dependent uptake of carboxyl-functionalised QDs. Poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogel scaffolds with varying mesh sizes were then investigated for their ability to support cell survival and proliferation. Cells were co-encapsulated with carboxyl-functionalised poly(ethylene glycol)-coated QDs at a lower dose than is typical for monolayer cultures. Although the QDs leach from the hydrogel within 24 h, they are also incorporated by cells within the scaffold, enabling the use of these constructs in future studies of cell behaviour and function.
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June 2014