Dr Ben Babourina-Brooks PhD, BSc Nanotechnology (Hons)

Dr Ben Babourina-Brooks

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
NIHR Research Fellow

Contact details

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Ben Babourina-Brooks is a NIHR Research Fellow in the Children's Brain Tumour Research Team in the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham and based at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Ben specialises in Magnetic Resonance Imaging physics and the clinical translation of MRI techniques for the improvement of cancer patient outcomes. His PhD project was through the Centre for Advanced Imaging in Australia and came to Birmingham on a EU:Marie Curie IIF to investigate novel MR techniques to aid brain tumour prognosis. As a NIHR Research Fellow he is currently working on the translation of MR techniques to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital and beyond.   


  • Ph.D. Magnetic Resonance/Medical Physics. University of Queensland. Australia. 2012
  • Prostate cancer research at the Centre for Advanced Imaging
  • BSc. Nanotechnology (Hons), Flinders University, Adelaide. Australia. 2006


Ben Babourina-Brooks completed his PhD in medical physics based in Australia, researching how the prostate cancer hospital treatment regime could be improved through the use of MRI. This was through tumour detection, organ motion management and radiotherapy treatment. His PhD providing an insight into novel MRI techniques and how they can be applied to the clinic.

He moved to Birmingham to take up a Research Fellow position, upon the completion of his PhD, at the Children's Brain Tumour Research Team based at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Within 9 months of the Fellowship he was awarded an EU Commission Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship based on his preliminary research. The project focused on exploring a novel MRI technique to measure brain tumour temperature (Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy thermometry) and investigate the prognosis potential of the measure. The project established collaboration with the national physical laboratory temperature group.

Currently Ben is a NIHR Research Fellow, under Professor Andrew Peet’s professorship, investigating the diagnosis and prognosis benefit of 3T MRS compared to 1.5T. Through MRS the metabolic pathway of high concentration brain metabolites can be investigated. At 3T more of these metabolites should be visible, however research is required to understand how to best to optimise this. Part of this project is to compare with NMR spectroscopic measures of tumour tissue to underpin the results found in vivo. He was additionally appointed the lead co-ordinator for the Birmingham Brain Tumour Research Centre, which combines multiple brain tumour research groups within the City of Birmingham spanning research from the laboratory to the clinic.

Ben has experience in different MRI techniques and how to translate them to the clinic. He is familiar with a variety of brain tumour types and their biological significance. He has a background in MR physics, image processing and data acquisition. Ben’s research interest lies in utilising advanced MRI techniques for impacting cancer patient clinical outcomes.    


  • BMedSc: Biomaterials: Microscopy and analysis. Medical imaging lectures.      2015-Present
  • BMedSc: Analytical methods: Experimental design. University of Birmingham. 2013-Present
  • PSIBS EPS2: The Physics of MRI.   University of Birmingham. 2013-2014
  • Lecturer/Tutor, Magnetic Resonance Technology Postgraduate course. University of Queensland. 2009-2011


2015-Present: NIHR Research Fellow. University of Birmingham

Measuring the added value of MRS at 3T for paediatric brain tumour patients

Magnetic resonance spectroscopy has been shown to aid the diagnosis of childhood brain tumours through metabolite quantification and MRS profiling at 1.5T. A 3T MRI scanner has been established in the hospital and tumour patient numbers on this scanner are growing. This provides us with the opportunity to investigate what additional information this scanner will produce and to see what improvements to the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment monitoring can be gained.    

 2013 - 2015  EU: Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow, University of Birmingham, UK

Probing the tissue microenvironment of tumours by Magnetic Resonance Imaging

A novel tumour microenvironment probe has been found using the measure of MRS thermometry. Investigation into the underlying mechanisms was undertaken using known MRI measures and complicated precise temperature phantoms provided by the national physical laboratory.  Magnetic resonance spectroscopy and diffusion weighted images were used to investigate classification of tumour types in childhood brain tumours. Through non-invasive means, MRS metabolite T2 values, MRS measured temperature values and diffusion imaging, a greater understanding of tumour diagnosis and appropriate treatment can be gained.

 2012 – 2013   Birmingham Children’s Hospital Research Foundation Fellow, University of Birmingham, UK

Investigating the tissue microenvironment using Magnetic Resonance Imaging

A preliminary investigation into the use of MRS thermometry to distinguish childhood brain tumours. The factors that affect the MRS thermometry calibration were also investigated through high precision temperature phantoms provided by the National Physical Laboratories (NPL). 

 2007 - 2011   PhD by Research, The University of Queensland, Australia              

Centre for Advanced ImagingMRI in prostate cancer: Early detection and aid in radiotherapy”

Detection of prostate cancer using non-invasive methods in prostate cancer patients. Achieved through T2 and diffusion weighted imaging. Investigated improving the treatment outcome of radiotherapy by quantifying the prostate motion

Other activities

Lead Research Fellow for the Birmingham Brain Tumour Research Centre.


Babourina-Brooks B, Simpson R, Arvanitis TN, Peet AC, and Davies NP.(2015)  MRS thermometry calibration at 3T: effects of protein, ionic concentration and magnetic field strength. NMR Biomed.  28(7) 792-800. 

Babourina-Brooks B, Wilson M, Arvanitis TN, Peet AC, Davies NP. (2014) MRS water resonance frequency in childhood brain tumours: a novel potential biomarker of temperature and tumour environment. NMR Biomed. 27(10):1222-9. 

Babourina-Brooks B, Cowin G, Wang. D. (2012) Diffusion Weighted Imaging in the Prostate: An Apparent Diffusion Coefficient Comparison of Half Fourier Acquisition Single Shot Turbo Spin Echo and Echo Planar Imaging. Magn Reson Imaging 30(2):189-94. 

Carlin D, Babourina-Brooks B, Wilson M, Peet AC. (2015)T2 Measurements of Childhood Brain Tumours and Metabolite Concentration Correction. International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) Toronto, Abstract 4442. 

Babourina-Brooks B, Wilson M, Arvanitis TN, Peet AC, Davies NP. (2015) Correlation of MRS water proton resonance frequency with ADC in childhood brain tumours. ISMRM Toronto, Abstract 4637. 

Babourina-Brooks B, Wilson M, Arvanitis TN, Peet AC, Davies NP. (2014) Long Echo MRS thermometry of childhood brain tumours. ISMRM, Milan.  Abstract 1858. 

Babourina-Brooks B, Simpson R, Arvanitis TN, Peet AC, and Davies NP. (2013) An accurate calibration of MRS thermometry at 3T. ISMRM, Salt Lake City. Abstract 533. (Oral). 

Babourina-Brooks B, Wilson M, Arvanitis TN, Peet AC, Davies NP. (2013) Investigating the microenvironment of childhood brain tumours using MRS. ISMRM, Salt Lake City, USA. Abstract 0980.