Edinburgh Imaging


18 Jul 19. Congrats Dr Mike Perrins

Many congratulations to Dr Mike Perrins, who recently graduated from the Edinburgh Medical School with a PhD in July 2019.

Dr Michael Perrins, graduating from the Edinburgh Medical School in July 2091

Mike Perrins was based at two centres within the Queen’s Medical Research Institute (QMRI), including the Edinburgh Imaging Facility QMRI and the Centre for Inflammation Research (CIR).

Since April 2015, Mike was funded by the Mentholatum Company Ltd (East Kilbride) in order to study the biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system, resulting in a submission of his PhD thesis in 2018 titled:

“Magnetic Resonance Elastography Studies of the Musculoskeletal System”, and graduating from Edinburgh Medical School in the Summer of 2019.


Life before Edinburgh Imaging?

Leaving his home city of Birmingham, Mike headed to Wales for his first degree, where he gained a BSc (Hons.) in Neuropsychology from Bangor University in 2013, followed by a MSc in Clinical Neuropsychology in 2014. 

Mike’s interest was within cognition and traumatic brain injury, where he worked with patients from the local hospital Ysbyty Gwynedd.

During his MSc, Mike was in the top 5% of students in neuroimaging, where he developed a keen interest in MR imaging and obtained skills in Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), Tractography and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS). 


Why did you choose Edinburgh?

Mike chose to study in Edinburgh for his PhD as he had been to Edinburgh several times before and loved the history and energy of the city.

The PhD also offered him the opportunity to work with teams of world leading medical researchers in developing a novel area of medical research, which could be used to significantly contribute to patient recovery.


PhD Project

Mike’s work was focused on developing a method to measure the recovery of patients at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, working with a range of clinical teams including the intensive care unit, clinical surgery, and physiotherapy.

Mike developed a pipeline to measure the musculoskeletal pathophysiology of patients through a non-invasive imaging method known as Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE). The pipeline Mike developed revealed two key clinical insights:

1) measuring the peak physical performance of sportsmen by identifying which individual muscles were used, and to what extent, offering a new key insight into muscle functionality,

2) as Mike’s focus was on the recovery of patients, the potential functional ability of recovering or weak patients’ muscles could be quantified by measuring the mechanical and morphological features of their muscles, something not available through conventional clinical imaging.


Best part of the PhD?

Mike made the most of The University of Edinburgh’s international reputation by collaborating with clinical research teams in Germany, Russia, and the USA. 

Mike also had the opportunity to work with teams of engineers, clinicians and physicists in Edinburgh to develop apparatus to load muscle groups within an MRI, which currently has a patent pending.

As a result of Mike’s collaboration with the Mentholatum Company Ltd, his work on muscle temperature following the application of products such as ‘Deep Heat’ and ‘Deep Freeze’ has been shown annually at the Therapy Expo

Further afield, Mike’s clinical research has been presented on the world stage, including conferences in Vienna, Singapore, Hawaii, Berlin, Paris, and Barcelona where his work achieved first place at EFORT 2018.

Not only did he find all these experiences exciting, they also offered him a strong grounding in what it takes to work on the international stage in research.

Mike would like to thank his supervisors Professor Edwin van Beek and Prof Neil Roberts for their suppport and guidance throughout his time at Edinburgh.

Dr Michael Perrins and family at the Edinburgh Medical School summer graduation, 2019.
Current work

A month after passing his viva, Mike was offered a post-doc position at Cardiff University where he is currently using his expertise in image analysis, which he developed at Edinburgh, to measure cell proliferation patterns within confocal microscopy imaging.

It is hoped that Mike’s work at Cardiff will offer a novel insight into developmental biology and later in oncology.

Alongside this, Mike is writing up several clinical research papers based on his work in Edinburgh with several clinical cohorts, which formed the basis of his PhD thesis.

What next?

Mike’s keen interest in clinical research and patient recovery is something which he is hoping will form the basis of his future career.

He is hoping to develop his research skills further and get more experience in clinical settings in order to further study for a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Mike wants to contribute to our understanding of the interplay between the neurological and musculoskeletal systems and is hoping that his current doctorate and a future clinical doctorate will give him a strong foundation for a patient-centred clinical career.

In the immediate future, Mike is looking forward to being able to spend more time with his family.


Many congratulations from everyone based within the Edinburgh Imaging Facility QMRI, and best wishes with your future career.