Welcome to the


Advanced Stimulus-based Translational Neuroimaging Laboratory

affiliated with the Department of Neurosurgery and the Clinical Neuroscience Center of University Hospital Zurich

Who are we?

Our work focuses on the hemodynamic assessment of patients with cerebrovascular diseases and brain tumors through advanced neuroimaging during respiratory challenges. By means of prospective end-tidal gas targeting during fMRI BOLD sequence acquisition, we are able to estimate hypercapnic cerebrovascular reactivity and hypoxic/hyperoxic tissue perfusion parameters

Latest Updates

Chen and Fierstra’s Textbook “Cerebrovascular Reactivity: Methodological Advances and Clinical Applications”


History and Mission

Founded in 2013 at the Department of Neurosurgery of the University Hospital Zurich, the ASTRAN team has been developing an advanced translational MRI technique to better study ischemic stroke patients, and patients with malignant brain tumors. Our main focus is to develop novel imaging markers that can be translated into clinical practice, and we therefore operate in an interdisciplinary fashion at the Clinical Neuroscience Center within the Departments of Neurosurgery, Neuroradiology and Neurology with strong international collaborations.

Technical developments

A key development of our MRI technique has been the precise control of endogenous carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O2) during a blood oxygenation-level dependent (BOLD) MRI examination, to better interrogate cerebrovascular autoregulation and cerebral blood flow changes in stroke patients. For patients with brain tumors, a more comprehensive hemodynamic tissue profile can be derived from changes in hypercapnia (i.e., high CO2 levels) and hypoxia (low oxygen levels). The precise gas control is provided by the -RespirActTM- system, which has been pioneered at the University of Toronto under supervision of Dr. Joseph A Fisher and Dr. David J Mikulis, under whom the senior group leader of the ASTRAN team, Dr. Jorn Fierstra, was working as a PhD candidate to further develop this technique.

Our research

All our projects are carried out as research studies, under approval of the local ethics board and according to the declaration of Helsinki. Over the last 10 years, the ASTRAN team has been publishing groundbreaking research in leading journals of clinical neuroscience and its members have received competitive third party funding and awards on institutional as well as (inter)national level.

Support and Funding

USZ - Universitätsspital Zürich - University Hospital ZurichUZH - Universität Zürich - University of ZurichKNZ - Klinisches Neurozentrum Zürich
krebsliga schweiz
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