Dr. Lars Kasper


Translational Neuromodeling Unit
Institut for Biomedical Engineering
University of Zurich and ETH Zurich
Lars Kasper
Wilfriedstrasse 6
8032 Zurich

Telefon:044 634 91 09
Büro:WIL H-303



Lars obtained his PhD in 2014 under the shared supervision of Klaas Paul Pruessmann (MR-Technology Group) and Klaas Enno Stephan (Translational Neuromodeling Unit) at the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. His research focuses on adapting state of the art advances in MR imaging methods in the context of neuroscientific and translational fMRI applications. The final target region of his work is the human brainstem as the seed region of neuromodulatory activity and a key component in effective connectivity analyses of (mal)adaptive human behaviour.



Research Interests

Imaging the brainstem is notoriously difficult: Its minuscule functional units, the nuclei, require high resolution and therefore high SNR acquisitions, while, on the other hand, physiological noise affects the brainstem severely by e.g. the cardiac and respiratory cycle. Lars uses concurrent magnetic field monitoring, a method developed in Klaas Pruessmann’s group, for improvements in both areas, namely for:

  1. Designing SNR-optimal fMRI acquisition methods under the “matched filter” framework. These acquisitions incorporate prior knowledge about image post-processing into the measurement scheme itself and improve SNR and BOLD sensitivity by 30% for typical fMRI applications.
  2. Measuring, characterising and modeling system and physiological noise in fMRI using direct magnetic field measurements with NMR field probes. One result of this work is the TAPAS PhysIO Toolbox, a Matlab software package highly integrated with Philips MR SCANPHYSLOG-files and SPM GLM-analysis to reduce physiological noise in cases where only peripheral measures of physiology (breathing, ECG, pulse oximetry) are available.

  3. Graphical Abstract of Lars’ PhD Thesis integrating his research interests into the common theme of noise reduction for fMRI


Scientific Background

Lars holds an MSc in Physics (“Diplom-Physiker”) from the University of Goettingen, Germany. He conducted his master thesis at the Biomedizinische Forschungs GmbH of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, supervised by Susann Boretius and Jens Frahm. His master thesis focussed on ultra-high field animal MR imaging, specifically tissue relaxation time measurements of the mouse brain at 9.4 Tesla.










  • A Joint Perspective on Image and Noise Formation in fMRI (Oct 21, Seminar: Emotion Club, Bach Lab, Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich)
  • Signal, Noise, and Preprocessing (Sep 26, Seminar: Methods and Models for fMRI, IBT, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich)
  • Noise Reduction in fMRI Utilizing Concurrent Magnetic Field Monitoring (Apr 4, PhD Defence, IBT, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich




PhysIO is a comprehensive toolbox for model-based physiological noise correction in fMRI.

Visit the PhysIO project page for detailed information (download, documentation, support...).