Skip to main contentSkip to footer
A finger pointing at a scan
Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Our staff

BSMS > About BSMS > Contact us > Staff > Dr Nicholas Dowell

Dr Nicholas Dowell

Nicolas Dowell profile photo

Dr Nicholas Dowell (PhD)

Senior Lecturer in Imaging Physics
T: +44 (0)1273 876770
Location: Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre (CISC), University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9RR



Dr Nicholas Dowell studied Chemistry at the University of Exeter and completed a PhD in Solid-State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy there in 2004. He then moved to London to work at the Institute of Neurology, UCL where he was involved in developing quantitative MR imaging methods, primarily for the study of Multiple Sclerosis. In 2007, he joined the Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre, Brighton and Sussex Medical School as a post-doctoral research fellow before becoming a Lecturer in imaging physics there 3 years later.


Dr Dowell is based at the Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre (CISC) in BSMS as part of Professor Mara Cercignani’s MRI Physics group. His role involves the development of quantitative imaging techniques that can provide non-invasive biomarkers of disease progression or recovery. He has worked on developing a method to reliably quantify subtle leakage in the blood-brain barrier. He has also worked on measuring oxygenation of the vitreous humour in the eye of patients who have undergone a vitrectomy. He is also working on applying diffusion MRI and quantitative magnetization transfer MRI to a number of applications to study the composition and organization of white matter in the brain. He also has an interest in MR pulse sequence (acquisition) design and image processing and data modelling.



Dr Dowell teaches the Academic Skills component of module 102 (Foundations of Health andDisease) and delivers a Student Selected Component for Module 202 (Neuroscience and Behaviour) on Quantitative MRI. He also lectures on the Anatomy and Physics clinical module as part of the Imaging and Radiology MSc. 

Selected publications

Morris LS, Dowell NG, Cercignani M, Harrison NA, Voon V. Binge drinking differentially affects cortical and subcortical microstructure. Addict Biol. 2017 Jan 20. doi: 10.1111/adb.12493. 

Young JC, Dowell NG, Watt PW, Tabet N, Rusted JM. Long-Term High-Effort Endurance Exercise in Older Adults: Diminishing Returns for Cognitive and Brain Aging. J Aging Phys Act. 2016 Oct;24(4):659-675. Epub 2016 Aug 24.

Dowell NG, Evans SL, Tofts PS, King SL, Tabet N, Rusted JM. Structural and resting-state MRI detects regional brain differences in young and mid-age healthy APOE-e4 carriers compared with non-APOE-e4 carriers. NMR Biomed. 2016 May;29(5):614-24. doi: 10.1002/nbm.3502. Epub 2016 Feb 29.

Dowell NG, Cooper EA, Tibble J, Voon V, Critchley HD, Cercignani M, Harrison NA. Acute Changes in Striatal Microstructure Predict the Development of Interferon-Alpha Induced Fatigue. Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Feb 15;79(4):320-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.05.015. Epub 2015 Jun 4.

Harrison NA, Cooper E, Dowell NG, Keramida G, Voon V, Critchley HD, Cercignani M. Quantitative Magnetization Transfer Imaging as a Biomarker for Effects of Systemic Inflammation on the Brain. Biol Psychiatry. 2015 Jul 1;78(1):49-57. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.09.023.

Evans S, Dowell NG, Tabet N, Tofts PS, King SL, Rusted JM. Cognitive and neural signatures of the APOE E4 allele in mid-aged adults. Neurobiol Aging. 2014 Jul;35(7):1615-23. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.01.145.

Evans S, Dowell NG, Tabet N, Tofts PS, King SL, Gray M, Rusted JM. Nicotine effects on attentional reorienting in mid-age adults, and interactions with apolipoprotein E status. J Psychopharmacol. 2013 Nov;27(11):1007-14. doi: 10.1177/0269881113499828.

Simpson AR, Dowell NG, Jackson TL, Tofts PS, Hughes EH. Measuring the effect of pars plana vitrectomy on vitreous oxygenation using magnetic resonance imaging. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Mar 21;54(3):2028-34. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-11258.

Dowell NG, Ruest T, Evans SL, King SL, Tabet N, Tofts PS, Rusted JM. MRI of carriers of the apolipoprotein E e4 allele-evidence for structural differences in normal-appearing brain tissue in e4+ relative to e4- young adults. NMR Biomed. 2013 Jun;26(6):674-82. doi: 10.1002/nbm.2912.

Click here to elements profile >