MR Research Group

MR Research Lab Facilities

Our laboratory facilities include a 7 Tesla, state-of-the-art MRI scanner dedicated to animal studies, a research dedicated 3 Tesla whole body scanner, an image processing laboratory with a high performance computing cluster, and a fully equipped animal surgical suite.

3T MRI Lab

The 2400 square foot facility on the ground floor of the Medical School Building houses a state-of-the-art Philips 3T Intera MR scanner. The magnet has a small foot print that is identical to the 1.5 T magnet and is patient friendly. An In Vivo Esys system is fully integrated with the scanner for functional MRI (fMRI) studies allows easy implementation of complex paradigms and visualization of activation in real time on the console. Various fMRI paradigms can be implemented under the eprime or Presentation environment. The MRI suite consists of a mock scanner that is useful for acclamitizing patients, particularly children, and training for fMRI.  The scanner comes with a number of specialized sequences, software packages and RF coils for parallel imaging.

This is a research dedicated scanner for scanning research subjects and developing novel MR techniques. Current projects include multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, neurodevelopmental developmental disorders, dynamic contrast studies for assessing pelvic perfusion, neuropsychiatric disorders, drug abuse etc.

3 Tesla Philips Scanner (right) and the MR console (left)This scanner includes a fully digital receiver chain (32 channels) and an unprecedented 80 mT/m gradient system. This combination allows the implementation of fast sequences with short echo times, high resolution fMRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). The SENSE head coil allows acquisition of 3D high resolution (1 mm isotropic voxel dimension), T2-weighted, FLAIR, MPRAGE, FSE, 3D MRSI data in clinically acceptable time. All the standard and specialized pulse sequences are implemented on the scanner. A research agreement with Philips allows us to modify and/or implement new and novel sequences on the scanner.

7T MRI Lab

Our small-animal MR Imaging system is a 7T Bruker Biospec with 30 cm inner diameter (USR 70/30) (Bruker, Karlsruhe, Germany). It is equipped with the built in gradient set BGA 20 (i.e. inner diameter of 20 cm). We also have two inserts for this magnet: a gradient set with an inner diameter of 12 cm (BGA 12) and 6 cm G06.

We have a volume 155 mm id volume coil for the BGA20. The coil can be used in transceiver mode or just as transmitter. We have a surface coil, which was produced by Dr. Jarek Wosik (UH, Department for Electrical and Computer Engineering). This combination is mainly used for studies of myopia with juvenile monkeys (Earl Smith, College of Optometry, UH).

We mainly use the BGA 12 gradient set. We have two transceiver volume coils for that, inner diameter 7.2 mm. We combine this coil usually with surface coils: 1. 2 coil array from Rapid (Rapid, Wuerzburg, Germany) 2. single loop coil, 2 cm diameter, manufactured by Jarek Wosik (see above) 3. linear surface coil from Bruker (id 25 mm). We also use implanted coils for studies of spinal cord injury. The coils are inductively coupled with a linear surface coil in transceiver mode (without volume coils). We have a quadrature volume coil (Rapid, Wuerzburg, Germany) and two linear volume coils from Bruker (all id 2.3cm) for studies on mice. The coils can only be used in transceiver mode.

The animal monitoring system is mainly from Small Animal Instruments (Stoney Brook, NY, USA). It allows to monitor core temperature, breathing frequency, blood oxygen level and pulse rate. Breathing gases are supplied by a ventilator (Harvard Apparatus, Holliston, Mo) combined with a vaporizer (VMS, Orchard Park, NY). The 7T lab also includes a fully equipped histological lab. .