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11.7T Horizontal Bore Animal Scanner
We propose to purchase an 11.7T animal research Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) scanner for the F.M. Kirby Research Center at Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI). This scanner will be equipped with the latest coil technology (mouse cryocoil and several mouse and rat phased array coils) and parallel imaging capabilities. It also provides state of the art animal monitoring and control systems.
Kennedy Krieger Institute is an internationally recognized institution dedicated to improving the lives of children and adolescents with developmental disabilities. Because learning about brain function through MRI and MRS is an important part of this, Kennedy Krieger's 1988 long-range research plan identified noninvasive imaging as a key area for development. The F.M. Kirby Center, which opened in 1999, currently provides state-of-the-art technology and unique MRI expertise to facilitate the human biomedical MRI research of scientists at several institutions in Maryland and throughout the USA. It is funded by NCRR as a local and national resource for human MRI technology development.
We are planning a large expansion of the Center to add molecular, cellular and functional animal MRI facilities to its function. The goal is to have basic research and human application in a combined setting to promote efficient translation of the technology to the clinic. The proposed state-of-the-art high field MRI animal facility is needed to address the needs of many animal researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University (JHU), who presently have 16 NIH-funded projects with several aims that can strongly benefit from the improved technical capabilities provided by this upgrade. These investigators currently use the 4.7T and 9.4T horizontal bore systems at Johns Hopkins University for their in vivo studies, the first of which is no longer state of the art, while the latter is oversubscribed and does not have the needed parallel imaging or cryocoil technology.
This proposed instrumentation will provide the following benefits for these users: 1) increased tissue signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) due to the higher field (proportional) and due to the availability of a mouse cryocoil and mouse and rat phased-array coils. Such increased SNR allows either a reduction in scan time for MRI and MRS with the square of the relative SNR increase, or an increase in spatial resolution (voxel size) linear with the increase, or addition of extra image modalities when keeping time and resolution the same; 2) parallel imaging capability: for applications where current SNR is sufficient, in vivo acquisition speed and thus animal throughput can be increased. 3) Increased chemical shift separation for spectroscopy studies and for imaging studies using frequency selective saturation, such as those employing chemical exchange saturation transfers (CEST) contrast. 4) Increased susceptibility-based contrast for studying physiology and function (BOLD effect) and for tracking cells or compounds that are magnetically labeled for molecular imaging studies. 5) Increase in relaxation time T1, which will increase sensitivity for label transfer studies, such as arterial spin labeling and CEST imaging.