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16.4T Vertical Wide Bore Animal MR Imager
We propose to acquire a 16.4 Tesla wide-bore vertical magnetic resonance (MR) small- animal scanner equipped with multi-coil receive capability. The overall goal is to upgrade the F.M. Kirby Research Center at the Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) to a state-of-the- art very-high field biomedical imaging facility. This is necessary to address the needs of many investigators at the KKI, Johns Hopkins University (JHU), and some universities from other states who presently have 25 NIH-funded grants (see Table 1 in section 7C) with several aims that can strongly benefit from the improved technical capabilities of this instrument. These investigators currently use the 4.7T, 9.4T, and 11.7T animal facilities at JHU for brain, cancer, and cardiac studies related to anatomical microimaging of brain development, image-based phenotyping, molecular imaging with and without contrast agents, cell tracking, spectroscopy (MRS), quantitative physiological MRI, and the investigation and improvement of MR image contrast. This proposed instrumentation will provide the following benefits for the users: 1) increased tissue signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) due to the higher field (proportional) and due to the availability of multicoil phased array detection capabilities. Such an increase in SNR would allow either a reduction in scan time (animal throughput) 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. This is important for all studies listed in this application. 2) parallel imaging capability. For applications where current SNR is sufficient, in vivo acquisition speed and thus animal throughput can be increased by several factors. 3) increased chemical shift separation for spectroscopy studies and for imaging studies using frequency selective saturation, such as those employing chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) contrast. 4) increased susceptibility-based contrast for studying physiology (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. This 16.4T small animal scanner is essential for continued high-quality state-of-the-art research for the NIH-funded researchers at our institutions who are served by the national facilities provided by our Research Resource and the In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center (ICMIC). PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Small animals are now broadly used as pre-clinical models for central nervous system (CNS) diseases and a tremendous amount of information can be gained from non invasive studies of pathologies such as stroke, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, etc.). In addition, recent developments in the field of molecular imaging have provided noninvasive technologies to monitor in real time cellular and molecular events using as nano-particle MRI probes and also genetic markers. The investigators in this grant are studying the mechanisms of disease and are developing MRI methods to better treat and diagnose them and the knowledge gained is directly translational to human disease treatment and monitoring.