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Neuroimaging

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

TCIN houses two Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines. A 3 Tesla MRI is used for human analysis and a small bore 7 Tesla MRI is available for animal imaging.

Researchers interested in using the scanners should contact Dr. Christian Kerskens at 01-6088470 or email kerskenc@tcd.ie to discuss potential projects.

Differential fMRI study

Expertise Includes:

  • MRI sequence development
  • Hardware development

Analysis:

  • Diffusion analysis
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Voxel Based Morphometry
  • T1, T2 and T2* analysis
  • fMRI
  • Blood flow analysis
  • Arterial Spin Labelling

7 Tesla Small Bore Scanner

The 7T MRI lab houses a Bruker BioSpec 7T system with a 1H MRI Cryoprobe, AVANCE III HD architecture and Paravision 6 Software. This state-of-the-art scanner can reach a spatial resolution of 25 microns, while the non-invasive nature of MRI permit serial studies to be performed in the living animal. The system is a Bruker BioSpec 70/30 (i.e. 7T, 30 cm bore) with an actively shielded USR Magnet with the following specifications:

Gradients available include:
  • Large (200 mT/m, ID 152 mm)
  • Medium (400 mT/m, ID 72mm)
  • Small (1000 mT/m, ID 35 mm)

(ID = maximum usable internal diameter)

A variety of volume resonators and surface coils are available to allow for imaging and spectroscopy of 1 H and a range of other MR-active nuclei such as 31 P, 23 Na, 19 F and 13 C. A wide range of pulse sequences and image processing tools are available on the Bruker system, and support is available from an experienced team. Examples of studies which can be carried out on the 7T system include:

  • 'Conventional' MR images based on T 1 , T 2 or proton density, typically used to show anatomical detail;
  • Blood flow in arteries or veins (magnetic resonance angiography or MRA);
  • Blood perfusion through tissue, giving cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebral blood volume (CBV) maps;
  • Molecular diffusion of water through tissue such as white matter tracts (tractography and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI));
  • Relative degrees of bound and unbound water via magnetisation transfer contrast (MTC);
  • Tissue movement, such as motion of the heart to yield measures of ejection fraction and myocardial wall motion;
  • Tissue temperature and intracellular pH measurements;
  • Oxygenation of blood to show areas of brain activated by stimuli - functional MRI (fMRI);
  • Changes in blood perfusion through tissues in response to pharmacological intervention (phMRI);
  • Cell tracking following the labeling of cells with magnetic nanoparticles.

3 Tesla MRI

The 3T MRI lab houses a Philips Achieva 3T system. Its most important features and technical specifications are:

  • Magnet system: Actively shielded, super-conducting magnet, field strength 3 Tesla, whole body (157 cm in length, 60cm bore size), weight 5500 kg
  • Gradient system: Quasar Dual High Performance Gradient System: Actively shielded gradient with 80mT/m peak, 200mT/m/ms slew rate, 100% duty cycle.
  • RF system: Scalable 32 parallel receiver channels architecture, Philips flex coils, quadrature body and head coils, phased array coils, and 8, 16 & 32 channel array coils.
  • Examples of studies which can be carried out on the 3T system include:
  • 'Conventional' MR images based on T 1 , T 2 or proton density;
  • High resolution anatomical imaging;
  • Angiography;
  • Venography;
  • Arterial spin labeling for measuring blood perfusion through tissue;
  • Molecular diffusion of water through tissue using Diffusion Imaging including Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) and fiber tractography (FT)
  • Magnetisation transfer contrast;
  • Blood Oxygenation Level-Dependent (BOLD) imaging to show areas of brain activated by stimuli - functional MRI (fMRI).