The Brigham MRI Research Center (BMRC), located in the Eugene Braunwald Research Center at 221 Longwood Avenue, provides essential research MRI services to investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Longwood Campus of Harvard Medical School. In 2010, the BMRC was awarded a G20 grant to support the first major renovation of this resource since 1991. This vital renovation provides the needed infrastructural improvements to facilitate advanced MRI research to proceed, grow, and flourish at this center. In its current configuration, the BMRC has 3 MRI scanner bays that house whole-body human scanners (one GE 1.5 Tesla (T), one GE 3.0T magnet, and an empty bay. The new BMRC will feature a next-generation 3.0 T Siemens scanner in addition to the existing scanners. The most innovative feature of the redesigned BMRC will be the integration of a small animal imaging laboratory (SAIL) into what was previously a predominantly human imaging center. The overarching goal of the BMRC redesign is to develop a more naturally collaborative environment by providing a comprehensive, translational research infrastructure. The SAIL, which will encompass an animal handling suite in addition to the MR imaging suite, is mission critical to this effort. The animal handling suite will house a satellite vivarium for mice and rats, and an animal preparation lab complete with anesthesia resources for performing microsurgery. The animal imaging suite will consist of a control room, imaging bay and electronic support room. The original plan to install a "state-of-the-art high field strength (9.4 or 11.7T) small bore animal system" was based solely on signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) gains that are proportional to field strength. Two critical developments over the past year have provided cause to modify this position. First, is the commercial availability of a novel technology, the cryoprobe, that yields marked improvements in SNR, while avoiding the confounding physical phenomena of magnetic susceptibility, dielectric effects, and T2*-shortening that worsen with increasing field strength. Moreover, cryoprobe SNR improvements are inversely related to field strength, with a three-fold SNR increase at 7T, falling to 1.5 fold at 11.7 T. The second is that the vintage 4.7T small bore animal scanner located separately at Harvard Medical School has been decommissioned, resulting in a call by some users to stay in the 7T range. Therefore, we offer this proposal to assist in the acquisition of a 7T 20 cm horizontal bore Bruker system with a cryoprobe. In addition to being conducive to a vibrant animal imaging program, the new scanner will enhance the interaction between animal and human re searchers. For example, the x-nuclear capability will allow imaging of hyperpolarized gasses. This is one of the unique MRI programs at the BWH, and will leverage the hyperpolarizer being installed in the BMRC. Similarly, the new instrument will facilitate ongoing research in cardiac imaging in mouse, prostate imaging in mouse, and functional imaging in pediatric monkeys, and diffusion tensor imaging in tissue samples. Next generation offering will include brain tumors in mouse, and murine neurovascular imaging in stroke models.

Public Health Relevance

The Brigham MRI Research Center (BMRC), located in the Eugene Braunwald Research Center at 221 Longwood Avenue is undergoing a significant renovation as the result of a G20 grant. We propose to acquire a 7T 20cm small animal MRI scanner to help facilitate the overarching BMRC goal of becoming a state of the art translational center. The new instrument would support several existing NIH funded projects and investigators covering the spectrum from cardiology (hypertrophy, genetics), pulmonology (hyperpolarized gas exchange), prostate imaging, to neuroscience (diffusion tensor imaging, brain tumor imaging, and stroke imaging).

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
Biomedical Research Support Shared Instrumentation Grants (S10)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-SBIB-W (30))
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Levy, Abraham
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Brigham and Women's Hospital
United States
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