The purpose of this shared S10 instrumentation grant application is to upgrade the Bruker 4.7T high-field magnetic resonance (MR) spectrometer to be shared by a group of NIH funded investigators and others at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). The Center for Comparative NeuroImaging (CCNI) at UMMS was established in 2001 as a Center of Excellence in comparative neuroimaging to promote translational research focused on the understanding and treatment of disease processes with particular emphasis on brain disorders. The CCNI has been the site of many novel discoveries in the last 10 years, including technologies for performing awake animal imaging. However, the severely out dated configuration and instability of the current analogue components tremendously hinders the advancement of multiple NIH- supported research studies due to the severe limitations and challenges encountered when attempting to conduct MR spectroscopy (MRS), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), parallel imaging and mouse imaging studies at the CCNI. The upgrade of the 4.7T system will fill a critical need to perform MRI experiments by utilizing a stable and reliable resource. The upgrade will also enhance the current capabilities of the over a decade-old spectrometer and significantly increase multi-modal imaging studies. Specifically: (1) The upgrade will significantly enhance the data quality of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), functional connectivity, mice imaging and MRS. (2) The upgrade will make it possible to conduct studies using DTI and parallel imaging. (3) The upgrade will immediately double the number of users from five to ten.
The aims of this proposal are 1) to provide current NIH-funded investigators with access to a state-of-the-art high-field (MR) instrument to significantly enhance anatomical, functional and spectral resolution for MRI and MRS applications;2) to continue to educate and train NIH-funded investigators in the use of imaging techniques pertaining to their specific research areas;3) to promote the use of novel imaging techniques in under-explored research areas;4) to provide access to a new state of the art 4.7T system for potential NIH funded researchers and new hires to collect pilot data for grant submission;5) to increase opportunities for multi-modal cutting edge research, and 6) to build an academic community focused on the utilization of high- field imaging in biomedical sciences. The major User Groups (identified in this proposal) are supported by grants from several NIH institutes (including NIMH, NIDA, NIAAA, NINDS, and NIGMS). The users include members of the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, Microbiology and Physiological Systems and Molecular Medicine. The leadership at UMMS is committed to providing important additional resources to enhance the success of the upgrade, including support for a dedicated MR technician. The overreaching goal for research on the upgraded 4.7T system is to ultimately translate the cellular and molecular insights gained from these pre-clinical studies into interventions that will both cure and prevent human disorders.