This application seeks support from the ORIP High-End Instrumentation (HEI) Grant program to fund a new Siemens 7 Tesla whole-body human MRI scanner to be used for basic/clinical/translational research at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, to upgrade our existing prototype 7 Tesla scanner. This system will serve as an upgrade of our existing, 15-year-old prototype 7 Tesla MRI scanner, and will provide an substantial increase of performance for the wide range of research found at the Martinos Center, including: clinical and neuroradiological studies; cognitive, psychiatric, and basic neuroscience and brain mapping studies; and novel instrumentation development. While the 7T research program at the Martinos Center has been very successful in recent years, our 7T magnet is no longer serviceable by the manufacturer, the scanner is no longer supported by the manufacturer, and therefore we plan to retire our current system within the next 3?4 years. Because of the unique capabilities of the new product 7T MRI, the proposed Siemens 7 Tesla Human MRI System Upgrade will not merely replace our existing scanner but will offer new features for improved performance and data quality that will benefit existing projects, and is sure to be an enabling technology that will complement the conventional MRI scanners at the Martinos Center. The features and benefits provided by this upgrade over our existing prototype system include: streamlined and standardized workflows for greater ease of use, enabling a broader user base as well as robustness and consistency across sessions; standardized hardware and software for compatibility with other sites, enabling new, collaborative large-scale multi-site trials; improved manufacturer support and maintenance for a product system moving forward, reducing the burden currently placed on Martinos Center staff; enhanced system performance including 64 RF receiver channels, stronger gradient coils, higher-order magnetic field shims, increased RF power, a faster image reconstruction computer, high-temporal-resolution physiological monitoring, and new sequence and application packages compatible with the newly released Siemens platform; and an up-to-date testbed for the unique instrumentation and technology research and development performed at the Martinos Center, including advanced imaging sequences and reconstruction, higher-density receive coil arrays, and shim-RF multi-coil arrays to be both shared with our industrial collaborators and freely disseminated to the MRI community. By serving a highly productive interdisciplinary group of PHS-funded investigators, this proposed upgrade will enhance existing research programs while at the same time fostering opportunities for new projects and collaborations to emerge and flourish. This instrumentation upgrade will thus help pave the way for other PHS-funded research centers to use these next-generation MRI technologies, will help demonstrate the utility and practicality of 7T MRI for its inevitable use in the clinic, and will provide our investigators with a technological edge required for innovative clinical, translational, and basic research.
This project proposes to install a new human 7 Tesla MRI scanner at the MGH/HST Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. This new scanner will serve to upgrade to our existing 7 Tesla scanner?a prototype and the first of its kind, which has been in operation for 16 years and can now no longer be serviced. Beyond replacing our existing scanner the new scanner model offers enhanced performance and will add new capabilities, simplify operation and increase usability, enhance system stability, provide users with the next- generation platform for advanced applications, and enable continued research into new 7 Tesla MRI hardware and software conducted by Martinos investigators for the benefit of both the users of this system and for the growing 7 Tesla MRI community worldwide.