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. This proposal describes a vital renovation that would allow advanced MRI research to proceed, grow, and flourish at this center. The BMRC currently includes 3 MRI scanner bays which house one GE 3.0 Tesla (T) and one GE 1.5T magnet. A 2nd 3.0T GE scanner was recently removed for replacement with an upgraded 3T machine (not yet installed). This facility was renovated in 1991, and has served the BWH MRI research program well. However, electromagnetic interference (EMI) from environmental sources (specifically, a Boston MBTA subway/trolley power line) at one end of this site, where the scanning bays are located, reduces the ability to detect small changes in MRI signal. This is problematic for advanced techniques, such as functional MRI (fMRI) of subtle cognitive, perceptual, and emotional neurobiological processes, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), which cannot be performed effectively in this environment. In addition, the BMRC was not originally designed to incorporate animal studies into a comprehensive, translational research infrastructure. When the BMRC scanners are used for large animal studies they require a down-time of 4 hours before they can be again used for human work. Also, an outdated 4.7T small bore animal scanner is located separately, at Harvard Medical School. These factors have resulted in virtually all animal studies being performed at night or at a distance. Currently, there is no location for siting a much needed, upgraded, state-of-the-art high field strength (9.4 or 11.7T) small bore animal system. In addition to not being conducive to a vibrant animal imaging program, these factors have limited the interaction between animal and human researchers that would otherwise occur more frequently, in a more naturally collaborative environment, to promote translational work. Finally, one of the unique MRI programs at the BWH uses hyperpolarized gas in pulmonary MRI studies. Techniques have been developed which can measure aspects of pulmonary physiology, such as alveolar wall thickness, that have tremendous implications for the evaluation and treatment of pulmonary disease. Currently these studies are being performed off-campus, due to the lack of access to a multi-nuclear scanner. The renovation described in this proposal would expand research capabilities by enabling advanced MRI techniques such as fMRI and spectroscopy to be performed without EMI;by promoting translational work by adding space for a state-of-the-art small bore animal system, and allowing simultaneous human and animal imaging;by incorporating a polarizer to increase the capabilities, productivity, and collaborations of the unique BWH pulmonary functional imaging program;and by increasing the number of scanners available for human studies (from 2 currently to 3).

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Grants for Repair, Renovation and Modernization of Existing Research Facilities (G20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRR1-STRB-2 (02))
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Mccullough, Willie
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Brigham and Women's Hospital
United States
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