This submission proposes the purchase of a 7T/30 MRI Scanner to support novel NIH-funded research being conducted in multiple studies across many departments at the University of New Mexico (UNM). Advancing our animal MRI capabilities is essential to improving competitiveness and outcomes of our current funded studies with 5 NIH Major Users ($1.3M), 9 Minor Users ($2.5M), and 58 potential MRI users ($17.5M). UNM research is significantly limited by an outdated 4.7T/40 cm system. An upgraded 7T system would increase efficiency, significantly expand capabilities, and broaden the scope of studies, leading to new discoveries and acceleration into clinical trials. At larger field strength, there is improved contrast for imaging blood; larger spectral separations between different chemical specifies; and improved sensitivity for diffusion spectrum imaging, chemical exchange saturation transfer, and perfusion imaging such as continuous arterial spin labeling and dynamic contrast enhanced imaging. The ability to obtain structure, function, diffusion, perfusion, and spectroscopic images in a single scan becomes a reality at 7T, especially for mice. In addition to supporting existing users, improved instrumentation in the MRI core would catalyze existing research infrastructure toward more collaborative studies. UNM has a rich biomedical research environment comprised of a U54 Clinical and Translational Science Center, a P30 NCI-designated Cancer Center, a P50 Alcohol Research Center, an anticipated P20 Center for Brain Recovery and Repair, five HSC signature research programs to accelerate translational discoveries, and a network of external collaborations. The long-term success of this highly interdisciplinary infrastructure requires advanced instrumentation, specifically in MRI, to provide investigators with adequate tools and encourage novel multidisciplinary research approaches. Finally, high-end instrumentation is necessary for cultivating future biomedical scientists and wil contribute to UNM's efforts to increase diversity in the biomedical workforce. UNM is well positioned and has an obligation to make a large impact in this area since UNM is the only academic health center in a majority-minority state. UNM fully supports NIH's Common Fund initiative to enhance diversity of the biomedical research workforce and is committed to increasing biomedical research from underrepresented groups in New Mexico and regionally. Having a state-of-the-art MRI core aligns with UNM's mission to promote diversity and encourage people from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue an education and career in biomedical research, with the laboratory resources needed to be competitive in the field. Therefore, we have identified three specific needs: 1) improve MRI capabilities for current MRI users, 2) enhance the MRI user base and multidisciplinary research outcomes, and 3) increase biomedical research from underrepresented groups. This application will meet these specific needs and significantly advance the MRI capabilities at UNM and in the state of New Mexico, and regionally, with the purchase of a 7T/30 cm MRI Scanner.
This High-End Instrumentation submission provides an exciting opportunity to significantly enhance current NIH-funded studies in the areas of stroke, traumatic brain injury, brain development and neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) capabilities will expand basic and translational imaging research at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and help cultivate a talented, diverse biomedical workforce with capacity to develop sophisticated imaging protocols, accelerating clinical research and new treatments. The proposed 7T MRI will provide a state-of-the-art research and educational platform and will greatly enhance several collaborative UNM programs and centers including an NIH-Designated Cancer Center, Clinical and Translational Science Center, Alcohol Research Center, and Brain and Behavioral Health Institute as well as local and regional collaborators at Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, Veterans Affairs, and others.
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