High End Instrumentation Grant support is requested to fund the purchase of a state- of-the-art Bruker Biospec 7 Tesla, 20 cm, bore small animal MRI scanner and the associated hardware and software necessary to enhance, advance, and stimulate NIH-funded basic science research at Children's Hospital Boston (CHB). This instrument will comprise a new and critical component of SAIL, the Small Animal Imaging Laboratory at CHB. The addition of this instrument to the suite of small animal imaging instrumentation currently available in SAIL (microPET, microCT, and small animal ultrasound) will greatly expand the capabilities of the facility and allowing it to fulfill its mission of providing small animal imaging support to the basic science research community. This instrument will extend the capabilities of the CHB research mission by allowing researchers 1) to obtain high-contrast images of soft tissue to measure progression of orthotopic brain tumor models in situ;2) to perform diffusion, perfusion, and flow imaging to examine the effects of anti-angiogenic and other therapies in tumor models and the degree of hypoxic/ischemic cerebral injury in rat pups;3) to use magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to study cardiac muscle energetics in myocardial hypertrophy and bone mineralization in osteoporosis and osteomalacia and perform magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) studies with 1H and 31P (and other) nuclei;and 4) to perform high spatial resolution diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies to determine the degree of miswiring of neuronal connections associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) and congenital cranial dysinnervation disorders (CCDDs) in animal models of these conditions. In many cases, these projects will utilize a combination of microPET and small animal MRI to obtain complementary functional and anatomic data. The research departments that will benefit from these new capabilities will include Vascular Biology, Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery, Neurobiology, Infectious Disease, Orthopedics, Pathology, Anesthesiology, Hematology/Oncology, and Radiology.
In the 20th century, research at CHB was instrumental in eradicating diseases that had, in many cases, threatened children for hundreds of years. Today, CHB researchers are again leading the way in research areas such as cancer, infectious disease, and genetics using state-of-the art small animal imaging tools (including the instrument requested here) to advance these fields. The deployment of a small animal MRI scanner at CHB will dramatically enhance small animal imaging capabilities at CHB, accelerating basic science research efforts, ensuring similarly spectacular progress well into the 21st century.
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