The MR Research Laboratory is situated in the Health Sciences Building
adjacent to the University of Washington Medical
Center. The laboratory currently houses imaging facilities for three different
MR systems that are 100% dedicated to basic science and medical imaging
research. In addition, there are wet labs for conducting experiments, an
image viewing room equipped with computers and picture archiving
and communications system (PACS) workstations, a physics laboratory
for radiofrequency coil design, an electronics laboratory for component
fabrication, a software development laboratory for image analysis, and office
space for faculty, support scientists, staff and students.
MR Imaging Systems
The whole-body 3T Philips Achieva Magnetic
Resonance Imaging System
is equipped with quazar dual switched gradient
ampufier that support high resolution and rapid dynamic
functional imaging research. This MR scanner is equipped
for ultra-fast anatomic, diffusion, spectroscopic, and
functional MR imaging.
The Bruker 4.7T magnet with a 30cm bore is equipped
with high-speed 100mT/m gradients and a Varian spectrometer
console. This system is capable of high-resolution
imaging and broadband spectroscopy. It supports research
in the areas of human muscle energetics, perfusion,
molecular imaging and multinuclear spectroscopy.
The 7T vertical magnet with a 7.5cm bore is fitted with
custom gradients and RF hardware designed and built in
the MR Research Laboratory. Software and pulse sequences
developed on this system are readily transportable to
the 4.7T scanner. This system is used primarily for multinuclear
spectroscopy studies and microscopic MR
MR Scanner Simulator
The MR scanner simulator is designed to mimic the
experience of a scanning session on the 3T scanner.
This scanner has the exact geometrical bore
configuration as the actual scanner and is used to acquaint
patients with the simulated experience of the scanner prior
to an MRI scan. The system is complete with a simulated head coil,
audio/video projection system and synthesized sounds that duplicate
the noise produced by actual MR imaging sequences. The MR
simulator has proven especially valuable for training both children and
adults in the performance of complex tasks used for functional MR brain Imaging (fMRI) experiments.
Stimulus Delivery Facilities
The MR Research Laboratory has a fmri stimulus delivery package that from MRA Inc. It includes video, audio and all identical software and responses button box.
Electronics / RF Coil Laboratory
The Electronics/RF Coil Laboratory is a site for the development of
novel and custom radiofrequency (RF) coils for the UW research and
clinical MR scanners. Scientists in this laboratory also design custom
electronic devices for use in the MR magnet environment such as push
buttons for response recording and video presentation devices.
Data Analysis Workstations
The MR Research Laboratory computer resources include a variety of
Linux, Macintosh, Sun, SGI and PC workstations. These workstations
offer a broad array of analysis software including
MEDx, Matlab, SPM, FSL, Brain Voyager, Measure, and
Adobe Photoshop as well as custom image analysis
software developed in the laboratory.
Image reading room
Besides the PACS workstations, the laboratory
is also equipped with Image Storage and Retreival system in a reading room. Specialized
programs have been developed and are available
to facilitate the transfer of data from laboratory
computers to individual scientistís computers throughout
the UW system.
The MR Research Lab is designed to perform research studies on out-patients and is equipped with
a reception area and waiting, interview, recovery, and changing rooms.
All subjects must be enrolled in research protocols approved by the institution's
IRB and screened for contraindications both at enrollment and immediately prior to the study.
Signed informed consent is mandatory. Physiological and visual monitoring will be in place during
the study as is normal clinical practice. Personnel (registered nurse, physician) and provisions
for medical supplies and support (code cart, respiratory suction) are available in the immediate
location of the MR rooms in the event of an emergency.
Subjects and family members are asked to wait in the waiting room.
The large, modern climate-controlled waiting room is equipped with comfortable
chairs and reading material.
A practice room exists for preparing study subjects for the fMRI portion of their scan.
Use of the practice rooms is on a first-come first-served basis, for up to one hour time
periods during the Lab's open hours.