The University of Chicago MRI Research Center is dedicated to supporting clinical and basic research studies that include MR imaging components. The MRIRC houses two MRI scanners and employs experienced support staff that includes three MRI Physicists, of which one is a Certified Medical Physicist with Special Competency in MRI Physics (ABMP), two highly experienced MR Technologists, and one Clinical Research Coordinator.
The MRI scanners sited at the MRIRC are a Philips Achieva 3.0T scanner and a Philips Ingenia 3.0T wide-bore scanner, both equipped with dStream technology and the latest, state-of-the-art operating software. The scanners are equipped for neuro, body, cardiac, musculoskeletal imaging in adult and pediatric patients, as well as animal imaging. The scanners have the necessary equipment for clinical trials and functional MRI (fMRI), including devices for presenting visual and auditory stimuli during fMRI scans and for recording behavioral responses. The Philips Ingenia scanner is equipped with MRI-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). Support from veterinary technologists with specialized imaging experience is available from the Integrated Small Animal Imaging Research Resource and the Animal Care Facility.
The MRIRC supports a wide range of studies originating in the UC Comprehensive Cancer Center; the Departments of Cardiology, Endocrinology, Health Studies, Nephrology, Neurobiology, Neurology, Oncology, Organismal Biology and Anatomy, Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences, Psychology, Radiation & Cellular Oncology, Radiology, and Surgery; as well as outside institutions including Rush Medical Center, Lurie Children’s Hospital, and Illinois Institute of Technology. Both imaging and interventional studies (HIFU, laser ablation) have been conducted or are ongoing at the MRIRC.
The MR Physicists at the MRIRC are responsible for technical aspects of study initiation and perform ongoing quality control, ensuring high image quality and data integrity. In addition, they collaborate with principal investigators on development of specialized MRI protocols, custom QA protocols, as well as innovative MRI and data analysis methods. Research at the MRIRC includes development of new fMRI methods, MRI methods for characterizing stroke, breast, and prostate cancer imaging, use of quantitative MRI in clinical trials, including improvements in quantitative MRI methods, and development of new cardiac imaging methods.