Small Animal Magnetic Resonance Facility

Services & Equipment


The 11.74-T Agilent MRI scanner employs a 26-cm clear bore diameter horizontal Magnex magnet. The console is multinuclear and dual channel. High-performance, actively shielded Magnex gradient/shim coil assemblies of 15- and 8-cm inner diameter are driven by Copley Controls (Canton, MA) high-performance gradient amplifiers (~ 350 V and 200 A) providing ~30 and 120 gauss/cm respectively per axis with rise times of ~200 µs.

The 4.7-T Agilent MRI scanner is also multinuclear and dual channel, employing horizontal Oxford Instruments (Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK) magnets of 40- cm clear bore diameter. The 40-cm system utilizes a current generation, actively shielded Resonance Research Inc. gradient/shim coil assembly of 11.5-cm, driven by Oy International Electric Company (IEC; Helsinki, Finland) model A-240 amplifiers

The 9.4-T Bruker MRI scanner, newly installed in the fall of 2020, has a 20-cm clear bore, is multinuclear, and has four receiver channels. The gradient system has a 11.4-cm inner diameter, is driven by IEC amplifiers (500 V / 300 A), and is capable of delivering 66 gauss/cm with a rise time of 70 µs.  Notably, this scanner includes a 4-channel array mouse brain CryoProbe which offers substantially improved SNR over traditional RF coils.

Space & Additional Equipment

  • The Facility maintains a substantial suite of commercial (manufactured by Stark Contrast, Agilent/Varian, Bruker, and Doty Scientific) and laboratory-constructed RF coils. These include a wide array of both quadrature volume coils and surface coils. In particular, the Facility has developed substantial experience and expertise in performing MR experiments using actively-decoupled surface (receive) / volume (transmit) coil pairs. This coil arrangement takes advantage of the high sensitivity of the surface coil and the excellent RF homogeneity of the volume coil.
  • The 9.4-T Bruker MRI system supports actively decoupled receiver coils with up to four channels. Currently available multi-channel array coils on that system include a 4-channel mouse brain surface coil and a 4-channel mouse brain CryoProbe, which offers a 2-3x increase in SNR over our more traditional ‘room temperature’ 4-channel array coil. In addition we have a 4-channel rat brain surface coil.

Across the hall from the surgical suite are two dedicated, specially-designed, 150-sq-ft holding rooms for animals. These small-animal quarters are managed by the Division of Comparative Medicine. The University also maintains state-of-the-art barrier and non-barrier animal facilities immediately across the street. A modern histology facility, outfitted with equipment for intracardiac animal perfusion, embedding brain tissue in paraffin or plastic, tissue sectioning, tissue staining, and histologic analysis (either by electron microscope, light microscope or computer-aided image analysis) is also located nearby.

Wet-chemical and electronic labs are located on either side of the surgical suite. The 200-sq-ft wet lab is equipped with a refrigerator/freezer for storage of compounds, an analytical balance, and a centrifuge. The 200 sq ft electronic lab, which includes RF oscilloscopes and a network analyzer, is well equipped for coil design and spectrometer modification.

Computational Software

  • Matlab
  • Mathematica
  • In-house developed Bayesian analysis toolbox
  • Sun (Solaris) and Intel (Linux) compilers for parallel programming in OPENMP
  • Image-Pro Plus
  • Analyze
  • Image

Contact Us

For more information or to start a new project, email James Quirk, PhD.


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