Small-Animal Magnetic Resonance Facility

The Small Animal MR Facility includes a Bruker 9.4-T (400-MHz) MRI system, an Agilent/Varian DirectDrive 4.7-T (200-MHz) MRI system, and an Agilent/Varian DirectDrive 11.74-T (500-MHz) MRI system, all housed in on-grade adjoining suites.  The magnetic field strengths of BMRL scanners are substantially higher than generally encountered in clinical systems, typically 0.5 – 3.0 T.  Advantages of high field are chiefly related to signal-to-noise ratio gains, which translate into improved spatial or temporal resolution for imaging and improved accuracy of resonance amplitude and frequency estimates for spectroscopy.  Immediately adjacent to the MR scanner bays are animal holding and procedure rooms, a wet chemistry lab, an electronics lab and a climate-controlled room holding computer server and data archival devices.

The following links provide additional information about Small-Animal MR Facility resources:

MRI Scanners
RF Coils
Animal Procedure Support
Wet Chemistry and Electronic Support

Computers, Data Storage, and Internet - The Bruker 9.4-T MRI scanner is controlled by a Hewlett-Packard Z4 G4 workstation with 6-core Intel ® Xeon CPU, 2 TB hard-disk capacity, 64 GB of RAM, and a NVIDIA Quadro P2000 GPU.  The Agilent 4.7-T scanner is controlled by a quad-processor Dell T3500N workstation with 3 TB hard disk capacity and 12 GB of RAM.  The Agilent 11.74T scanner is controlled by a dual-processor Dell T3500N workstation with 2 TB hard-disk capacity and 12 GB of RAM. These machines are fully integrated into the University network, allowing users to run experiments overnight from home.

Separate from the computers that control the MRI scanners, the Facility and the BMRL maintain considerable computer hardware resources for off-line MR data analysis, archival, and backup.  Hardware is divided between older, but highly functional, Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA; USA) equipment, and newer Dell, Inc. (Round Rock, TX, USA) systems running under the Linux operating system. The Dell resources include: a Dell PowerEdge 6850 system with four quad-core (16 CPUs) 3 GHz Xeon processors, 32 GB of memory and 870 GB of disk space; three Dell PowerEdge 2900 systems with two quad-core (8 CPUs) 2.6 GHz and 3.1 GHz Xeon processors, 24 GB, 32 GB and 48 GB of memory and 1.7 TB, 7 TB, and 7.2 TB of raid5 disk space; two Dell T610 systems (16 and 24 CPUs) 2.6 GHz Xeon processors, 24 GB and 48 GB of memory and 4.5 TB of raid5 disk space; and a Dell Power Edge R900 with four six-core (24 CPUs) 2.4 GHz Xeon processors with 48 GB memory and 500 GB of disk space. 

There are three additional Dell PowerEdge 840 systems with quad-core 2.6 GHz CPUs and 8 GB of memory. One is dedicated to handling the mail and web servers, one for performing computations, and one serves as the backup system (vide infra). A Dell Precision 340 with a 2.0 GHz processor, 512 MB of memory and 220 GB of disk space run the scanner accounting software. Sun Microsystems resources include: one dual-processor Sun Blade 2500 with UltraSPARC IIIi 1.6 GHz CPU; one dual-processor Sun Ultra 45 with UltraSPARC-IIIi 1.5 GHz CPU.

Extensive use is also made of a new IBM (Armonk, NY) supercomputer sited in the Center for High Performance Computing at Washington University. This machine was configured, in part, to meet the growing needs of MR researchers who employ the BMRL’s Bayesian probability theory-based computational toolbox, which requires shared memory architecture. It supplements the capabilities of the Dell and Sun shared memory workstations described above. The system includes: nine 3650 Management and Interface nodes, each with dual quad-core processors; an iDataPlex Cluster consisting of 168 Dx360M2 nodes, each with dual quad-core Nehalem processors and 24 GB RAM; an e1350 Cluster consisting of seven 3950M2 SMP servers each with 64 cores and 256 GB RAM; a 288 port Qlogic Infiniband switch to interconnect all processors and storage nodes; and 9 TB of high speed storage. Connectivity to the system is provided by a 10 GB/sec data transfer network.

Research staff and students of the BMRL are each provided with a Dell PC. The machines are equipped with the latest technology of the purchase date to satisfy computational needs and network connectivity.

Computational Software
Data Archival and Backup

Apply for MIR Pilot Studies Funding

Small-Animal MR Imaging Facility Scheduler