The MR Research Facility

The MR Research Center aims to maintain state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. This requires an investment in both the hardware and software that compose our center's mainstay, and also an investment in recruiting and maintaining exceptional personnel. To that end, we have been actively pursuing development in the following areas to advance the research at our University...

Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) - This is of interest mainly for evaluation of brain morphology changes associated with neurological and psychiatric disorders. We have been working on novel schemes for rotating the diffusion tensor and multishot approaches for high resolution Diffusion Tensor Imaging. We are also working on tools for fiber tracking. These tools are currently available through the Neuroimaging Informatics Tools and Resources Clearinghouse.

T1rho Imaging - The primary application of this technique is to assess and quantify pathologic cartilage matrix changes that are not detectable with standard morphological MRI. Initial work has focused on the knee joint in an ACL injury population to determine the suitability of T1rho as an imaging biomarker for early detection of osteoarthritis. Broader application to the ankle and hip joints are also being explored. We are also evaluating the utilization of this method to study pH changes that may result from stress including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression.

Arterial Spin Labeling – Using the Siemens ASL WIP for VB13, we have started to evaluate this technique for functional brain activation studies. To date we have successfully generated reproducible measurements within the occipital cortex and are starting to evaluate higher order cognitive activation studies.

MR Spectroscopy – We have been working on tools for partial volume correction of brain MR spectroscopy studies and have been able to obtain the PEPSI sequence from Stefan Posse. Various pilot studies are currently being conducted using 1H-MRS, and at least one research group has voiced interest in evaluating treatment trials in Huntington’s disease using 1H-MRS.

Magnetic Source Imaging – Dr. Jinhu Xiong is currently working on assessing the validity and reliability of magnetic source imaging. This is a potentially powerful tool to understand brain function at a high temporal and spatial resolution.

 

Iowa Institute for Biomedical Discovery

Construction has been completed on the Iowa Institute of Biomedical Discovery (IIBD) facility. The new building will house 8 floors of dedicated research space, 198,000 gross ft2 of space, a 15,000 ft2 imaging facility and 15,000 - 30,000 ft2 dedicated to high-risk, high-gain product-orientated research.