The Center for Advanced Imaging (CAI) is about 10,000 sq. ft. and includes two MRI bays which house a 1.5T 32 channel Siemens Avanto and a 3T Siemens Verio. There are subject preparation rooms, an image processing lab, RF development lab, animal preparation room, C-arm for endovascular and other x-ray based imaging, cubicles for research staff, students and fellow, lounge and storage space. Additionally, all senior investigators have offices on the floor above, with administrative support and conference room facilities.
We have a dedicated image processing lab (350 sq.ft) equipped with a GE Advantage workstation, 4 PCs with Linux and equipped with several standard image processing software including MATLAB, SPM, AFNI, parallel image reconstruction software PMRI and in-house routines for networking, data reformatting, multi-plane reformatting, 3D volume rendering, etc. In addition, Compaq PC, Hewlett Packard Series 700 and Sun Sparcstations including a Sparc Server 1000, two CPUs, four Sparc 20s, four Sparc 5s, and two Xterm are available within the Radiology Department with custom designed image processing tools, spreadsheet, statistics, and graphical software needed for data processing and analysis. Additional resources include a Mitsubishi image printer, Kodak laser cameras, an AGFA Forte Film recorder and a Nikon slide scanner.
Functional MRI (fMRI) requires the participant to perform specified tasks on cue, which requires interaction between participant and computer (or person) running the task. Tasks at our site can be presented and controlled with an onsite workstation equipped with Eprime and SuperLab software or through a guest user’s laptop computer; a trigger signal from the scanner allows precise synchronization of tasks with the acquisition of scanner images. State-of-the-art equipment provides a user-friendly visual display (stimuli rear-projected onto a screen using the Avotec Silent Vision 6011 system), auditory presentation via sound-attenuated headphones (MR Confon), a microphone system that allows participant speech to be monitored during scanner operation (OptoAcoustics), and a behavioral response pad to record participant responses (a 4-button response pad for one hand [Current Designs Model HH-1x4-L] or a 2-button response pad for each hand [Cedrus Lumina LP400-pair]). Exceptional clarity for auditory presentation and vocal feedback is achieved through sound-attenuation technology that reduces the impact of scanner noise.
A simulator is available to train participants while acclimating them to the scanner environment. An MRI-compatible recliner (Magmedix) facilitates transport of participants with limited mobility.
In addition to whole body scanners in CAI, we have the Center for Basic MR Research available for studies, it is walking distance from Evanston Hospital and has three scanners:
- Biospec Avance 4.7T 40-cm bore horizontal axis superconducting magnet
- Bruker Avance 600WB 89-mm bore vertical axis superconducting magnet that is capable of multinuclear micro-imaging, multinuclear spectroscopy and gradient enhanced spectroscopy and
- Biospec Avance 9.4T 305 mm bore horizontal axis, actively shielded superconducting magnet is capable of multinuclear spectroscopy and imaging.
The NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute provides comprehensive statistical and epidemiological support. There is a dedicated electronics and machine shop to support FR coil and other hardware development, fabrication and maintenance of NMR instrumentation. The shop is equipped with an HP network analyzer with T/R and impedance test sets, Wavetek sweep generator, directional coupler and oscilloscope, Tektronix 150 MHz and 400 MHz oscilloscopes, Bird RF Power analyzer, BK precision capacitance meter, Fluke RMS multimeter, drill press with full drill set, band saw, X-Y machine vice and electrical and hand tools for soldering, drilling, wire wrapping and connector crimping, In addition, the Northwestern University campus (within walking distance) provides excellent machine shop support which can be utilized for larger jobs. The laboratory is also equipped with a programmable fluid pump for simulative flow phantom studies.
The NorthShore University HealthSystem clinical MR department at Evanston Hospital consists of two GE Medical Systems including a 1.5T GE Excite system, a 1.5T Siemens Avanto to be operational in June 2009 and an Advantage workstation. There is a Medrad patient monitor (HR, BP (cuff and invasive), pO2) and a power injector for administration of contrast medium. These facilities can be utilized for inpatient research studies.