Research MRI Facilities
The MRI Service Center is run by the Division of MR Research in the Department of Radiology and directed by Dr. Paul Bottomley. It operates three MRI scanners for 100% research use, but they are also available for clinical use, if needed. The scanners are:
1. A Philips 32-channel 3 Tesla (T) Achieva MRI system equipped with an X-ray C-arm, broadband magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), and a high-frequency focused ultrasound unit for image-guided ablation therapy;
2. A Siemens 3T Trio with up to 64 channels that has been upgraded to a Prisma, and has broadband MRS; and
3. A 1.5T Siemens Espree equipped with a full angiographic floor-mounted X-ray fluoroscopic suite, a miyabi table transfer system for the purpose of developing interventional MRI and is equipped with a Gilead cryo-ablation system.
All scanners have fairly comprehensive sets of phased arrays, and surface coils, and physiological monitoring equipment. The scanners are supported by machine rates that are charged at hourly rates in 15 min increments, as well as daily and monthly lease rates. Lower off-peak hourly rates without have Radiology Technologist (RT) support, are also available for development work at night and weekends (6 PM to 8 AM Monday to Friday, all day on Weekends). Current rates are posted at the link below. During prime time during the week (8AM to 6PM Monday to Friday) clinical MRI support is provided by 2 RTs who are supported by the MRI Service Center.
The FM Kirby Center for functional Brain Imaging in the Kennedy Krieger Institute, located near the main hospital, also has two Philips 3T and one Philips 7T MRI systems and associated monitoring equipment. The facilities are described at https://www.kennedykrieger.org/kirby-research-center. The systems are available for 100% research, generally intended for neuroscience applications. The Kirby Center is supported by an NIH resource grant and is directed by Dr Peter van Zijl in the Division of MR Research.
Small-bore NMR/MRI systems -The Division of MR Research manages 2 other smaller bore NMR/MRI Service Centers suitable for studies of animal models, cell systems, and in vitro studies.
- The NMR Service Center - has 400 MHz and 500 MHz Bruker NMR spectrometers, and a Bruker 4.7T 40 cm-horizontal bore spectrometer/imager equipped with rapid-switching gradient coils.
- The Molecular Imaging Center – is located in the Broadway Research Building and is primarily geared to animal genetic models in a closed environment. It has a Bruker horizontal bore 9.4T animal system, in addition to an eXplore Vista small animal PET scanner, a SPECT-CT system, an IVIS Xenogen 200 optical imaging system for mice and rats, a VisualSonics small animal ultrasound unit, and a Faxitron MX-20 specimen radiography system.
Data Analysis and Computer Facilities
The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions has facilities and resources for the development of MRI/MRS pulse sequences, image analysis software, and data analysis, all currently located in the main Johns Hopkins Hospital. These include computers from Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) and Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Sun), DELL and Apple computers which are all heavily used by researchers. The workstations include simulators for pulse sequence development for the Philips 3T Achieva, Siemens Trio/Prisma 3T and Espree 1.5T research MRI scanners, which are operated and maintained by the MRI Service Center directed by Dr. Paul A Bottomley and managed by Mr. Hugh Wall. In addition, research agreements have been negotiated between JHU and Philips and Siemens to provide access to source codes for certain MRI sequences as well as pulse sequence development software for the Philips and Siemens scanners. These can generally be made accessible to researchers via application to the manufacturers or as part of collaborative projects, subject to certain restrictions.
All of the computers and the MRI scanners are attached to a common ethernet network. This facilitates transfer of pulse sequences and MRI data, minimizing cycle time for developing MRI pulse sequences, and intra- and inter-group communication. Software has been installed and developed to facilitate development and debugging, communication, image processing, and data analysis. There is at least 500 GB of disk storage distributed throughout these facilities.
The Division of MR Research has two people dedicated to the management of the computer facilities and data, Joe Gillen and Yohannes Afework. They manage the computer resources, maintaining and improving operability of the workstations and network, developing software and algorithms, assisting with technical problems that arise, and managing image data produced by the Division's research programs. Data are organized and archived on writeable magneto-optical cartridges, 4 mm DAT tape and/or CDs and/or DVDs.
In addition, the Department of Radiology has a "Center for Biomedical Visualization" (CBMV), an open access computer facility for the development of visualization software for medical applications. Within the division of MR Research, this is managed by Meiyappan Solaiyappan and is equipped with SGI computers to accommodate the development of extremely graphics-intensive applications and real time image processing. This resource is available at a charge to department researchers.
Animal studies are performed under the supervision of the Animal Care and Use Committee of the Johns Hopkins University. Animals are housed in the Ross Building in a facility administered by the Research Animal Resources of the Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology. This facility is accredited by the American Association for the Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care and meets Federal guidelines. All animals are assessed daily by our veterinary technician or the Research Animal Resources personnel. In addition, the animals are assessed daily by a veterinarian in the Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology.
A fully equipped animal lab is located within the MRI Research Facility in the Houck basement adjacent to the Bruker 4.7 T MRI instruments. The laboratory has a mobile X-ray fluoroscope, surgical table, anesthesia machines and monitoring equipment, and is managed and operated by Dr. Dara Kraitchman, a licensed veterinarian.
Electronics Laboratories and Shop Facilities
Two electronics shops, one located behind the animal laboratory, the other on the 3rd floor of the Park Building have a variety of equipment and space for testing, building, and repairing MRI coils (350 MHz Tektronix oscilloscope, Wavetek Frequency Generator, a frequency synthesizer, drills, soldering equipment, a HP network analyzer, an RF noise meter, etc). The facility is overseen by the MRI Service Center and includes a partially-supported an engineer, Parag Karmarkar.
A fully equipped machine shop, located on campus and run by the Department of Biomedical Engineering, is also available on a charge-for-service basis.