MRRC: Facilities

Major Equipment

The MR Research Center (MRRC) is a state of the art facility located on the 8th floor of Presbyterian University Hospital (PUH) with a satellite facility in Biological Science Tower 3 (BST3) located 5 min. walk from the MRRC, a University of Pittsburgh Building. The MRRC at PUH houses and operates: three 3T Siemens Prisma systems; and a 3T MRI/PET Siemens Biograph system; while the 7T human whole body Siemens system is located in BST3.

Research Scanners

7T Human System:

The 7T Siemens whole body human system was installed in 2007 and has 32 independent receive channels, and 8 independent transmit channels. A variety of transceiver arrays including 8x1 8x2 and 16x1 (coils per row x rows) are available for 1H studies. The coils with greater than 8 channels are supported by a set of configurable 8->16 channel splitters. The 8x2 transceiver array includes an integrated eye tracking and mirror system within the RF coil shell for stimulus presentation. A double frequency (1H/31P) 8x1 transceiver array is also available. A very high order shim insert (Resonance Research Inc., all 2nd-4th degree shims + 4 5th degree shims) is available to support MRSI and EPI based imaging. The system is equipped with 10A power supplies and dynamic updating (100us switching time). In December of 2016, the 7T system was upgraded to Step 2.3. This system is located at BST3.

3T Prisma #1:

This system was installed in March of 2016, and is a 64-channel system equipped with Connectome level gradients operating at 80mT/m. The Prisma system features new electronics, with the first stage of mix down located at the RF coil interface and the RF amplifiers mounted to the magnet. The system is equipped with an fMRI paradigm presentation system for functional studies. The system is equipped with a 64 channel head and neck receive only array and a variety of standard RF coils for imaging of the spine and body. The system is equipped with an fMRI paradigm presentation system for functional studies including E-Prime for stimulus presentation, an Avotec MR compatible video projector, Celeritas response gloves, an Avotec eye tracking system and an Avotec audio system with low profile headphones. The system can perform 1H spectroscopy but is not currently capable of multinuclear MR spectroscopy. This system is located at PUH.

3T Prisma #2:

This system was installed in January of 2018, and is a 128-channel system equipped with Connectome level gradients operating at 80mT/m. The Prisma system features new electronics, with the first stage of mix down located at the RF coil interface and the RF amplifiers mounted to the magnet. The system is equipped with 32 and 64 channel head and neck receive only arrays and a variety of standard RF coils for imaging of the spine and body. The system is equipped with an fMRI paradigm presentation system for functional studies including E-Prime for stimulus presentation, an Avotec MR compatible video projector, Celeritas response gloves, an Avotec eye tracking system and an Avotec audio system with low profile headphones. The system can perform 1H spectroscopy and multinuclear MR spectroscopy. This system is located at PUH.

3T Prisma #3:

This system was installed in June of 2020, and is a 64-channel system equipped with Connectome level gradients operating at 80mT/m. The Prisma system features new electronics, with the first stage of mix down located at the RF coil interface and the RF amplifiers mounted to the magnet. The system is equipped with 32 and 64 channel head and neck receive only arrays and a variety of standard RF coils for imaging of the spine and body. The system is equipped with an fMRI paradigm presentation system for functional studies including E-Prime for stimulus presentation, an Avotec MR compatible video projector, Celeritas response gloves, an Avotec eye tracking system and an Avotec audio system with low profile headphones. The system can perform 1H spectroscopy but is not currently capable of multinuclear MR spectroscopy. This system is located at PUH.

3T Biograph:

This is a combined PET/MRI system installed in 2012 and is capable of simultaneous acquisition of both PET and MRI data. This design incorporates low-attenuation materials into the MRI coils to minimize attenuation of the PET signals, resulting in outstanding 3T MRI performance and a high-resolution PET exam. The system is equipped with a full range of RF coils including head and neck coils, body and spine arrays and a specialty knee coil. The system is equipped with an fMRI paradigm presentation system for functional studies including E-Prime for stimulus presentation, an Avotec MR compatible video projector, Celeritas response gloves, an Avotec eye tracking system and an Avotec audio system with low profile headphones. The system can perform 1H spectroscopy but is not currently capable of multinuclear MR spectroscopy. This system is located at PUH.

7T Resources/Facilities with Bioengineering-specific Equipment:

Click here for more information.

Other:

The MRRC has an electronics machine shop for fabrication and repairs of support equipment. A decommissioned 3T Trio is used along with a PST head motion tracker is available for acclimating subjects to the magnet environment.

Computing, Networking, and Data Transfer

Three independent, but interconnected, LAN's support the operation of the MRRC, a research network, an administrative network and a scanner network. The computational power for the research network is supplied by multiple server resources. These resources include an eight node linux CPU cluster providing 16 Intel Xeon E5-2690 2.90GHz Eight-Core Processors, 2 TB DDR3-1600 Reg ECC Memory and operating on 6Gb/s Interface Solid State Drives. Another resource is a linux GPU cluster with four Nvidia M2090 GPUs, two Intel Xeon E5-2667 2.90GHz Six-Core Processors, 256GB DDR3-1600 Reg ECC Memory and operating on 6Gb/s Interface Solid State Drives. The MRRC also utilizes a Linux cluster with four 2.0GHz dual-core Opterons. The Linux servers provide over 200TB of online data storage.

Access to the servers is performed through multiple Linux, Macintosh, and Windows workstations. The cluster resources are connected via InfiniBand Switch. All computers on the research network are interconnected by a 1Gb/s LAN. Commercial software for image analysis (AVS, SAGE, IDL, Analyze, MATLAB) as well as freeware packages (FSL, SPM, MIPAV) complements the development of customized software for individual projects.