Replacement and upgrade of electronics and gradients for preclinical magnetic resonance imaging
The current small animal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) infrastructure at the KU Leuven core facility ‘Molecular Small Animal Imaging Center (MoSAIC)’ is one of the most heavily used equipment for in vivo validation of experimental disease and therapy models, indicating its importance for biomedical research. MRI not only provides anatomical information with high resolution and high soft tissue contrast but also functional information such as brain activity, heart contractility and volume of blood ejected per myocardial contraction, tissue perfusion (MR angiography, blood flow and volume), tissue connectivity (muscle, neuronal fiber tracking, calcium transport along synapses), metabolism (MR spectroscopy), tissue elasticity (cartilage or liver), cell tracking etc.
The current workhorse at MoSAIC, the 9.4T/20cm Bruker Biospec ;3Mio €, installed 2007) was used 7 days a week/ 24 hrs a day (85-90% of full occupancy). However, aging has its toll, indicated not only by increased service and repair costs (lately >0.1Mio € p.a.) but also by increased downtimes, affecting research projects of many research groups. In order to overcome these problems at a reasonable cost, we plan to replace/ upgrade the most fragile and important parts, the electronics (console) and the gradients. This will also improve performance of the system by enabling more recent developments (pulse sequences) and improving temporal and spatial resolution, bringing the system to a state-of-the-art level again.