Welcome to the Biomedical Research Imaging Center

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    News, Events, & Announcements

    • A note from the Director, Weili Lin, PhD.:

      Please join me in welcoming Dr. Zibo Li as our newest BRIC faculty member! Dr. Li is a radiochemist by training and is an Associate Professor of Radiology with a joint appointment in the BRIC.  He will assume the responsibility as the Director of Radiochemistry and Cyclotron Facility here at the BRIC.

      Dr. Li joins us from the University of Southern California, where his research has been focused on the development and validation of novel radiolabeling methods and multimodality molecular imaging probes for various disease including cancer, diabetes, neuro-disease, and cardio vasculature disease. To be more specific, the major efforts of his current research include: 1) developing novel radiochemistry for cancer diagnosis, neuroimaging, cardiac imaging, diabetic research, drug discovery and development, and targeted radionuclide therapy;  2) developing multimodality molecular imaging agents; 3) developing novel nanotechnology and its biomedical applications; 4) developing pre-targeted drug delivery system for cancer imaging and therapy; and 5) performing PET related translational research.

      Dr. Li will lead the cyclotron and research radiochemistry program and UNC, which is located on the second basement (SB) of the Marsico Hall. The heart of the Radiochemistry Facility include a GE PETtrace cyclotron and a cGMP lab for the production of radioisotopes/radiotracers for clinical/clinical-research use; a research radiochemistry lab (fully equipped with hot cells and automated modules) for large scale production/process optimization of research radiopharmaceuticals; and a small scale R&D lab to develop new labeling reactions and radiopharmaceuticals.

      To contact Dr. Li, please write Ziboli@email.unc.edu .

      Thank you all, and welcome to UNC, Dr. Li! We are thrilled to have you join us!

    • One of Dr. Charlotte Boettiger's undergraduate students, Michael Parrish, was selected as one of the three Celebration of Undergraduate Research 2014 poster winners based on resting state fMRI data collected at the BRIC! His research will be on display next year in the undergraduate library. Congratulations, Michael!

    • We have important information regarding the transition to Marsico Hall listed HERE, or you can click on the tab at the top of this page labeled "Marsico Hall News."

    • The Herald Sun has an article about the opening HERE. Check it out!

    • Our new building, Marsico Hall, is officially OPEN! We are so excited to get settled in our new location and continue our research in this state-of-the-art facility! There was a dedication ceremony yesterday, March 27th, to dedicate the building to its namesake, the Marsico family. They have been generous donors to the School of Medicine over the years, and we are so thankful they were able to contribute to this wonderful building.
      We will be updating our website with details about the equipment move and how to schedule machine use in the future. After we move the equipment over, we will need to calibrate our systems and make sure everything is operating perfectly. Stay tuned for updates and more photos!
      Marsico Building Front with frame
    • BRIC Seminar Series: March 12th 1:00-2:00, 1131 Bioinformatics
      Daniel Alexander, Ph.D.
      Professor, Imaging Sciences, University College, London
      Microstructure Imaging with Diffusion MRI


      My talk will focus on the activities of my group in developing microstructure imaging techniques using MRI.  The microstructure imaging paradigm, or non-invasive histology, aims to estimate and map histological feature of tissue non-invasively. Diffusion MRI sensitises the MR signal to the dispersion of water arising from diffusion.  It is a key technique in microstructure imaging, because it gives unique sensitivity to the cellular architecture of tissue, which determines the pattern of water dispersion.  Other MR modalities, such as relaxometry, magnetisation transfer, and susceptibility imaging can also contribute.  I will talk about the different steps in developing microstructure imaging techniques: development of the biophysical models that underpin parameter estimation (Panagiotaki et al Neuroimage 2012; Ferizi et al MRM 2014); the design of imaging sequences and protocols that provide and maximise sensitivity (Alexander MRM 2008; Drobnjak et al JMR 2010); specific techniques that emerge such as ActiveAx (Alexander et al Neuroimage 2010; Zhang et al Neuroimage 2011) and NODDI (Zhang et al Neuroimage 2012) for neuroimaging, and VERDICT (Panagiotaki et al Cancer Research 2014) for cancer imaging; and their validation and application.

    • Due to the weather we have had to cancel the seminar series on 2/12 with Brad Postle. He will reschedule his presentation--date TBD.
    • Our first facility seminar this year will be hold on Feb 4th focusing on contrasts agent for microCT imaging!
      Seminar Title: Contrast and Conquer: Gold and X-Rays from Vascular Visualization to Curing Cancer
      Speaker:  Richard Powell, Ph.D., Research Director, Nanoprobes, Inc.

      Date:  Tuesday, Feb 4th, 2014
      Time:  1:00-2:00 PM
      Location: BRIC conference, (Medical Research D Building, BRIC Facility building)

      (Refreshments will be served)

      Group discussion: 2:00-3:00 PM

      [Seminar Abstract]

      Gold nanoparticles absorb X-rays efficiently, and are highly effective as contrast agents for preclinical micro-CT imaging. A highly stable, biocompatible and low toxicity reagent using gold nanoparticles of different sizes has been developed and optimized to image different systems.  AuroVist™-15 nm provides a long blood pool residence time of up to 24 hours and has been found to provide the highest attenuation and resolution available for imaging the vascular system. AuroVist™-1.9 nm is cleared through the kidneys, and therefore affords high contrast imaging of kidney fine structure. Both are also highly effective for tumor imaging as they pass through the vascular endothelium and accumulate selectively in tumors through the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. In addition to their use as blood pool agents, the preparation of novel targeted contrast agents will be discussed and examples of tumor imaging using targeted gold nanoparticles will be presented. Gold and other metal nanoparticles have also proven highly effective both as enhancers for radiotherapy, and in a number of methods for cancer therapy, including infrared photothermal therapy, and magnetic nanoparticle hyperthermia. 

    • New BRIC Faculty Camelia Kuhnen was recently on NPR talking about the psychology of risk-taking behaviors. Dr. Kuhnen came to UNC from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. She combines brain imaging with an understanding of finance and human behavior, producing fascinating results. Read about the story here.

    • Congratulations to BRIC Faculty Wei Gao! His paper entitled “Development of Human Brain Cortical Network Architecture during Infancy” was just accepted for Brain Structure and Function (Impact factor: 7.837). Outstanding work, as usual!
    • Dr. Pei Zhang, a postdoc in Dr. Yap's group, has received an honorable mention for the MICCAI Young Scientist Award! Congratulations, Dr. Zhang and Dr. Yap for your great accomplishment! The award recognized the work listed below:
      Each year, the MICCAI conference presents a number of awards to graduate students and early career scientists for outstanding papers published at the MICCAI proceedings. These papers will initially be short-listed by the program committee and then considered by the awards committee. The winners will be selected based on reviews and oral/poster presentations at the conference.

      P. Zhang, M. Niethammer, D. Shen, P.-T. Yap, “Large Deformation Diffeomorphic Registration of Diffusion-Weighted Images with Explicit Orientation Optimization,” Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention (MICCAI 2013), Nagoya, Japan, Sep. 22-26, 2013. (Acceptance Rate: 262 / 798 = 32.8%; Oral Presentation: 37 / 781 = 4.6%; MICCAI Young Scientist Award – Honorable Mention)

    • Check out this adorable MRI instructional video for kids! Special Thanks to Juanita Ramirez, the sensational Gia, and our Human Imaging Techs: Amber Leinwand, Emilie Kearns, Hannah McNamara, and Meagan Shepherd!