Congratualations to Dr. Ian Shih and then entire BRIC Center for Animal MRI team on the recently awarded S10 grant to upgrade the advance neo system on the Bruker 9.4T!
Animal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill has been supported by a single Bruker Biospec 9.4T/30cm animal MRI system installed in 2006. This scanner has been widely utilized by 96 investigators in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, with the majority of the research projects focusing on the brain. This application requests funds to upgrade the outdated AVANCE II console on this 9.4T/30cm system. Our primary Justification of Need is that the AVANCE II console is no longer qualified for a maintenance service contract and cannot reliably serve ongoing and future NIMH-funded projects. Despite our efforts to upgrade the system hardware over the past few years, our scanner console is now 14 years old and is at its “end of life”. The out-of-date electronics on the AVANCE II console not only prevents the development and application of new brain imaging techniques at high spatiotemporal resolution, but also creates lengthy machine downtimes for more frequently required repairs. Our ongoing Research Projects are led by 5 NIMH-funded investigators, along with 14 additional investigators who are currently funded for brain-related animal MRI studies. The upgraded Bruker 9.4T/30cm system will continue to be managed by a team of researchers with solid Technical Expertise and a track record of operating this system for research service for several years. The Administration plan will build on our prior success and is governed by four Internal Advisory Committee Members, five External Advisory Committee Members, and the UNC Core Facility Advisory Committee. UNC has provided impressive Institutional Commitments towards this request, including $206,150 of direct matching funds and additional support for animal imaging infrastructure development. UNC was recently ranked #10 in NIMH funding. Our proposed request, if granted by NIMH, will extend the lifetime of extremely well-utilized brain-imaging equipment at UNC, afford users the opportunity to pursue new cutting-edge methods of acquiring MRI data, and advance our journey towards understanding the brain and developing new treatment for mental illnesses.