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The field of magnetic resonance imaging at BWH just got a facelift with the completion of the first phase of renovations of the Brigham and Women's MRI Research Center (BWMRC). The center held an open house in late January, welcoming BWH faculty and staff to tour the new space and meet its directors.
The facility, located in the Eugene Braunwald Research Center at 221 Longwood Ave., provides research MRI services to scientists affiliated with BWH, Harvard Medical School and the research community at-large. The renovation, which began in spring 2012, was supported by a $6.1 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The updated facility now offers researchers advanced imaging tools, such as functional MRI, spectroscopy and imaging devices for pre-clinical models, in one centralized space.
"The completion of phase one of Brigham and Women's MRI Research Center is a very important milestone in the growth and development of our functional and molecular imaging program," said BWH Chairman of Radiology Steven Seltzer, MD. "This is a tremendous example of the Brigham's culture of collaboration."
The center's last renovation took place in 1991 under the leadership of Ferenc Jolesz, MD, vice chairman for Research and director of the Division of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Image Guided Therapy Program. Since then, advancements in imaging technology have demanded improvements to the space. One of the major projects during renovation involved moving the MRI scanners farther away from power lines that provide energy to Green Line trains on Huntington Avenue.
"There was interference from power lines from the T which disturbed some of our high-end research imaging acquisition, but we were able to resolve this during our phase one renovations," said BWMRC Core Director Emily Stern, MD.
BWMRC features the latest state-of-the-art equipment, including the Siemens 3.0T Skyra MRI scanner for humans, as well as a Bruker 7.0T MRI scanner for pre-clinical models.
The updated facility will enable researchers working with pre-clinical models to better collaborate with those working in clinical trials. Such a translational space encourages both groups to rapidly share their findings with one another, allowing discoveries made in the lab to be quickly applied to treating humans in clinical trials.
"This is truly a translational facility," said Stern. "Locating pre-clinical and clinical investigators in the same place was really critical to us as a next step to foster the translational component of the facility."
The second phase of the renovation is already underway and is expected to be completed in spring 2013. During this phase, MRI scanners that were removed at the start of renovation-1.5T and 3T GE scanners-will be reinstalled, and new exam rooms for functional MRI studies, offices, a polarizer lab, an electronics coil development lab, and lab space will be added.
Learn more about the Brigham and Women's MRI Research Center.