The McCausland Brain Imaging Center is situated within the Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital. In 2015 we updated our Siemens Trio 3-Tesla (3T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system to a Siemens Prisma fit 3T MRI system with both a 20-channel head neck coil and a 32-channel head coil. The scanner is shared between clinical and research work, with dedicated research time each day. This is optimal for scientists who wish to conduct clinical studies where a research-only facility is inappropriate (e.g. allowing acute stroke clinical scans to be acquired on the same system as the chronic follow-up images). The center has dedicated labs for research and behavioral testing. The system is fully equipped for functional brain imaging, with a rear projection computer screen, optical trigger pulses (to ensure acquisition times do not drift with respect to behavioral tasks), optical response buttons, MRI compatible tactile stimuli, MRI-compatible ERG/EEG, MRI-compatible pulse and respiration measurement, and high-quality (ceramic) audio presentation headphones. All research images are stored on a dedicated RAID DICOM server (and mirrored to a server in another building). We also include high-end Sun Grid Engine clusters for data analysis. Our computers include the most popular tools for image analysis (SPM, FSL, AFNI, MedInria), as well as our own popular tools (www.mricro.com).
Below we list a few of the most popular MRI sequences used by scientists at our center. All of these scans use the 32-channel head coil. Most of these sequences leverage the terrific Human Connectome multi-band sequences.
T1-weighted: 3D MPRAGE sequence, 320x320 sagittal matrix, 208 slices, 0.8mm isotropic, TR=2400ms, TI=1060ms, TE=2.24ms, 8° flip angle, GRAPPA=2, acquisition time of 6:38 minutes.
Diffusion-weighted: Four EPI series (pairs with opposite phase encoding directions), will be acquired with 92 axial slices using the following parameters: TR=3222ms, TE=89.2 ms, monopolar, voxel size = 1.5mm isotropic, 78° flip angle, 210mm FOV, a total of volumes with optimally sampled full-sphere directions (28 with b=0, 92=750, 94=1000, 92=1500, 92=2000 s/mm2), 6/8 partial fourier, multiband 4, ~ 23 minutes for all four series.
T2*-weighted fMRI: EPI volumes with 72 axial slices (104x104 matrix), TR=720ms, TE=37ms, 52° flip angle, multi-band x8, 2mm isotropic (no gap), 7/8 partial Fourier. We also acquire two sets (both phase encoding directions) of spin-echo images with identical spatial parameters and positioning, which allow spatial undistortion of the fMRI data using FSL's TOPUP.
T2-SWI: 80 axial slices TR=28ms, TE=20, 15° flip angle, 384x336 matrix, 0.6mm in plane, 1.2mm thick slices (plus 20% gap), GRAPPA=2, acquisition time of 6:37 minutes.