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The Experimental Imaging Centre: a Local Brain Canada Platform for Preclinical MR Neuroimaging

Principal Investigator:
  • Jeff Dunn, University of Calgary
  • Hotchkiss Brain Institute
  • University of Calgary

Project Overview

The Experimental Imaging Centre Brain Canada Platform provides state of the art pre-clinical imaging to the neuroscience research community. The core technology is a 9.4T MRI with associated animal care and physiological monitoring aimed at rat and mouse models of human neuropathology. MRI has evolved over the past decades as the preeminent tool to noninvasively interrogate brain structure, physiology, chemistry, and the progression or treatment of disease.  We use MRI to both answer neuroscience questions of direct clinical relevance and to validate novel MRI methods that can be translated to the clinic. The centre contains Canada’s first Bruker helium cooled cryoprobe to improve mouse brain imaging. It has facilities for histology including embedding, a cryostat and fluorescent microscopy. It is supported by animal care and MRI staff such that research can be undertaken by neuroscientists without them having to be MRI specialists. Available sequences include diffusion MRI, diffusion tensor MRI, quantitative T2 and T1, magnetization transfer, ASL perfusion, susceptibility mapping and high resolution morphology. Current and recent studies include stroke, brain cancer, multiple sclerosis, concussion, contrast agent development, nutrition and diet, diabetes, brain development and nerve agents. Users are largely from the University of Calgary but also include scientists at other Canadian and American institutions. The goal of the EIC is to have a broad impact, and provide a major service to the neuroscience research communities at the University of Calgary, as well as other universities and institutions both locally and internationally.