IBS Institute for Basic Science
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To advance neuroscience research, it is crucial to develop novel methods for visualizing brain structure, function and connectivity in vivo. Noninvasive MR imaging and spectroscopy are critical for advancing neuroscience research in humans, since invasive approaches can not be easily used. However, their biophysical and physiological bases are not fully understood.

Since magnetic resonance imaging is a measure of the properties of water molecules, it is not a direct, but an indirect measure of physiological properties. Thus, understanding the relationship between physiological/biological properties and MRI signals is important for properly interpreting imaging data as well as for applying the most appropriate techniques to answer neuroscience questions.

 

This group directs the “MRI Core” for operating multiple research-dedicated MRI systems, including one human MRI (3-T) and two animal MRI (9.4-T and 15-T) scanners.  A 7-T human MRI system will be installed at 2018. These MR facilities are tightly integrated with other conventional neural recording systems; human fMRI can combine with EEG recording, and animal MRI laboratory is adjacent to the neurophysiology lab for combining MRI measurements with electrical recording and optical imaging in the same animals.  In addition, neural stimulators are available, including Trancranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS) for humans and intracortical stimulators for animals. 

 

This Group has multiple major research components.

 

1. MR physics for developing novel contrast mechanisms and imaging biomarkers, and for determining biophysical and physiological base of MRI signals,

 

2. MR engineering for developing RF and other hardware components to support new customized imaging research and for improving MR methods to have high sensitivity, high spatial resolution and high temporal resolution,

 

3. fMRI readout for combining with diverse manipulations such as sensory, electrical, chemical and optogenetic stimulation, and pharmacological interventions. This will spur new research activities that will lead to advancing our understanding of the brain at a system level.