University to become ‘epicentre for European Neuroimaging’

19 February 2015

Siemens MR scanner

Cardiff University has confirmed its plans to utilise advanced MR imaging technology within its new Brain Research Imaging Centre - Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) - in a bid to make the centre one of the top brain imaging facilities in Europe.

The centre, currently under construction, will play a pivotal role in the global effort to better understand the causes of neurological conditions such as dementia, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis, and will be aided through a partnership with Siemens Healthcare.

The £44M CUBRIC facility will offer world-leading expertise in brain mapping alongside the very latest in brain imaging and brain stimulation, enabled by cutting-edge MR technology. The new agreement with Siemens Healthcare will see the delivery of a combination of leading MR systems that will support the facility as it looks to uncover vital clues for developing better treatments.

Four new Siemens Healthcare MR systems will be installed into the facility in early 2016: a MAGNETOM® 7T, a MAGNETOM Connectom 3T Scanner with 300mT/m Gradients and two MAGNETOM Prisma systems. This will be the first UK installation of the Connectom 3T and only the second in the world, with the first installed in Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA. The University is purchasing these major pieces of imaging equipment with support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Welsh Government.

"The colocation of the 7 Tesla system and the Connectom microstructural imaging system is an extremely powerful combination for probing brain structure, function and biochemistry, allowing us to answer questions that have previously been limited by technology. We now have that technology," states Professor Derek Jones, Director of CUBRIC. "Together with the magnetoencephalography, EEG and brain stimulation facilities within the new centre, we will have a truly unique set of equipment that will enable us to characterise the brain in health and disease."

Professor Derek Jones adds: "This important new partnership between Cardiff University and Siemens will deliver not only the third 7 Tesla MRI scanner in the UK but also the first Connectom 3T scanner to be built in Europe. This uniqueness will build on our extensive set of ongoing collaborations and make CUBRIC an epicentre for European Neuroimaging."

Peter Harrison, Managing Director of Siemens plc Healthcare Division, states: "Siemens is committed to furthering vital medical research and supporting patients. We are delighted to be providing state-of-the-art MR technology and scientific resources to support the prestigious CUBRIC facility.  We support CUBRIC's vision and very much look forward to helping Professor Derek Jones and his team in fulfilling their exciting ambitions. The sheer scale of the CUBRIC project is incredibly impressive, as is the team's intention to make this not only a national, but also a European facility."

Cardiff is officially one of the UK's top three universities for its world-leading research in psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience.The University is already home to some of the world's leading experts in brain mapping, neuroscience, clinical research and genetics, and is widely recognised for its research excellence in this area.

Siemens Healthcareis one of the world's largest suppliers to the healthcare industry and a trendsetter in medical imaging, laboratory diagnostics, medical information technology and hearing aids. Siemens offers its customers products and solutions for the entire range of patient care from a single source – from prevention and early detection to diagnosis, and on to treatment and aftercare. By optimising clinical workflows for the most common diseases, Siemens also makes healthcare faster, better and more cost-effective. Siemens Healthcare employs some 52,000 employees worldwide and operates around the world www.siemens.co.uk/healthcare.