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Magnetic resonance imaging labs

A participant lies in an MRI scanner while a male and female researcher operate the scanner
Researchers perform an MRI scan on a volunteer.

We have four MRI laboratories with a powerful combination of neuroimaging equipment.

Each MRI suite features advanced physiological monitoring, facilities for administering gasses and high-spec stimulus delivery equipment. The microstructure and ultra-high field suites also contain cutting-edge motion and artefact correction equipment.

How MRI works

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radiofrequency pulses and strong magnetic fields to measure weak magnetic signals originating from water molecules in the body. The resultant tiny magnetic signals are measured by a special receiver and then processed by the MRI scanner’s dedicated computer to generate detailed images of the inside of the human body.

The technique is non-invasive and does not use any form of ionising radiation. MRI is currently in high demand in hospitals worldwide to examine the human body in the detection and monitoring of diseases.

MRI is also widely used in research facilities for the study and understanding of the human body relating to the measurement and study of human health, function and well-being.

Our facilities and equipment

These are made possible through the support of The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council EPSRC, The Wolfson Foundation, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and The Wellcome Trust. Find out more about our funders.

National microstructure imaging facility

This facility features a Siemens 3 Tesla Connectom system – one of only four such systems in the world.

Watch a video about our 3T Connectom MRI scanner.

This advanced system features 300 mT/m gradient coils which are typically four times stronger than those found in conventional MR systems. This allows researchers to probe tissue microstructure to much finer detail.

The microstructure lab is also equipped with a field camera for characterisation of the gradient waveforms to correct the acquisition trajectory.

Clinical research MRI laboratory

With a Siemens 3 T Prisma system located close to the clinical research facility, this lab is ideally suited for running research studies on large patient cohorts or for pharmaceutical trials. The Prisma is the most advanced research 3T scanner currently available, featuring 80 mT/m gradients and up to 128 RF receive channels.

Watch a video about our 3T Prisma system.

Experimental MRI laboratory

The experimental MR lab features a 3 T Prisma system identical to that of the clinical research MRI lab. This lab has concurrent TMS-MRI and EEG-fMRI, along with an optical eye tracking system for the realtime measurement and prospective correction of participant motion, and a variety of stimulus presentation equipment.

Watch a video about our 3T Prisma system.

Ultra-high field MRI laboratory

This lab features a Siemens 7 Tesla Magnetom system which is based on an Agilent 7T/830 actively shielded magnet. The system is equipped with 70 mT/m gradients, Siemens’ parallel transmit technology (pTx Step 2.3), and has multi-nuclear capability to take full advantage of the high field strength.

Watch a video about our 7 Tesla.

The ultra-high field lab also features a Skope field camera.

MR simulator

An MR simulator is one that is non-functional and doesn't contain a magnet. With an appearance identical to that of the 3T Prisma, our MR simulator allows participants to acclimatise to the MR environment before going into the real MRI scanner.

This is particularly useful for studies scanning children or patient groups, or those running complex behavioural experiments.

Watch a video about our MR simulator.