Human Imaging

MRI: The most abundant University human imaging resource, both in terms of personnel and equipment, is in magnetic resonance imaging. Currently the human MRI facilities are concentrated at the John Radcliffe site and consist of: the Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB, administered by Clinical Neurology); the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research (OCMR, administered by Cardiovascular Medicine); and the imminent Oxford Acute Vascular Imaging Centre (OxAVIC, administered by the Nuffield Dept of Medicine). The OCMR Centre has both 1.5 Tesla and 3 Tesla whole body scanners, used jointly for cardiology research and for basic and clinical neuroscience research. The FMRIB Centre currently possesses a neuro-dedicated 3 Tesla scanner and specializes in magnetic resonance functional and structural imaging and spectroscopy. The FMRIB Centre has recently been awarded funds to install a 7 Tesla human scanner that will become one of only two in the UK. The 7 Tesla scanner will be used jointly for neuro (75%) and cardiac (25%) research. The OxAVIC facility will install a 3 Tesla whole body scanner for acute stroke, cardiac and vascular imaging, integrated with a bi-planar angio suite for acute vascular intervention. The OxAVIC was recently funded by the joint Wellcome Trust/MRC/DoH/BHF call for Clinical Research Centres and is strongly integrated into the NIHR O2BRC.

PET: The Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust is installing a PET/CT camera during 2008 in the new Cancer PFI Hospital on the Churchill Hospital site. The PET camera will be available as a University and NHS research resource, although it will mainly be used for diagnostic purposes. Plans are also underway to purchase a high-specification research cyclotron that will be used for pre-clinical molecular imaging research. In the longer term the partnership of the University of Oxford and the Oxford Racliffe Hospitals Trust intends to develop a radiochemistry research centre at the new Cancer Hospital on the Churchill Hospital Site. This will eventually include a cyclotron, hot radiochemistry lab, and a GMP-compliant chemistry synthesis laboratory.

SPECT: A high-specification Trionix triple-headed SPECT camera is owned by the NHS, but has considerable time available for research. In addition to the research-available Trionix SPECT camera there are a number of other NHS-owned SPECT and SPECT/CT cameras on the JR and Churchill sites that can be used in part for research.

MEG: The Oxford Neurodevelopmental Magnetoencephalographic Centre, sited in the Dept of Psychiatry, opened in 2007. The MEG scanner incorporates state-of-the-art EEG recording technology, and includes a mock scanner for subject acclimatisation. This technology allows study of brain dynamics with high temporal resolution and complements the fMRI technologies that offer higher spatial resolution but vastly lower temporal resolution. The Centre is part of a consortium with the Open University and Derby University, with an emphasis on imaging autism spectrum and other neuro-developmental disorders in children and adults.

Other: Several other pieces of noteworthy imaging equipment exist within the University. These include multi-channel EEG facilities in the Dept of Experimental Psychology, and an angio suite, transcranial Doppler ultrasound system, and optical coherence tomography devices that are being purchased as part of the OxAVIC initiative. There is a new ultrasonics/acoustics lab that is part of the Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBME) at the Churchill site; this includes state-of-the-art diagnostic/therapeutic transducers, water tanks and associated equipment, and a research ultrasound engine (Analogic system) shared by multiple projects and which can be used for clinical projects.