Siemens 7Tesla MRI Scanner

The University of Melbourne is a partner in a successful EIF3 application under the umbrella of the National Imaging Facility (NIF). The NIF is a national collaborative facility envisioned to provide openly accessible world-class facilities for basic imaging research allowing Australia to remain at the forefront in imaging-related science.
The lead agent for the bid is the University of Queensland. The participating partners, which include the University of Melbourne, have established the NIF into an integrated network across 5 states providing landmark capabilities in animal and ultra high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetoencephalography.

The 7T MRI scanner was installed on the ground floor of the Melbourne Brain Centre at Parkville in March 2014. The scanner provides unprecedented image quality in human brain imaging that will be used to study both normal and abnormal brains.

Research studies on the 7T continue to be primarily neuro focused, however the node has expanded applications with an increase of non-brain studies, given exemplary new functionality with the eye and cervical spine coils, and the flexibility of the knee coil to study wrists and other peripheral limb sections.  Development work in multi-component RF pulse technology has also progressed well, and is at the point where signing of a new Master Research Agreement with Siemens will greatly benefit the practical uptake of this technology.  Sodium MRI sequence developments have continued, including a robust compressed sensing acceleration method and a continuum modeling approach for improved parameter mapping. Five new projects were initiated in 2018.

In addition to Neuro-hydrogen imaging, the 7T MRI at MBIC is capable of acquiring spinal imaging through a dedicated spinal coil and sodium imaging through a dedicated dual channel sodium coil.


Siemens PET-CT Scanner

The Imaging Unit within the Melbourne Brain Centre at Parkville houses a state-of-the-art PET-CT scanner, which has been funded under the umbrella of a successful VSA bid submitted by the Victorian Biomedical Imaging Consortium (VBIC). Radiopharmaceuticals can be scanned in order to study tissue function and metabolism and novel biomarkers are being used to study brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. The system can provide time-of-flight measurements and has an extended field of view PET with 128-slice CT.

The Human PET/CT has continued to be well utilised in a broad range of research studies and clinical trials.  Optimised reconstruction is developing as a focus for the UOM PET/CT team, using dedicated access to the Siemens e7 toolbox, and in collaboration with CSIRO for standardised tracer uptake computation.  A primary objective of this work is to derive metrics by which to evaluate scanner harmonisation in multicentre studies. Five new projects were initiated in 2018.