Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Part of the Laboratory of Functional and Molecular Imaging, Advanced MRI (AMRI) is a research laboratory at the Bethesda campus of the National Institutes of Health, as part of the NIH Intramural Research Program. Research in LFMI concerns the development of novel applications for the study of neurological disease through improvement of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology. Recent work has been in the fields of array detectors, high field technology, and functional imaging.


The mission of AMRI is to improve neuroimaging through basic technological development. The strategy is to develop new techniques for the acquisition and analysis of MRI images that provide various types anatomical and functional contrast. This involves the development of novel detectors for MR signal reception, the manipulation of image contrast through acquisition, image reconstruction, and image analysis techniques, and the combination of MRI with the acquisition of physiogical signals such as EEG.


The AMRI section, together with its host laboratory, the Laboratory of Functional and Molecular Imaging (LFMI), was formed in 2000 with the recruitment of Jeff Duyn into NINDS. Its research initially centered around development of novel MRI detector and receiver hardware and imaging techniques for anatomical and functional MRI of human brain at high field. This was first done on the early 3 T and 4 T scanners, and then on an early 7 T system. Currently, technology is being developed for a range of field strengths including 0.55 T, 1.5 T, 3 T, 7 T, and for one of the first human 11.7 T systems that is currently being (re-)installed at NIH. Since its early days, AMRI has collaborated with various clinical groups to evaluate novel technology, including the use of contrast agents to detect perfusion abnormalities in stroke (using so-called bolus arrival time maps), the use of magnetic susceptibility contrast to detect focal iron accumulation, vascular changes, and myelin loss in MS and ALS. Together with continuing technical development, a major current interest of AMRI is the application of novel techniques to study of joint variations in brain activity and autonomic activity associated with arousal changes during both wake and sleep.