MRI Hardware Engineering Program


Modern MRI scanners have improved dramatically in image quality and speed over the past few decades. Innovations in hardware design and development in technological capability are the major driving forces for these advancements. Hardware breakthroughs include advanced RF, gradient and upgraded magnet technologies. Although most MRI scanners are marketed by vendors (e.g., Siemens, GE, Philips), the original ideas often come from academic research laboratories, including the original MRI scanner design in the 1970s, actively shielded gradient coils in the 1990s, RF phased array coils in the 1980s-90s and RF parallel transmission technology in the 2000s. Academic labs have played a significant role in the development of MRI function.

Additionally, it is agreed that hardware is the basis for novel technological capability. In the early 1990s, for example, the groups that first captured functional MRI (fMRI) signals in the human brain were those capable of building specialized gradient coils and thus implementing fast imaging techniques (EPI). New truths become evident when new tools become available (Rosalyn Yalow). As such, the first-round proposals awarded by the BRAIN Initiative largely involved hardware innovations (e.g., R24 on next-generation human brain imaging).

Aligned with the above belief, our mission is to improve the diagnosis and prevention of disease by solving critical challenges in imaging through the expansion of innovational ideas in both hardware and software design. Our current novel MR head coil system under development will provide a new data acquisition platform for fMRI, which has the potential to meet the challenge at high fields for comprehensive whole-brain imaging, including the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and temporal lobes (TLs).



Collaborative Research

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Biomedical Imaging Research Institute
Pacific Theatres Building, Suite 400
116 N. Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048