Human Magnetic Resonance Center
Please check the Restart-to-Research Operational Status page for details.
Located on the 2nd floor in the Life Science Laboratories the Human Magnetic Resonance Center (hMRC) provides state-of-the-art, non-invasive neuroimaging, whole body imaging, and spectroscopy technologies for academic and industry-based research in central and western Massachusetts. This is the only research-dedicated 3T MRI/MRS system in western Massachusetts. This system is ideal for investigating questions regarding normal and abnormal changes in human brain and whole body structure and function across the lifespan.
The hMRC houses a 3 Tesla Siemens Skyra scanner for basic and translational research including:
Functional Neuroimaging: Noninvasive imaging that measures brain activity and function during resting state and task-based imaging (fMRI) by detecting dynamic physiological processes in real time associated with blood flow and the blood oxygen levels in response to neural activation and consumption, this is referred to as BOLD or Blood Oxygen Level Dependent Imaging. This is used to investigate neurotypical brain connectivity and regional function across the lifespan and to understand brain dysfunction and neuroplasticity.
Spectroscopy: Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a noninvasive data collection technique that is ideal for measuring biochemical content and metabolism of tissues in the body. This method allows us to gather metabolic information, which is unique and independent, but complementary to the anatomic information obtained with other magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques in various pathology. MRS is able to display data in various ways, including chemical composition and measurement of the spatial distribution of metabolite concentrations.
Structural brain imaging: Static imaging of the white and gray matter and CSF of the brain, as well as bone and tissue, are used to examine typical structural morphology and connectivity, as well as atypical structure, neuroplasticity, and neurodegeneration.
Musculoskeletal & Whole Body MRI: Demonstrates various aspects of muscle, organ, bone, joint, soft tissue and nerve structure and function. High resolution images can be generated in which the following details can be demonstrated: fat, muscle, tendons, ligaments, and fluid as well as vasculature and nerve systems. These can be used to quantify various data such as fat quantification, edema, pathology and structural damage or degeneration.
Siemens 3T Skyra Scanner
Siemens 3T (123 MHz) Skyra is a 70-cm bore MRI/MRS scanner for acquisition of BOLD, Diffusion, and MR spectroscopy data. The scanner uses state-of-the-art technology for fast and efficient collection of:
- structural neuroimaging (white and gray matter and CSF morphology and diffusion tractography),
- functional neuroimaging (resting state and task-based fMRI),
- multi-nuclear spectroscopy (1H, 31P and 13C)
- MR elastography
- structural imaging of bone and tissue,
The Skyra provides a wide bore and short length, making it ideal for scanning certain populations, e.g., children and obese persons, who may otherwise feel claustrophobic in a typical 60mm bore.
- The hMRC is equipped with 3 head coils (20, 32, and 64 channel), and a full array of body, foot/ankle, knee, and breast coils, and a docking exam table.
- A variety of MR compatible peripheral equipment is available, such as a 32” high resolution BOLD screen, a 128-channel EEG system, an eyetracking system, an active noise canceling microphone/headphone system, a system for MR elastography, an ergometer, and an array of button box, grip force, and joystick devices for acquiring experimental responses.
- The hMRC has a complete mock scanner system, including participant interfaces, and is particularly well suited for training participants to stay still in the scanner.
- Double tuned 1H-31P and 1H-13C surface and volume coils.
- BOLD screen: Cambridge Research Systems (http://www.crsltd.com) LCD monitor, 32", 1920x1080 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate
- Button response unit: Current Design (http://www.curdes.com/), package 932, 4 buttons on both hands
- Audio system: Optoacoustic (http://www.optoacoustics.com/medical/optoactive), Optoactive ANC headphone, FOMRI-III microphone
- 128-channel EEG system: Brain Vision, (http://brainvision.com/products.html), BrainAmp
- Eyetracking system: SR Research, (http://www.sr-research.com/mount_longrange_1000plus.html), EyeLink 1000 Plus system
|Campus Users||External Users|
|Rates are subject to change, contact facility to verify current fees.|
As a core facility, the Human Magnetic Resonance Center is a resource for basic and translational MRI and MRS research both from investigators on-campus and off.
UMass Amherst neuroscientists use state-of-the-art structural and functional brain imaging techniques. Functional MRI (fMRI) is used to determine areas of the brain that contribute to performance of specific tasks. High-resolution structural images can be useful for identifying changes in the brain such as those associated with development, aging, or disease.
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is used to measure the molecular composition of a tissue or muscle.
In addition to structural brain imaging, static imaging of bone and tissue is used to identify skeletal, muscular, or differences across populations or individuals.
Staff physicists are available to assist new users with protocol development, implementation, and analysis. Services include:
- Consultation and development of MRI and MRS protocols
- Consultation and development of MR-compatible stimuli and participant interface
- Analysis of pilot data and training and assistance with subsequent studies
- Assistance with MR aspects of grant proposals.
We provide four different levels of scan services to accommodate your studies:
- Feasibility scan: To evaluate your study using our facility and protocols, we may provide you courtesy scans once your feasibility scan request is approved by our co-directors. It is not mandatory to have an approved IRB protocol, but it is recommended to have an IRB protocol for human subject scans.
- Pilot scan: To collect preliminary data for an extramural grant, you may also apply for pilot funding to acquire pilot data at a reduced scan fee. You need to have an approved IRB protocol to acquire pilot data.
- Regular scan: You will be asked to pay for the full scan fee ($550/hr) and to provide an approved IRB protocol.
- Other scans: We also provide courtesy scans for student training and education, development and testing of equipment and scan protocols, and other public needs. These scans will be required to be approved by our co-directors.
Please apply to scanning of all types using the Study Application.
Human MR Center (hMRC): This core facility provides state-of-the-art non-invasive human neuroimaging, whole body imaging, MR spectroscopy, and elastography. A Siemens 3T Skyra MRI/MRS scanner runs on a VE11C platform, with access to latest source codes, licenses, and works-in-progress for acquiring BOLD, diffusion, and spectroscopy, including simultaneous multi-slice imaging. The hMRC is equipped with three head coils (20-, 32- and 64-channel) and a full array of body, foot/ankle, knee, and breast coils, as well as double tuned 1H, 31P and 13C surface coils for multi-nuclear spectroscopy. MR-compatible peripheral equipment includes: 32” high resolution CRS BOLD screen, various button response units by Current Design, 128-channel Brain Vision EEG system, SR Research EyeLink 1000 Plus eye tracking system, Optoactive noise cancelling headphone/microphone, and an in-house engineered ergometer. In addition, the hMRC includes a mock scanner complete with participant interfaces for training subjects.
Updated January 2021
- The scanner schedule is managed by hMRC staff, please email Elena Bliss for access. Access is granted upon successful completion of MR Safety Training.
- Review the “3T Scheduling Procedure” document before booking any scans. This details the scheduling policies and procedures as well as billing information.
- A minimum of 30 minutes can be booked with additional 15 minute increments after that.
- Billing is charged in 15 minute increments after the first 30 minutes.
Jacquie Kurland, PhD
Dr. Kurland studies functional reorganization in post-stroke aphasia. She uses structural and functional task-based and resting state MRI to examine treatment-induced neuroplasticity and language recovery in aphasic stroke survivors and the influence of practice on age-matched and younger neurotypical controls.
Rajakumar Nagarajan, PhD
Rajakumar Nagarajan is the MR Physicist working at Human Magnetic Resonance Center (hMRC), UMass, Amherst. He has strong MR Physics background and expertise in MR spectroscopy, including multinuclear spectroscopy, time series analysis, and spectroscopic or chemical shift imaging. He provides technical assistance with magnetic resonance (MR) protocol development and evaluation, data collection, advanced processing of data, and oversight of MR technician. Rajakumar trains and support faculty or trainees about MR safety, data acquisition and post-processing. He provides timely support to investigators for grant funding and also monitors new developments and improvements in technology to keep core competitive and state-of-the-art. Relevant publications: PubMed | Google Scholar
Elena Bliss is the MR technologist for hMRC. She has been working in the field of medical imaging for over 5 years and has a background in Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Radiologic Technology.
hMRC is dedicated to research of human MR imaging and spectroscopy. We do not provide any clinical diagnosis.
If you have any questions, please contact our staff or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MRI scan uses a strong magnetic field but it does not use ionizing radiation like in computer tomography or positron emission tomography. Therefore, MRI is non-invasive, but you will need to follow a few safety precautions and complete a screening form prior to scanning:
- Wear comfortable clothing, preferably made of cotton and loose fitting.
- If you tend to get cold, bring a cotton sweatshirt with no hood or zipper.
- Remove any metal items from you pockets (e.g., pens, keys, loose change, etc.) and from your body (e.g., watches, jewelry, body piercings, etc.).
- For women it is recommended to wear a sports bra (i.e., no metallic clasp).
- If you wear eyeglasses, and you will be a participant in fMRI research involving visual stimuli, bring your eyeglasses prescription data.
You can check whether you would qualify for an MRI scan by reviewing the hMRC Safety Questionnaire. If you have any questions regarding the form or scan, please contact your researcher or hMRC staff.
It will be helpful if you fill out the form and consult the researcher administering the experiment with any questions you may have–*prior to the day of the experiment*.
MR Safety Training is held once a month, as needed. All research personnel must be MR Safety trained prior to running studies in hMRC.
- The following documents/forms need to be completed and emailed to Elena Bliss (email@example.com) prior to registering for training (hMRC Imaging Policy, CITI verification, Safety Screening Form)
- Once all of these items have been submitted and reviewed you will be eligible to schedule your MR Safety Training session.
Please use the following IRB approved forms and templates when you submit your IRB protocol for all MRI/MRS human subjects studies:
We are providing technical notes that can be useful for your research design and data analysis. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions. (All documents below are in PDF format)
- HMRC TN Bold Screen View Angle
- HMRC TN Brain Extraction of Mprage
- HMRC TN CurrentDesign 932 Mode
- HMRC TN Effects of Mascara
- HMRC TN Otimum RF Angle
- HMRC TN Slice Timing
- HMRC TN Spectroscopy Baseline Correction
- HMRC TN SPM12-F Contrast
- HMRC TN Standard Images fMRI Tools
- HMRC TN Water Conditioning
- HMRC TN Confounding of Global Signals in GLM Analysis
- HMRC TN Phase Encoding Direction
- HMRC TN Slice Timing of SMS