The group of Strijkers at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam adopts a translational approach for the development of novel MRI sequences for improved diagnostics and therapy monitoring of disease. Novel preclinical protocols for high-field MRI are initially developed in ex vivo specimens as well as mouse and rat models. The most promising protocols are then further developed and translated for human clinical MRI. The group primarily but not exclusively focuses on applications in cardiovascular disease.
The availability of the 950MHz and 1.2 GHz NMR with micro-imaging capabilities offers unique opportunities to study the relationship between the MRI signal/contrast and the underlying (patho-)physiology of tissues from a fundamental perspective in much more detail than is possible at lower fields.
At the Gorter initiative for magnetic resonance from man to molecule, groups from physics, chemistry and the medical faculty collaborate. The high field imaging group from the Leiden University Medical Center has recently been added to the uNMR consortium. This group, headed by Prof. Andrew Webb, brings a long expertise in high frequency RF coil design. Of specific interest for the uNMR-NL consortium are the expertise in micro-coils for NMR spectroscopy and MR microimaging as well as new coil designs using high permittivity ceramics rather than conventional metal based conductors. These latter designs have particular advantages at very high fields.
The biomedical Magnetic Resonance group of Scheenen from the university medical center in Nijmegen has its focus on preclinical development, translation and application of MR imaging and spectroscopy in oncology and energy metabolism. The department’s animal MR-facility is housed in the PRIME (Preclinical Imaging Centre, an official Euro Bio-imaging node and an NWO technology hotel) of the Radboudumc. To bring the preclinical applications at the highest level we invest in the development and implementation of MR methods on a variety of advanced MR systems. A horizontal bore 7T MR system (Clinscan) and a horizontal bore 11.7T MR system (Biospec) are optimized for studies of small animals (e.g. mice and rats). A broad range of dedicated RF probes, from 1H microcoils for zebrafish to 31P coils for dynamic muscle studies of mice, and animal monitoring devices are available.
The group of Prompers conducts research at the UMCU focusing on the study of derangements in tissue lipid metabolism and mitochondrial function, which play a central role in e.g. type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease. To this end she develops multi-nuclear in vivo MRS methods for both pre-clinical and clinical applications at high field strength (7 Tesla and above). Recently, her group demonstrated the application of 1H and 31P MRS to measure in vivo the amount of triglycerides and the energy status, respectively, in the fast-beating mouse heart, which so far has only been accomplished by a couple of laboratories worldwide. In addition to the clinical and pre-clinical work, the group makes use of model systems for human disease, such as zebrafish and organoids. The micro-imaging capabilities of the uNMR-NL 950 MHz and 1.2 GHz MR system offer unprecedented sensitivity and resolution for these small model systems and will allow major advancements, for example in the field of regenerative cardiovascular medicine.