Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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DYNAMIC: Strongest MRI scanner for human use comes to Nijmegen

Date of news: 20 February 2023

The Donders Institute of Radboud University and Radboud University Medical Centre, together with six partners, receives a €20 million Roadmap grant from NWO. It will be used to build a new MRI scanner in Nijmegen, with a magnetic field of 14 Tesla. The scanner will be the strongest and most sensitive MRI scanner for human use in the world.

Every two years, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science makes funds available to NWO for the National Roadmap Large-Scale Research Infrastructure. This enables the construction or renewal of essential research infrastructures in the Netherlands.

In the DYNAMIC project, researchers will build the world's first MRI scanner for human use with a magnetic field strength of 14 Tesla. The scanner's high sensitivity will allow scientists to image the brain in more detail, for example, but will also enable them to gain new insights into mechanisms of diseases throughout the body.

‘With a scanner at 14 tesla, for example, we would be able to see the individual layers that form the cortex of the brain. Subcortical nuclei, areas which are too small to image otherwise, will also become visible’, says project coordinator David Norris, Professor of Magnetic Resonance Physics at the Donders Institute. ‘We can see how different brain regions are communicating with each other, which is important for understanding how the brain works at a fundamental level.’

The new scanner similarly benefits research into brain disorders. Knowledge gained from cell-level studies, such as with postmortem tissue, can now be compared better with data from living brain tissue in MRI studies. In their project application, the researchers describe five potential research projects on different brain disorders: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, psychiatric disorders, vascular brain disorders and dementia. However, essentially all neurological diseases could gain from the benefits of 14T.

Placed in Nijmegen

The new scanner will be placed on the lawn in front of the Radboud University medical centre. ‘Nijmegen is a location where we’ll get most out of the applications’, says Norris. ‘But it’s not “our” scanner. We are realizing this scanner together with researchers from six other institutes in The Netherlands. We’ll be opening our doors to every scientist in The Netherlands and beyond that wants to make use of this new instrument.’

The Dutch National 14Tesla MRI Initiative in Medical Science (DYNAMIC) is initiated by a consortium of seven partners: Radboud University (responsible institution), Amsterdam Medical Centre (AMC), Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), Maastricht University, Radboud University Medical Centre, Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging – KNAW and University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMCU)

Want to know more?

More information can be found in the Radboud University press release or at Radboud Recharge.

Project coordinator

David Norris DYNAMIC

David Norris

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