Preclinical MRI is an emerging field of magnetic resonance imaging applied to small animals to answer questions of essential impact for medical basic research. Applications can be found in tumor research, neurological diseases and, generally spoken, to understand and reveal disease pathways in human-like animal models. Our expertise in this field is molecular imaging a subdivision of preclinical research whereas molecular targeted contrast agents and biomarkers are used to investigate transactions on cellular or even on biomolecular scales with MR tomography.
Beside there are dedicated preclinical MR systems, we are developing novel imaging strategies for small animals on a 3 Tesla MRI-platform which is in clinical use. The motivation for working on comparable low field strengths can be found in the ease of translating research results into clinical practice.
Together with the Center for Medical Research Graz (ZMF) we share our expertise with groups dealing with animal models for basic medical research and offer non-invasive in-vivo imaging of rodents.
Development of high resolution MR protocols with optimized scan times for preclinical MRI
Fully balanced ultrashort time to echo pulse-sequence left; resulting image on the right.
A balanced 3D-radial sequence developed at our institute  is able to produce 192 slices with an isotropic resolution of 200µm within 6:58 min on a wide-bore clinical scanner. The animal on the images to the right was free breathing and no respiratory trigger was used.
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