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Utah MR Research Center (UMRC)

MRI Facilities

The Utah MR Research Center (UMRC) provides physics and technical support for MRI users as well as safety training for all individuals associated with research projects.

Scientists and researchers can schedule time on the MRI scanners below at a rate of $500 per hour. Note that there is a cancelation fee for 24 hours or less notification. Please see our Current Rate Letter for more details.

    Prisma MRI

    A high-performance 3 Tesla MRI scanner for human and large animal research. 


    • Maximum gradient strength - 80mT/m
    • Maximum gradient slew rate - 200T/m/s
    • Bore diameter- 60cm
    • 64 Receive channels
    • Dual-channel RF transmitter

    Software Version: XA30

    Vida MRI

    A wide-bore, high-performance 3 Tesla MRI scanner for human and large animal research.

    Unique features:

    • BioMatrix sensors and software that automatically detect and provide synchronization signals for respiration and cardiac motion. 
    • 4D flow imaging.


    • Maximum gradient strength - 60mT/m
    • Maximum gradient slew rate - 200T/m/s
    • Bore size - 70cm
    • 64 receive channels
    • Dual-channel RF transmitter

    Software Version: XA50

    Trio MRI

    A fully equipped 3 Tesla MRI scanner for advanced brain and body imaging. 


    • Maximum gradient strength - 45mT/m
    • Maximum gradient slew rate - 200T/m/s
    • Bore size - 60cm
    • 32 receive channels
    • Dual-channel RF transmitter

    Software Version: VB17A (upgraded 1-Aug-17)

    Neck coils

    In addition to the vendor-provided receive coils (head/neck coil, Flex coil, etc.), the UCAIR Coil Lab provides custom-made coils dedicated to research, especially for neurovascular imaging and MRI-guided focused ultrasound.

    neck coil comparison
    MRI phantoms

    System phantom for T1, T2, Proton Density qMRI standardization

    Diffusion Phantom for ADC qMRI Standardization

    Diffusion Phantom for ADC qMRI Standardization

    Research Highlights

    Optic Nerve Visualization

    In conjunction with the Custom Coil Lab, researchers developed a much more effective way to visualize the structures associated with the optic nerve.

    optic nerve coil



    MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound

    The Focused Ultrasound Lab has MR-guided focused ultrasound equipment and expertise that can be applied to a variety of pre-clinical indications. We have numerous protocols that can be utilized for treatment planning, real-time monitoring and treatment assessment.  

    small animal MRgFUS

    Small animal MR guided focused ultrasound system suitable for mice and rat studies. Other adaptations can be used for small animal neurologic applications. We also have equipment suitable for a variety of large animals.

    We have also worked with teams to develop MR guided focused ultrasound equipment and protocols for specific clinical applications. Shown is a breast MRgFUS system currently utilized in clinical trials.

    breast MRgFUS setup



    MRI-guided high intensity ultrasound to improve drug delivery in spinal cord injury

    Donna J. Cross, Allison H. Payne, Henrik Odeen, Yoshimi Anzai, (Radiology)
    Candace Floyd, Lonnie Schnieder (PM&R)

    Spinal cord injury (SCI) affects thousands of people every year in the USA, and most patients are left with some permanent paralysis. Therapeutic options are limited and only modestly affect outcome. To address this issue, we used magnetic resonance imaging-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) as a non-invasive approach to increase permeability in the blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB). In this study, we have opened successfully the blood spinal cord barrier in the thoracic region of the normal rat spine using magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound combined with microbubbles, and we have measured this quantitatively.

    spinal ultrasound - fig 1

    Signal intensity of targeted regions was increased between MRgFUS and sham groups (p=0.003). (b) Evan’s blue tissue absorbance for fixed, excised cord segments correlated to the corresponding region signal intensity on T1w MRI. Cross, Payne et al, 2021 Med Phys.

    spinal ultrasound - fig 2

    Acoustic emission control for MRgFUS BSCB opening in rats with laminectomy. (a) Post- opening contrast-enhanced sagittal T1w image, arrows indicate sonication locations. Axial CE-T1w image (b) pre- and (c) post-opening with yellow arrow in (a) showing a 14% signal increase at opening site. Acoustic emission frequency spectrum measured during BSCB opening (d) before (blue line) and after (red line) the injection of microbubbles. The ultra-harmonic (1.5 MHz) is readily visible during the microbubble injection (red arrow) allowing for the real-time feedback control of applied MRgFUS pressure at the treatment site. 

    Contact Us

    Need to schedule research time on an MRI at the University of Utah?




    Imaging and Neurosciences (INC) Building
    729 Arapeen Drive
    Salt Lake City, UT 84108-1217