Guest editorial John C. Gore, Ph.D.  pg. 2

Brain image, obtained by Vanderbilt scientists on a 7 Tesla MRI scanner at Philips Medical Systems reveals small structures such as tiny blood vessels (white dots in the dark gray regions of the image and magnified inset) that are beyond the resolving power of conventional scanners.  An identical scanner will be installed at Vanderbilt in the spring of 2006.  One Tesla is roughly 20,000 times the strength of the magnetic field of the earth.  The 7 Tesla scanner allows scientists and clinicians to study brain structure, function, and neurochemistry at an unprecedented level of detail.
Courtesy of Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science
The development of functional brain imaging by MRI and the study of neurochemistry with MRS and PET are two other recent advances that have had a major impact on our understanding of brain architecture and function, allowing us to understand the neural basis for both normal and abnormal behaviors.

New technological developments and advances in molecular sciences, such as the development of novel agents that can target specific receptors, have expanded the applications of imaging to the molecular level, especially through the use of optical or nuclear detection methods. The result is that imaging applications permeate almost all current areas of medical research.

The greatest successes for applications of imaging science in the future will come from environments where the complementary natures of different imaging approaches is realized, and where experts in basic sciences and technical aspects of image formation and analysis work closely with biomedical scientists who ask appropriate questions. Vanderbilt University Medical Center has taken a lead in establishing a new, multidisciplinary Institute of Imaging Science (VUIIS), in recognition of the pervasive importance and intellectual vitality of imaging.

VUIIS provides Vanderbilt researchers with state-of-the-art research imaging of animals and human subjects across a broad range of modalities. It comprises an expert faculty that includes physicists, engineers, computer scientists, chemists, physiologists and clinical scientists, working together to address important problems within imaging science and applications of imaging. The Institute manages an impressive array of imaging resources, including systems dedicated to the study of preclinical models of disease such as microPET, microCT, optical, ultrasound and MR imaging of small animals. It also will shortly house a 7 Tesla human scanner for MRI and MRS, one of fewer than 10 such systems in the world, and the flagship for exciting new research directions.

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