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Advanced Imaging Research Center

UT Southwestern’s Advanced Imaging Research Center is driving forward the technology of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to understand the structure, function, and metabolism of the brain in unprecedented detail.

Areas of Expertise

MRI Tracers

Our researchers are world leaders in developing new MRI tracers. They are also developing the technology of hyperpolarization, a technique for supercharging MRI tracers to enhance their signal up to 50,000 times.

Ultra-high field MRI

Ultra-high field MRI is another approach that offers superior signal intensity for anatomical, functional, and metabolic brain imaging without the need of MRI tracers. We offer a 7 Tesla human MRI scanner and 7T and 9.4T animal MR scanners; all systems are currently undergoing comprehensive updates to the latest technology such as parallel transmission and multichannel multinuclear detection for human brain imaging and cryogenic coils and simultaneous PET-MRI for rodent imaging. Ultra-high field MRI enables unprecedented microstructural resolution potentially enabling visualization of anatomic substrates of brain plasticity in normal and pathological conditions.

MRI Scanners

Our human 3T and animal 7T and 9.4T MRI scanners are used by neuroscientists at UT Southwestern, UT Dallas, and UT Arlington for anatomical, functional, and metabolic brain imaging. This technology is helping researchers better understand the normal brain, as well as brain disorders such as autism, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, depression, and more.

NMR Spectroscopy

Importantly, the Advanced Imaging Research Center offers the possibility to study ex vivo brain tissue with high-resolution MRI and metabolism of alive neurons or glia cells with NMR spectroscopy.

Our Philosophy on Collaboration


The Advanced Imaging Research Center offers researchers at UT Southwestern and beyond access to some of the most sophisticated imaging technology available for humans and small animals. New techniques to study brain disorders are developed and translated to preclinical and clinical studies.

Center staff work collaboratively with the O’Donnell Brain Institute’s investigators to identify the best imaging approach, and in some cases to devise novel imaging strategies and methods to answer their scientific question.

The O’Donnell Brain Institute and the Advanced Imaging Research Center are building collaborations that will allow the latest imaging technology and techniques to fuel the UT Southwestern faculty’s diverse expertise in both basic science and medicine.

Through these collaborations, researchers and clinicians will be able to answer fundamental questions about the brain – and point the way to new treatments for brain illness and injury.

Research Highlights

Mapping Brain Metabolism

Mapping Brain Metabolism

Understanding the Brain’s Reward System

Understanding the Brain’s Reward System

Imaging Brain Vasculature and Brain Perfusion

Imaging Brain Vasculature and Brain Perfusion

Training Highlights

One man watches as another man turns dials on a machine

Review Criteria

  • We provide training for researchers on campus to use new, leading-edge scanners, analyze respective data and to interpret the findings from advance imaging technology. 
  • We train UT Southwestern graduate students in biomedical imaging, preparing the next generation of electrical engineers, biomedical engineers, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, and computer scientists to develop and apply leading-edge imaging technologies. Our work synergizes with the departments of Neuroscience and Bioinformatics.

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