Translational Imaging Research Facility


3T MRI Core Facility

Research at the 3T MRI Core Facility is focused on in-vivo studies of physiology and function using a variety of advanced magnetic resonance imaging methods. Major interests include cancer, cardiovascular, maternal health, neuro-degenerative, orthopedics and respiratory disease, which are studied in both humans and animal models.
The 3T MRI Core Facility is a unique regional resource for biomedical research possessing a state-of-the-art clinical 3.0 Tesla MRI scanner, insertable high-performance gradient hardware for micro-imaging of pre-clinical models, polarization technology for gases and liquids and relaxometry infrastructure for characterization of MR contrast agents.

The facility resources are available to peer-reviewed grant funded scientific collaborators with appropriate Research Ethics Board (REB) protocols in place.

Some of the current studies include Alzheimer's studies, carotid artery imaging, cellular and molecular imaging with novel contrast media, knee cartilage imaging, advanced prostate cancer imaging and pulmonary imaging of lung diseases with hyperpolarized gases.

See: Robarts Research Institute 3T MRI Core Facility

Major Facility Infrastructure


Central to this facility is a General Electric Healthcare Discovery MR750 3.0T™ clinical magnetic resonance imaging scanner with a full complement of anatomy-specific RF coils for human imaging. This imaging platform has been upgraded to include broadband RF hardware capable of imaging hyperpolarized gases (3He & 129He) and liquids (13C) as contrast agents as well as iron or 19F-labeled labeled cells. The scanner has also been equipped with an insertable high-performance gradient system and compatible RF hardware for micro-imaging of small animals using a variety of clinically relevant imaging protocols.

Dynamic Nuclear Polarization Laboratory

The Dynamic Nuclear Polarization Laboratory contains an Oxford Instruments HyperSense™ polarizer for in vitro magnetization of 13C-enriched liquids. These simple endogenous molecules are subsequently injected as real-time probes of regional in vivo metabolism in animal models of disease. Researchers are using this technology to probe glycolysis, pH and necrosis in tumour models, assess radiation-induced lung inflammation and fetal health.

Hyperpolarized Gas Imaging

The 3T MRI Core Facility includes state-of-the-art apparatus for polarization of noble gases. This includes 3He HeliSpin™ and Polarean 129Xe polarizers as well as associated RF coils for hyperpolarized magnetic resonance imaging of the lungs. These resources are being used to provide a detailed understanding of altered pulmonary function in human disease such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis.

Relaxometry Laboratory

This laboratory contains fast field-cycling relaxometry hardware for measuring the nuclear magnetic relaxation dispersion of novel paramagnetic contrast agents. A stand-alone, Stelar Spinmaster™ FFC2000 1T C/DC relaxometer is capable of acquiring automated temperature-controlled measurements of spin-lattice relaxation from the earth’s field up to 1 Tesla. A second insertable Stelar relaxometer prototype is capable of making these measurements ± 0.25T from the clinical field strength in which the system is inserted. Collaborations with contrast agent chemistry groups to characterize new MRI agents are encouraged.

Scientific Directors

Dr. Paula Foster -
Dr. Timothy Scholl -

Further information about the 3T MRI core facility can be found at: including booking instructions and on-line schedule. Billing information for MRI access can be found under ‘SOP Documents’.

For more information on the facility, booking etc. please contact the facility staff.

MR Technologist

D. Reese
519-931-5777 ext. 24109

MR Physicist

T. Wade 
519-931-5777 ext. 24243