The UAB Multidisciplinary NeuroImaging Resource Core (MNIRC) for Clinical Neuroscience is a neuroimaging analysis facility established by a grant from the General Endowment Fund of the UAB Health Services Foundation (Georg Deutsch, PhD, principal investigator, Glenn Roberson, MD, co-PI). The overarching mission of the Core is to establish a centralized neuroimaging processing laboratory and the accompanying administrative infrastructure necessary to promote innovative, cross campus, use of state-of-the-art brain imaging technologies, including functional and structural MRI, PET, and MEG.
The laboratory is now operational in the UAB Russell building (Suite B016 -approx 600 sq ft). Conveniently located for access by research groups in Radiology, Neurology, Psychiatry, Neurosurgery, and Biomedical Engineering. Server is networked to Civitan MRI and new Neuroradiology Translational Lab in TKC.
The facility is fully functional with state-of-the-art hardware and software resources (listed below). Current foci of research and clinical applications include:
Cross-modality image registration
Arterial spin labeling based perfusion
Perfusion and permeability MRI
Diffusion tensor imaging, white matter tractography
Oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) measurement
New PET ligand modeling of neuro-receptor pathways
In addition, the laboratory and resource core in general, serve as a facility for the exchange of ideas and information among neuroimaging researchers campus wide. As of April 2011, the MNIRC core was being utilized by six NIH/extramural grants and three intramural grants.
Current staffing of the Core includes Chris Price (10% effort), a senior IT analyst whose role includes assisting with hardware, software, and connectivity issues, and Rishi Deshpande (60% effort) and Andrew Spear (50% effort), a programmer-engineer and computer scientist who specialize in neuro-radiological software applications and the development of custom-written applications. There are also five students/residents/fellows from various UAB departments who work in the Core for their research projects. Scientific and administrative operations are overseen by Dr. Georg Deutsch, Dr. Donald Twieg (biomedical engineering), and Dr. Glenn Roberson (neuroradiology). The combination of computing power and information forums make it a unique and extremely useful resource for innovative brain imaging research projects.
The MNIRC lab is an integral part of a new translational clinical service being implemented at UAB: "pre-surgical brain mapping using functional MRI" through the cooperation of neurology, neurosurgery, and radiology. The lab is also an integral part of a new multi-departmental pain research group: "Alliance for the Development and Advancement of Pain Treatments" (ADAPT) established under the auspices of the Comprehensive Neuroscience Center in 2011. The MNIRC lab is providing imaging expertise and analysis tools in the search for objective biomarkers of pain and pain syndromes.