UBC MRI Research Centre

The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
Area(s) of Expertise

Our 7.0 Tesla MRI scanner offers two advantages for preclinical research: the ability to perform in vivo monitoring of a wide range of biological variables non-invasively, and the ability to serially track the progression of a disease or intervention in the same living animal. Good biomarkers that allow assessment of drug candidates have long been recognized as important in reducing the high attrition rates and long development times that pose great financial risk to the pharmaceutical industry. MRI is one modality that is set apart from other biomarkers because the imaging readouts tend to be much more closely related to the disease phenotype, thus facilitating direct associations between therapy and effect. As such, our state-of-the-art MRI scanner, with a recent upgrade in 2013, is equipped with the newest electronic hardware and offers a wide range of cutting-edge MRI techniques for biological and medical applications, e.g. very high spatial resolution anatomical imaging, blood flow and tissue perfusion measurements, myelin water imaging, functional MRI, cell tracking, multi-nuclear spectroscopy, cardiac imaging, and many others. These cutting-edge MRI techniques are invaluable for preclinical assessment of a therapy’s efficacy and mechanism of action. Of particular note, we have a strong academic track record in imaging animal models of cancer and spinal cord injury.

Our 3.0 Tesla facility provides high-contrast anatomical images and detailed physiological and biochemical information from human subjects, obtained non-invasively. It is particularly well-suited for the study of human disease processes and also for obtaining better understanding of normal human behaviour.

What the facility does

In vivo MRI and imaging of preclinical disease models using state-of-the-art equipment

Research Services
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Susceptibility Weighted Imaging, Diffusion Tensor Imaging,
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, T1 and T2 relaxation measurements, power injector,
  • fMRI,
  • rsfMRI,
  • dynamic contrast enhanced MRI, body fat quantification,
  • cell tracking,
  • multi-nuclear spectroscopy, Magnetic Resonance Elastography, cardiac imaging,
  • myelin water imaging,
  • animal monitoring,
  • retrospective gating,
  • in-scan EEG monitoring and electrical stimulation,
  • surgical services,
  • animal handling and housing services,
  • radiofrequency coil development
Sectors of Application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Chemical industries
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Forestry and forest-based industries
  • Health care and social services
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Ocean industries

Name of specialized lab

Name of equipment

Description of function

7.0T preclinical MR research facility

Bruker Biospec 7.0 Tesla MRI Scanner with 4 receiver channels, 20 cm diameter accessible bore size.

In-scan Isofluorane Anesthesia System and body temperature control (air heater controlled by fibre optic temperature sensor)

Monitoring system for vital signs: ECG, EEG, pulse oximeter, respiration sensor

Prep room for scan preparation and small surgeries

Electronics/mechanical workshop and computing facilities

Morphological imaging:  Performs very well in measuring anatomical detail due to excellent image contrast between individual soft tissue types (e.g. water vs. fat, normal vs. cancerous).  A voxel size of 0.1 x 0.1 x 0.5mm is achievable through careful experimental design and moderately long acquisition times.

Designed specifically for research studies on small experimental animals such as mice and rats.  Provides a full range of research support for Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging and spectroscopy applications including method development, data collection and data analysis.

3.0T MR research facility

Philips Achieva Intera 3.0 Tesla MR Scanner with high-performance gradients, 16 receiver channels and 60cm bore size.

High-resolution conventional imaging fMRI with back projections LCD screen, presentation software, several response devices

Power injector for contrast enhancement and perfusion measurements

High resolution imaging:  Superb anatomical detail due to excellent soft tissue image contrast.

Designed for state of the art in vivo research studies on human subjects.  Provides a full range of research support for and collaboration with MR imaging and spectroscopy applications including method development, data collection and data analysis.

  • RF Therapeutics Inc.
  • Qu Biologics Inc.