Ultra-sensitive MRI scanner for neuroscientific research arrives in Amsterdam

24 July 2014

Amsterdam has acquired yet another exceptional research facility. On 24 July 2014  the 32,000-kilo magnet of a 7 Tesla scanner was hoisted into place at the brand-new premises of the Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging, located in the Amsterdam Zuidoost district.

This is the fourth such scanner to be installed in the Netherlands. The Ultra High Field MRI scanner, which will become operational in November 2014, will give neuroscientists a better understanding of the workings of the brain and brain dysfunctions.

De magneet van de 7 Tesla scanner voor het Spinoza Centrum voor Neuroimaging, AmsterdamThe magnet of the 7 Tesla scanner for the Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging in Amsterdam

Better imaging

The 7 T MRI scanner, which produces ultra-high-resolution images, makes it possible to measure brain activity in the separate layers of the cortex while a subject is lying in the scanner carrying out various tasks. Researchers can also observe anatomical details that less powerful magnets are unable to detect and accurately analyse brain metabolism. The magnet, which is 140 thousand times more powerful than the earth’s magnetic field, weighs 32,000 kilos, is 3.4 metres long, and is 2.4 metres in diameter.

Spinoza Centre

The Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging is the result of a partnership between the Academy’s Netherlands Brain Institute, the University of Amsterdam and its medical centre (AMC), and VU University Amsterdam and its medical centre (VUmc). The Spinoza Centre – part of which is located at the AMC – links approximately four hundred neuroscientists in the Amsterdam region. It cooperates with the university medical centres in Leiden and Utrecht, which also conduct medical research using a 7 T MRI scanner produced by Philips, another member of this network.

The workings of the brain

The Ultra High Field MRI scanner, which will become operational in November 2014, should give neuroscientists more insight into the workings of healthy and unhealthy brains and a better understanding of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

The 7 Tesla will be employed in a number of research priority areas:

  • Clinical Neuroscience (research on psychiatric disorders)
  • Cognition (research on the process of information-processing in the brain)
  • Emotion (research on sensitivity to mood dysfunctions, for example)
  • Methods and Statistics (development of data-gathering protocols and statistical analysis methods).

The Spinoza Centre’s new 7 T and older 3 T scanner were both purchased with a grant provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and funding made available by the City of Amsterdam and the Province of Noord-Holland.

Note for editors

For more information:

Pieter Buur, MR Physicist, Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging, +31 6 1750 4751, p.buur@spinozacentre.nl

Marja van der Putten, Academy Communication Department, +31 6 1315 0837, marja.van.der.putten@knaw.nl

Photographs and a short time-lapse video of the installation of the 7 Tesla magnet can be downloaded from the Academy Flickr Pages.

foto-album inplaatsen magneet.jpg