In 1994, Marquette received a grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to establish and equip a research center for X-ray microfocal imaging within the Biomedical Engineering Department. Led by Clough and Molthen, the center focuses on physiological and pathophysiological studies of pulmonary circulation. The X-ray microfocal imaging system, the only one of its kind, enables examination of structures, as small as 10 microns, in either small animals or excised organs. Dynamic angiography at 30 frames/second and micro-computed tomography are both feasible with this system. Most recently, the center has developed a single-photon-emission computed tomography system for imaging regional perfusion and ligand distributions in small animals. The instrumentation is housed in an 11 x 6 x 8 ft. lead-lined inner room housed within the VA physiology laboratory complex with about 2,000 square feet of laboratory space.
The Functional Imaging Laboratory, directed by Ropella, received significant support from the Whitaker Foundation via a Special Opportunity Award for Functional Imaging and the Anthony J. and Rose Eannelli-Bagozzi Medical Research Fellowship. It's well-equipped with Silicon Graphics workstations, Linux-based PC workstations and image acquisition hardware. These computers are connected to a biomedical engineering local area network and have Internet access. These resources are used by graduate students for signal and image processing, finite element analysis, real-time image acquisition and analysis, and computational fluid dynamics. Specific research projects include functional MRI of the brain, microfocal CT imaging of lung physiology, cardiac arrhythmia studies, stent design for cardiovascular applications, and finite element modeling of soft and hard tissues.
The Biophysics Department of the Medical College of Wisconsin is located at the Milwaukee County Medical Complex. The main areas of research are magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy and electron paramagnetic (or Spin) Resonance. The Biophysics Laboratory is part of the collaborative Functional Imaging Program with the Biomedical Engineering Department at Marquette. The Department of Biophysics occupies approximately 20,000 square feet. The space includes chemical, biochemical, and two tissue culture labs, an engineering complex, a microwave lab, six EPR spectroscopy labs, a machine shop, and a lab for MRI and MRS coil fabrication. This area provides space for a GE 3 T long bore MRI scanner, Bruker 9.4 T 30 cm bore MRI scanner and a Bruker 6 T W-band EPR spectrometer.
3.0 T Long Bore Excite MRI System The long bore GE Signa Excite MRI system is a 55 cm bore whole body MRI system with a high homogeneity, actively shielded magnet with resistive, passive and superconducting shims. This system allows imaging resolutions up to 256 x 256, oblique plane imaging, graphics prescription and automated reconstruction with echo-planar imaging sequences. These features make the system ideal for functional MRI. This scanner is housed in the Department of Biophysics at MCW.
1.5 T GE Signa Horizon LX Echo Speed System The GE Signa Horizon LX Echo Speed is a state-of-the art, whole body MRI system with a high homogeneity superconducting magnet. It is located at Froedtert Hospital in the Department of Radiology. The Echo Speed system allows imaging resolutions up to 256 x 256, oblique plane imaging, graphics prescription and automated reconstruction with echo-planar imaging sequences. These features make the system ideal for functional MRI.
1.5 T GE CVi System The GE CVi is a state-of-the art, whole body MRI system with a high homogeneity superconducting magnet. It is located at Froedtert Hospital in the Department of Radiology. The Echo Speed system allows imaging resolutions up to 256 x 256, oblique plane imaging, graphics prescription and automated reconstruction with echo-planar imaging sequences. These features make the system ideal for functional MRI and DWI.
9.4 T Bruker Biospec 94/30 USR In-vivo Spectroscopy Imaging System The Bruker Biospec system has an actively shielded 9.4 Tesla magnet with a 31 cm warm bore. This collection of hardware will allow gathering of high quality imaging and spectroscopic data, since the shim system should be able to generate extremely uniform fields, and the gradients, in conjunction with the RF transmission and receiver sub-systems, allow collection of data at extremely high rates, necessary for functional magnetic resonance studies.
Mock Scanner This facility mimics the spatial and aural environment of a functioning scanner. It is used for subject training and psycho-physical studies. It is operated by the MCW General Clinical Research Center.
A 1.5T GE Signa, 1.5T GE Signa LX Echo Speed, 1.5T GE CVi MRI systems, and a GE PET/CT Scanner, all located within the Department of Radiology at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, are available for patient studies. The Medical College of Wisconsin, the Allen-Bradley Medical Science Laboratory, Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex are all located adjacent to each other on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus.
In 2002, the Functional Imaging Research Center was founded at the Medical College of Wisconsin to formalize the collaborative efforts of scientists and engineers from the Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The mission of the center is to unite scientists and engineering of various disciplines to further the development and application of functional imaging in health and disease. Located a few miles from Marquette, the FIRC focuses on technological advancement of fMRI and using the technique to understand brain systems activated when healthy individuals perform sensory, motor and cognitive tasks in the scanner. Functional neuroimaging is becoming an area of increasing importance in systems (or integrative) neuroscience. More recently, MCW and Marquette fMRI investigators have begun to apply the technique to diagnose and monitor patients with a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including brain tumors, stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, attention deficit disorder, multiple sclerosis, head injury, visual disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and schizophrenia. Facilities include three dedicated MRI research scanners and related equipment, including gradient coils, a mock scanner, unique visual and auditory testing equipment to permit sensory testing during fMRI, and MR-compatible EEG and ECG monitoring equipment.