FAU-University MRI Announce Research Partnership
FAU and University MRI have entered into a joint research agreement to propel the University’s focus in the neurosciences and provide researchers with access to the newest imaging technologies available today.
Florida Atlantic University and University MRI have entered into an unprecedented, five-year joint research agreement to propel the University’s focus in the neurosciences and provide researchers with access to the newest imaging technologies available today. University MRI, located in the FAU Research Park on the Boca Raton campus, houses the latest technology in medical imaging including 3T FMRI and MR guided focused ultrasound, typically found in large research facilities and institutions.
The Human Brain Imaging Facility (HBIF) is the brainchild of Fred Steinberg, M.D., medical director of University MRI, and J.A. Scott Kelso, Ph.D., FAU’s eminent scholar in science and founder of FAU’s Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences. Steinberg and Kelso have a long-standing affiliation working together to better understand the structure and function of the human brain in both health and disease. They and their students and colleagues have previously collaborated on various non-invasive brain imaging studies of normal cognitive and motor function as well as studies of mild traumatic brain injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and Asperger’s syndrome.
“The ability to understand the human brain and its relation to cognitive function and dysfunction requires precise knowledge of its structure, function and dynamics,” said Steinberg. “As a result of this agreement, FAU researchers and their collaborators will be able to use our machines to get a very unique glimpse into the human brain for a wide range of projects.”
HBIF will enable cutting-edge basic brain research studies to take place with special purpose toolkits for visual displays, movement, and sound recording that are not available on MRI machines in hospitals or radiology clinics. Multiple disciplines including psychology, physiology, neurobiology, physics, statistics, linguistics, communication disorders, education, nursing, medicine, computer science and engineering will have access to the facility.
“In addition to basic research in cognitive, behavioral and affective neuroscience, our human brain imaging research will most likely include studies on autism, traumatic brain injury, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and a host of other conditions related to aging and pain,” said Kelso. “This partnership will offer many opportunities for translational research and applications such as biomarkers, drug testing, and brain-computer interfaces.”
Neuroscience is one of four of FAU’s “pillars” that guide the institution’s goals and strategic actions to develop and implement programs that will generate knowledge to benefit society. FAU’s neuroscience pillar reflects the U.S. Human Brain Initiative, which is a top research priority to gain insight into how humans perceive, remember, think, feel and move. A focus on research in the neurosciences will help to eliminate the widespread suffering caused by neurological and mental health disorders as well as alleviate the economic burden of brain disease in an aging society.
“This partnership will be a tremendous boost to South Florida’s economy and will provide us with a competitive advantage to recruit and retain top scientists and faculty to this region,” said Daniel C. Flynn, Ph.D., FAU’s vice president for research. “We also will be able to attract top graduate and undergraduate students through bolstered research and STEM programs, and greatly enhance our ability to obtain funding from federal, state and private entities.”
University MRI provides the highest level of medical imaging services using leading-edge technology. The first center, which opened its doors on FAU’s Boca Raton campus and remains in the FAU Research Park, offers MRI, CT, ultrasound, positron emission tomography (PET), nuclear medicine, digital x-rays, fluoroscopy and bone density testing to the community.
“Having cutting-edge technology for human brain imaging available to our research community will enhance Florida Atlantic University’s place in the world of brain research and will greatly increase the likelihood of new discoveries,” said Kelso.