At the heart of the Winkler Labs is the GE MR950 7T MRI scanner and a fully equipped RF hardware laboratory with a range of tools for the development of UHF MRI hardware. The Winkler Lab is also home to a Computational Lab with access to accelerated numerical modeling and a variety of numerical modeling software packages, among them Sim4Life, and COMSOL.
Further facilities available at Weill Cornell and the MRIRI are as follows:
I. Citigroup Biomedical Imaging Center (CBIC)
The Biomedical Imaging Core Facility at the Citigroup Biomedical Imaging Center houses hardware, software, and professional support for a range of imaging modalities including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), positron emission tomography (PET), computed tomography (CT), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and multispectral optical imaging. In addition, a fully supported cyclotron and radiochemistry facility is devoted to the synthesis of radiotracers for a wide range of applications. The entire facility is dedicated to biomedical imaging research and applications development.
1. Small Animal Imaging and T1 Translational Imaging
The small animal and specimen imaging facilities consist of a new Inveon multi-modality PET/CT/SPECT system, Scanco VivaCT 40 and CT 35 ultrahigh resolution CT systems, a Siemens CTI Focus 220 PET system, a Bruker Biospec 7.0 Tesla 30 cm bore magnetic resonance imaging spectrometer, and a Carestream In Vivo MS FX Pro multi-spectral imaging system. The scanners are supported by immediately adjacent space and staff for animal preparation including surgical capabilities. In addition, our large bore MRI imaging hardware (see below) has been modified in-house to accommodate small animal imaging, thereby enhancing translational imaging capabilities.
2. T2 Translational Imaging and Human Subjects Research Imaging
Our translational and human subjects research imaging hardware is located in the same building as the small animal imaging systems. All are linked with a freight elevator to the Research Animal Resource Center’s new vivarium on the 3rd floor, which features a fully supported surgical suite for small or large animal procedures. Major equipment includes
The Siemens Biograph mCT–S (64) slice PET/CT tomograph is designed for oncological, neurological and cardiac imaging and diagnosis.
(2) 2 3T MRI:
Our Siemens 3.0 Tesla TIM Trio MRI/MRS system is a 60 cm bore top-of-the-line “T-Class” product with moving table acquisition capability. It features 32-channel operation with 102 channel plug-ins. In addition to the standard gradient set, it also features an 80 mT/m 800 T/m/s 36 cm diameter gradient accessory for animal imaging. This provides reduced magnetic susceptibility artifacts specifically allowing echo planar based fMRI and DTI scans on smaller fields of view that cannot be accomplished using the clinical gradient system.
The system includes a full multinuclear spectroscopy platform as well as full advanced cardiac capability. A wide range of radiofrequency resonators were purchased for this system allowing for full body coverage including a 32-channel head coil, spine array, body phased arrays, and extremity arrays. Investigator built resonators and pulse sequence development platforms are supported. In addition we have modified this system in-house to allow for state-of-the-art functional magnetic resonance imaging acquisition. Functional MRI paradigms are supported with a full complement of hardware and software research tools. Eye tracking capabilities for both human and primates are provided with real time monitoring. Additional hardware is available for measurement of galvanic skin response and physiologic recording (EEG, respiration, pulse
oximetry). An fMRI compatible fiber optic based sound system provides optimal noise free delivery of audio paradigms. A rear projection presentation system allows for video paradigm delivery in conjunction with event related button press keypads. Software available for paradigm implementation includes EPrime, Paradigm and MATLAB and is synchronized with the echo planar triggering signal from the scanner. The General Electric 3.0 Tesla EXCITE MRI/MRS SYSTEM features a Magnex 94 long bore magnet with a clear bore of 55 cm. The long bore magnet has exceptional homogeneity. The system also features
multinuclear spectroscopy. fMRI is supported with IFIS visualization hoods and a paradigm delivery computer.
A comprehensive portfolio of specialized radiofrequency resonators has been built in-house for use on primates and in small animals. The small animal resonators greatly aid in translational research since the same pulse sequences can be applied directly to human subjects. Research developed pulse sequences are also supported.
(3) Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound:
Our General Electric SIGNA 3.0 Tesla system is equipped with two Insightec ExAblate magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) platforms, the ExAblate 4000 for thalamotomy and its research version with additional programming capabilities. The ExAblate transcranial system combines a focused ultrasound surgery delivery system and a conventional diagnostic 3T MRI scanner, providing real-time therapy planning algorithm, thermal dosimetry, and closed-loop therapy control. The latter is achieved by utilizing the unique interactive MRI scan control features of the GE MRI system. The system utilizes a large phased array transducer that utilizes 1024 transducer elements. InSightec’s numerous clinical studies have shown that large hemispherical phased arrays can deliver adequate energy through human skulls to coagulate brain tissue in
vivo without excessive temperature elevation on the skull surface. The interface between the subject head and the transducer is filled with degassed water, which provides the acoustic coupling path. The system includes a chiller (refrigerating unit with degassing capabilities) that keeps the degassed water chilled at constant temperature so that the skull-bone temperature remains within safety limits. Acoustic aberration is created mostly by the variations in the bony structure of the skull. The degree of compensation necessary for each transducer element is based on predicting the aberration along the acoustic path from that element to the target and calculating the relative phase and amplitude correction necessary for that element. The result of this compensation is that the acoustic energy contribution from each element will arrive at the focal point in phase.
3. Cyclotron and Radiochemistry
The cyclotron facility consists of an EBCO TR-19 dual beam, negative ion (19 Mev proton and 9 MeV deuteron at <150 μAm) self-shielded cyclotron with 8 different target ports, housed in a 1 m thick concrete vault. The cyclotron has the basic targetry for the production of F-18 (>2Ci), C-11 (1.5 Ci) and N-13 (1.2 Ci and NH3)). In addition, the external beamline was designed to support a semi-automated solid target system capable of making I-124 and Zr-89. The cyclotron is located in the same building as the PET cameras and facilitates the use of short -lived isotopes such as O-15 and C-11. The radiochemistry laboratory complex is equipped with 3 hot cells and 2 mini cells for automated or remote synthesis. The lab has 2 automated [11C]Methyiodide and methylation modules ((GE TracerLab FXc pro and GE MicroLab) for the production of [11C]CO2, [11C]Methyliodide and [11C]methyl triflate for the routine synthesis of IND PET radiotracers such as [11C]PIB, [11C]Raclopride, [11C]Arachidonic acid, [11C]Flumazenil and [11C]PK11195.
4. Image Processing and Programming Infrastructure Deployed within CBIC
>20x Windows PCs (Windows XP/Windows 7), 3x Linux PCs (Fedora, SUSE, etc.), 2x Apple Mac Pro,2x GE PACS Workstations, 2x Siemens Leonardo Workstations,2x GE Entegra PET/CT Workstations, 1x Apple Mac Book, 1x Buffalo 8Tb Network Attached Storage Terastation Server, 1x Readynas Infrant 2Tb Network Attached Storage Server
Image Processing and Programming Tools:
4x MATLAB R2011 Licenses, 3x IDL 8.1 Licenses, 2x PMOD 3.3 PET Modeling Software: PBAS - Base incl. PVIEW, DICOM server, DB, key; PKIN - General kinetic modeling tool, with all models; PXMOD - Pixel-wise modeling tool, with all models; PCARD - Cardiac modeling tool (Extension); PFUS - Image registration and fusion tool; P3D - 3D image rendering tool; PALZ - Alzheimer discrimination tool, 1x General Electric MRI Pulse Sequence Compilers (M16, etc.), 1x Siemens MRI IDEA Pulse Sequence Compilers (VB17, etc.), 1x BrainVoyagerQX 2.3
II. Imaging Informatics and Infrastructure to Support Clinical Trials / Human Subjects Research
Image Data Evaluation and Analytics Laboratory (IDEAL)
Office of Imaging Protocol Development and Review (OIPDR)
The Image Data Evaluation and Analytics Laboratory (IDEAL) has clinical, research, and research infrastructure foci. IDEAL provides clinical image post-processing support for the Department of Radiology and its referring physicians. In addition, the lab has its own research mission with active projects in memory disorders (including NPH, AD, MCI, PD); movement disorders (including MS, PD); CT dose reduction (including screening, HRCT, body composition, CT Perfusion, oncologic imaging); enhanced post-processing technology development (including segmentation, registration, dataset fusion, lesion characterization). Finally, IDEAL has a significant mission in providing research infrastructure including the institutional Research PACS (serving WCMC, the CTSC, the Cancer Center, and other entities), providing clinical trials management services for Phase 0 – IV trials, and providing research interpretations / response assessments (such as RECIST, Cheson, arthritis scores, etc.).
OIPDR, which exists within the infrastructure of IDEAL, is designed to assist researchers in the review of external protocols and the design of investigator-initiated protocols with specific attention and expertise in imaging science.
IDEAL has developed clinical tools such as a Brain Health Report Card that includes measures of CSF flow, perfusion, morphometry, brain diffusivity, and quantitative susceptibility mapping. IDEAL has also developed research support tools such as STARS (Study/Subject Tracking And Registration System) and semi-automated measurement tools to support expedited and consistent response assessment.
III. Institute for Cardiovascular Imaging (ICI)
The Institute for Cardiovascular Imaging (ICI), which is dedicated to research, education, clinical implementation and innovation in cardiovascular imaging, houses state of art equipment and resources in 2500 net square feet of space, with an additional 2000 net square feet in construction. Specifically, ICI includes 5 offices in Cornell’s S Building, equipped with high-end computers with the latest office and statistical software as well as high speed gigabyte network connections; printers, digital scanners, copy and fax machines; telephone conferencing capability; and 32 TB’s of encrypted media storage with redundant back up storage for all data. ICI also has access to multiple conference rooms with state of the art audio-visual and
In addition to local media storage solutions, ICI has access to over 10TB of additional network storage with off-site data backup, as well as data integration within a dedicated research PACS. Multiple DICOM viewing workstations available for image analysis in a dedicated laboratory include:
12 GE Advantage Workstations (GE Healthcare, Waukesha, WI)
1 Philips workstation
1 OsiriX MD Workstation (Pixmeo, Geneva, Switzerland)
1 Vitrea Workstation (Vital Images, Minnetonka, MI).
IV. Molecular Imaging Innovations Institute (MI3 including the Program in Radiopharmaceutical
Discovery and Development)
MI3 is dedicated to the discovery, development, optimization, and validation of targeted molecular probes and imaging technologies to provide in vivo elucidation of specific molecular pathways that play critical roles in health and disease. The Institute will bring together pre-clinical and clinical scientists, clinicians, imaging technologies, and medical practice. The Institute will be internationally recognized for its contributions in the use of molecularly targeted imaging for:
• Understanding normal and pathologic biology and physiology in vivo to support pre-clinical and clinical
• Facilitating the translation of molecularly targeted interventions from the research laboratory to early clinical (T1 Translational and Phase 0 Research) investigation;
• Validating imaging biomarkers for risk assessment, prognosis, and prediction (for use in screening, cohort assignment, treatment triage, and response assessment)
• Translating validated imaging biomarkers in conjunction with molecularly targeted interventions for use in clinical trials and clinical care (Personalized Medicine)
• Guiding and delivering minimally-invasive, imaging-guided interventions.
Facilities and equipment available within MI3:
The research projects will be performed at the newly established MI3 at WCMC. MI3 is part of the Department of Radiology and will be located at Belfer Research Building and S-0. The center will occupy over 8,000 net square feet of laboratory space, conferences rooms, and offices. The center will be divided into Chemistry, Biology/Biochemistry, and Radiochemistry areas and have the capacity to accommodate a total of seven PIs and 40-50 students, staff members, and postdoctoral associates with networked computers, and printers. Currently, MI3 has three faculty and more than eight researchers, excluding the faculty and staff dedicated to the Program in Radiopharmaceutical Discovery and Development. However, MI3 also does collaborate with and is “virtually inclusive” of the Department’s Program in Radiopharmaceutical Discovery and Development that is led by John Babich, PhD and staffed by four faculty and additional staff / post-doctoral fellows.
V. Biomedical Imaging Lab (Wang, Spincemaille, et al; Headed by Dr. Wang)
The Wang lab consists of office/conference room /coil lab (2000 ft2), right next door to WCMC core imaging facility (Citibank Biomedical Imaging Center, two 3T GE and Siemens whole body MR scanners, all dedicated for research) and one block from the affiliated New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYP) 1.5T and 3T GE clinical MR scanners.
Electronics are available in the PI’s RF lab for prototyping and testing RF resonators, including a four channel HP E5070B-ENA network analyzer. Machine shop and other electronic shop are available from Biomedical Engineering for constructing various MRI phantoms.
16x Windows PCs (>8GB RAM each), 6x Linux PCs (file server/GE psd compilers), 2x Apple Mac Pro (8 cores, 16 GB RAM), 2x Apple MacBook Pro, 32 compute node cluster (3.2 GHz P4 Xeon EM64T, 6 GB RAM, Dell PowerEdge 1850), 1x Dell R910 (8x8 cores, Intel® Xeon® X7550, 2GHz, 64 GB RAM), 1x Dell R910 (4x8 cores, Intel® Xeon® X7550, 2GHz, 64 GB RAM)
Image Processing and Programming Tools:
Software available in this lab includes: OsiriX medical image viewer (both commercial and free version, including several in-house developed plugins), MATLAB, LVMETRIC for automated left ventricle segmentation of cardiac MR images, SPM, and NIFTI. Development tools include GCC and Intel C/C++ compilers, GE epic pulse sequence compiler, ATLAS, MKL, DCMTK, and in-house developed tools and libraries for GE MR raw data processing, real-time MR navigator, MR image reconstruction and magnetic susceptibility mapping.
VI. Clinical Systems Available to Support the Research Enterprise
The New York Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Medical Center (NYP-WCMC) is a 1032 bed general medical and surgical facility, with over 38,000 adult admissions and over 300,000 outpatient annual visits. Associated with the inpatient services, there is a large outpatient and emergency clinical service. The Radiology Department’s clinical footprint encompasses various sites within NYP-WCMC as well as five outpatient facilities. While the primary mission is the delivery of excellent clinical care, the Department is also dedicated to excellence in teaching and research. Of particular importance to this Imaging Core proposal is:
1) the necessity to provide consistent, high quality imaging services during the course of clinical trials that incorporate “Standard of Care” (SOC) imaging studies for the purposes of triage / cohort enrichment (eligibility determination) and response assessment,
2) the mandate to correlate imaging (in vivo) and tissue (ex vivo) biomarkers by a variety of mechanisms but most commonly through the use of highly specified (and potentially multi-modality) image-guided percutaneous biopsy,
3) an effort to develop, optimize, and validate image-guided interventions and theranostics, and
4) the goal of determining the appropriate role of imaging and other tests during the care of patients with specific risk factors and/or diagnoses (health service research).
While the specific number of imaging platforms varies over time, the Department is notable for having a broad range of contemporary imaging platforms in both the inpatient and outpatient sites of service, linked to a Clinical PACS from which imaging studies may be extracted into the Research PACS previously described in a seamless and semi-automated manner. In addition, the Department continues its instantiation of an evidencedbased, point of care, computerized decision support system that is integrated with the EMR.
The current and soon to be installed equipment inventory includes:
21 ultrasound systems, 9 CT scanners
9 MRI systems
3 PET/CT or PET/MR platforms
4 SPECT / planar nuclear medicine cameras
29 radiographic units
5 mammography machines
3 DEXA system
7 dedicated interventional radiology suites (inclusive of CT, angiography, and US).