UCI Neuroscience Imaging Center

NIC is a world-class facility, where we do cutting-edge research using state-of-the-art Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners. Dr. Steven L. Small, Ph.D., M.D. was recently named Director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center. Because one in four families contains someone diagnosed with a debilitating brain disorder, it becomes imperative that physicians and researchers have effective tools for diagnosis, treatment evaluation, and understanding underlying mechanisms of brain pathology. PET and MRI are such tools that provides a picture of the metabolic activity and structure of the brain. Learning about the working brain through hypothesis driven research can result in improved treatments for a variety of brain disorders.

NIC’s High Resolution Research Tomography (HRRT) offers the highest resolution PET images available (~2mm isotropic resolution). UCI’s scanner is one of only sixteen in the world, and five in the U.S. It has more than 120,000 LSO/LYSO detectors arranged in dual layers to enhance resolution throughout the entire brain image. This enhanced resolution allows movement, emotion, and reward circuits to be distinguished from each other. This is not possible with other scanners, including the newest PET-CT scanners.

The NIC also houses a 3 Tesla, actively shielded, Philips Achieva scanner. A number of radio frequency coils are available for a variety of purposes: 32 and 8 channel receive-only phased array SENSE head coils, a 12 element receive/transmit birdcage head coil, a dual hydrogen and sodium imaging head coil, a breast coil, two upper body/torso receive coils, region specific “FLEX” coils, and the built in receive and transmit whole body antenna. The scanner comes equipped with the Quasar Dual gradient set which allows for maximum gradient amplitudes of 80 mT/m and slew rates of 200mT/m, almost twice as powerful as conventional 3 Tesla systems. In addition, a range of stimulus response and delivery peripheral equipment and software for fMRI are interfaced with the scanner.

The Neuroscience Imaging Center has a multidisciplinary team of physicians, physicists, biomedical engineers, psychologists, and computer programmers keeping the facility at the forefront of the continuing advances in brain imaging methodology. In addition, our advanced cyber infrastructure for data analysis and image fusion, segmentation and neuroinformatics research further contribute to the nationally recognized work that has come from our Center.

Since 1985, the Neuroscience Imaging Center has scanned several thousand research and clinical subjects for the following diseases and disorders: Anxiety Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Autism, Brain Tumors, Child Development, Dementias, including Alzheimer’s Disease and HIV-Associated Dementia Complex, Depression, Eating Disorders, Epilepsy, Head Trauma, Huntington’s Chorea, Language and Stuttering, Legal Insanity (Forensic), Mental Retardation, Multiple Sclerosis, Near Drowning, Parkinson’s Disease, Schizophrenia, Sleep Disorders, and Stroke.

We look forward to working with you on your research and clinical imaging needs!