On Campus

Benevolent Behemoth

New MRI scanner makes a dramatic entrance downtown

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UB’s new MRI machine gets a lift. Photos: Sandra Kicman

By Lauren Newkirk Maynard

“We have unlimited opportunities to do dedicated studies where we can ask specific research questions and get much more informative answers”
Robert Zivadinov, Professor of Neurology

Question: What weighs as much as an African elephant and helps detect and treat disease?

Answer: The 7-ton magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner in UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC).

The new machine arrived in April, having been trucked to Buffalo from California on a customized tractor-trailer. It was then lifted seven stories by crane, and, after a specially designed panel on the back side of the UB CTRC was removed, gingerly placed inside the building.

The Vantage Titan 3 Tesla MRI scanner is being used at the downtown Buffalo research facility to produce critical images of soft tissue throughout the human body, including the heart and the brain—access that, in some cases, was previously available only through biopsies or autopsies. These images will enable UB scientists and their partners to perform groundbreaking research into Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, stroke and other diseases.

Specifically, the machine will be used to help develop MRI biomarkers for diagnosing and managing neurological diseases, and to find the best methods for cost-effectively using MRI technology in patients with a broad range of illnesses and conditions.

“We have unlimited opportunities to do dedicated studies where we can ask specific research questions and get much more informative answers,” says Robert Zivadinov, professor of neurology and director of the center’s MRI unit.

Heavy stuff, indeed.