at the Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics
Modern medical diagnostics would be unthinkable without magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In addition to traditional imaging, which reveals anatomical structures, functional MRI (fMRI) has become a valuable tool for brain research. It comes close to allowing us to watch the brain at work and has contributed considerably to the advances in human cognitive neuroscience. The special advantage of MRI is that experiments, unlike X-ray diagnostics, computer tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET), can be carried out without putting any strain on the health of the person being examined. In particular, it can create outstanding images of soft tissue in the biological organism, which means, especially at high magnetic fields, that for the first time it is possible to explore human brain processes non-invasively with good spatial resolution.
The focus of the High-Field Magnetic Resonance Department includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at very high-strength magnetic fields and the developmentof new contrast media that canmake brain activity visible. The most detailed brain scans currently available can be produced using the Institute’s own 9.4 Tesla human magnetic resonance tomograph as well as the 14.1 Tesla animal magnetic resonance tomograph (both scanners are among the world’s strongest MRT systems). The group investigates the development of signals in tissue and organs and works on optimising hardware and software to interpret data at very high magnetic fields.