The Werner Siemens Imaging Center provides two small animal 7T MRI systems. Both systems are equipped with whole body coils for rats and mice as well as specific brain coils to allow precise signal detection. These systems can be used for measuring fMRI as well as contrast enhanced MR in mice and rats in high resolution. One of the scanners also contains a self-developed PET insert to conduct PET and MR simultaneously. The development has been finished in 2011 in close collaboration with Bruker Biospin MRI.

Famous for outstanding soft-tissue contrast, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the key diagnostic tool in modern radiology. Besides unmatched morphological information, MRI allows quantitative functional data such as perfusion maps or tracking of individual nerve fibres, purely based on non-invasive in vivo imaging. Furthermore, it also provides insight into the metabolism, quantifying e.g. total choline content and its corresponding phosphorylation status by in vivo spectroscopy. Its versatility makes MRI an invaluable tool in all medical fields, from head-to-toe, addressing e.g. morphological changes in Alzheimer's Disease, quantifying beta-cell function in diabetes, characterizing tumor status and treatment response or simply providing a morphological map for the correct interpretation of other modality data.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is also tool to study functional processes in the brain. We were able to show brain function in response to a barrel-field stimulus with functional MRI (fMRI), which assesses fast vascular and oxygenation changes during activation. We also found spatial and quantitative discrepancies between the fMRI and PET activation data.

These results demonstrate the complementarity and the discripancies of MRI and PET for the simultaneous study of the brain at activation and rest, revealing comprehensive and complementary information to further decode brain function and brain networks.