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Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine

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Since the end of the twentieth century, MRI and PET have revolutionised in vivo imaging, with PET providing metabolic information with high levels of sensitivity and MRI being the method of choice for structural imaging.

Due to the complementary nature of the information afforded by each modality, the combination of PET and MRI is advantageous to aid diagnostics and treatment planning. This can be achieved by registering and fusing images from the two modalities using appropriate software tools. However, scientists in INM4 are currently working to develop new hybrid imaging technology in the form of a scanner that allows PET and MRI images to be acquired simultaneously.

The initial steps in the development of a hybrid scanner required the development of a new type of MR-compatible PET detector, which was first realized for studying small animals. Since then, the first industrial prototypes of integrated MR-PET scanners for human brain studies were installed in 2008. Beyond time saving in patient management and the optimal spatial overlay of anatomic and functional information, this technique offers new perspectives with regard to the simultaneous observation of physiological and biochemical processes. For example, the use of simultaneous MR-PET imaging enables functional brain activation and the interaction of receptor ligands during special activation tasks or pharmacological intervention to be explored in humans. Thus, MR-PET opens new horizons in multiparametric neuroimaging, particularly in terms of the investigation of dynamic MR-PET information.

Presently, the institute holds two hybrid MR-PET scanners at high field and ultra high field with 3 Tesla and 9.4 Tesla, respectively. Both scanners are based on whole body Siemens MRI systems and are equipped with identical Siemens BrainPET inserts. The PET inserts are based on Avalanche photo diodes (APD), since conventional photo multipliers (PMT) do not work inside the magnetic field of the MR-scanners. The positioning of the BrainPET insert in the centre of the magnet offers the opportunity for iso-centred imaging in space and time.

Trimodal imaging in one session: FET-PET, MP-RAGE and DTI in humans

Trimodal Imaging in one Session: FET-PET, MP-RAGE and DTI in Humans

The acquisition of trimodal PET, MP-RAGE and DTI data on an MR-PET hybrid scanner, capable of simultaneous MR and PET, to investigate plasticity and reorganisation in human brain tumours is demonstrated.

Clinical protocol for brain tumour patients using Hybrid MR-BrainPET

Clinical MR-PET

This study demonstrates how a versatile multimodal protocol can be performed in a routine clinical set up of approximately 45 minutes scanning time acquiring PET and MR data simultaneously.

Arterial Spin Labling

Arterial Spin Labling

Our aim is to develop and validate the ASL techniques for different MR-PET applications.

MRI Spectroscopy

MRI Spectroscopy

MRI Spectroscopy is a technique used to provide biochemical information about human body tissues in a non-invasive way. It can be used for brain physiology research.

Additional Information


Project Leader

Prof. N. J. Shah, PhD


Dr. Liliana Caldeira

Mirjam Lenz, M.Sc.

Dr. Christoph Lerche

Dr. Philipp Lohmann

Dr. Bo Ma

Dr. Dr. Jörg Mauler

Prof. Dr. Irene Neuner

Dr. Elena Rota Kops

Dr. Jürgen Scheins

Hancong Xu, M.Sc.