Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Center for Magnetic Resonance & Optical Imaging



Trainees and researchers come from a variety of backgrounds, including medicine, bioengineering, biophysics, chemistry, physics, engineering, and mathematics. The Resource Center excels at educating future scientists on the fundamentals of magnetic resonance theory and application. Both new and established researchers are aided in learning about new developments in the field and to hone their skills for applications within their own research programs. Investigators may be trained on an individual basis by Resource staff or through group mechanisms such as seminars, courses, and workshops.

As part of their training, students, postdoctoral researchers and fellows are encouraged to present the results of their investigations at international meetings such as International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), Experimental NMR Conference (ENC), Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), International Conference on Magnetic Resonance and Biological Systems (ICMRBS), Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), Human Brain Mapping (HBM), Osteoarthritis Society International (OARSI), Orthopedic Research Society (ORS) and Gordon Research Conferences (GRC), where they can gain firsthand knowledge of the latest scientific innovations. Students receive travel funds through their training grants, the scientific societies, or through travel stipends from the medical school and the Biomedical Graduate Group.

The Resource facility houses over forty desks in a wall-less, cubicle-free environment which promotes open communication and discussion among the Principal Investigator, predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows, and visiting and senior researchers.


Over the past 33 years, the Research Resource has sponsored the training of 318 young scientists. Of these, 24 were MD/PhD students from the medical school, 124 were PhD students from various departments at the university, and the remainder were 60 MD postdoctoral fellows and 110 PhD fellows. The breakdown of trainees over the last funding year are as follows, 1) 7 PhD students, 2) 13 PhD postdoctoral fellows, and 3) 9 undergraduate students.  We have also trained 46 undergraduate students and 42 high school students over their summer breaks.  These students are interested in continuing their education in science.

The faculty of the Research Resource organize and teach several graduate-level courses in MR physics and other basic biomedical sciences. In addition, a biweekly colloquium discussing recent magnetic resonance publications has been organized as a forum for teaching fundamental MR concepts. This colloquium is open to all.

Before, the trainees (driving biomedical projects (DBPs), collaborators and service project users) begin their work at the resource, the resource personnel (TR&D directors and associated personnel) provide customized training in the following aspects

  • Building RF coils and/or gradient coils required for individual research applications.
  • Strategies on pulse sequence development and modifications as demanded by the application and needs of the investigators.
  • Use of image/data processing routines developed at the resource.
  • MR scanner usage training will be provided by going through practical experiments on 7T whole body MRI scanner, 4.7T and 9.4T animal magnets, and 1.5T and 3T clinical research scanners in the Department.
  • The 7T whole-body system is an important teaching tool at the Research Resource. The 7T whole body system is one of only approximately 20 systems world-wide.
  • Use of resource computers for simulation and data processing.
  • Use of facilities for tissue culture and histology.
  • Use of laser facilities for producing hyperpolarized gases.
  • Training in the use of optical imaging instruments and image reconstruction algorithms.

Following initial training described above, the trainees are encouraged to design their own pulse sequences and to build their own RF or gradient coils. Following the training, trainees and researchers are able to design a multitude of experiments ranging from in vitro validation of magnetic resonance pulse sequences with phantoms, biochemical tissue analysis and in vivo human clinical studies.