The University of Queensland (UQ) has entered into a landmark agreement with technology specialist Siemens, to install a powerful MRI system that is more than twice as strong as any other MRI system currently available in the Southern Hemisphere.


Funded by the Federal Government, with matching funds from UQ, the Siemens MAGNETOM 7T MRI is set to propel Australia’s research and development capabilities to global benchmarks. It will be housed in the Centre for Advanced Imaging complex under construction at UQ’s St Lucia campus.


Centre for Advanced Imaging Director, Professor David Reutens said the new system would benefit important research programs into neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, stroke, epilepsy, motor neurone disease, brain tumours, and multiple sclerosis.


“The 7 Tesla system provides a quantum leap in imaging sensitivity, being 140,000 times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field, enabling incredibly detailed images of human anatomy down to the cellular level.


“The new system will be used on projects including the study of joint degeneration and injury, musculoskeletal pain and biomechanics, liver disease and the metabolic and molecular basis of disease.”


For the first time in this country, the Siemens MAGNETOM 7T MRI will make it possible to see microscopic details of human anatomy and function, with non-invasive imaging. 


UQ Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Alan Lawson congratulated the Federal Government for its vision in supporting purchase of the 7T MRI instrument.


“The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research is supporting the National Imaging Facility, for which UQ is the lead institution, through the Education Investment Fund.


“This acknowledges that the 7T MRI is a piece of national research infrastructure, and will provide capability to the wider Australian research community.”


The MAGNETOM 7T MRI will be installed in the Centre for Advanced Imaging at the University of Queensland in early 2013.