The proposal is to establish the world's first 14 Tesla MRI. Research will be structured into three scientific themes (robust imaging and proton spectroscopy of the brain; novel brain imaging techniques; X-nuclei applications), each supported by its corresponding methodological pillar. For each, we show exemplary new and exciting applications, in the full expectation that complementary new ideas will develop from these. The first scientific theme, and first priority after installation, is to use relatively simple MR data acquisition techniques to take advantage of the 14 Tesla field strength and to quickly make breakthroughs in cognitive neuroscience, by for example: obtaining anatomical images of the brain at unprecedented resolution; being able for the first time to image both excitatory and inhibitory activity simultaneously; measuring brain responses with high temporal and spatial resolution in single trial experiments and thus being able to explore how the brain adapts and learns. We shall initially perform hypothesis driven experiments in relatively small groups of healthy volunteers. Once the techniques have become fully established, we shall extend them to image larger cohorts, and to obtain a better understanding of neuro-pathologies such as Parkinsonism. By exploiting the potential of 14 Tesla acquisition to disambiguate neurovascular effects from physiological noise, and to eliminate fully the latter, we shall be able to obtain uncorrupted measures of brain connectivity and exploit these to obtain definitive normal atlases of brain connectivity variation with age. With these techniques we shall establish high quality anatomical imaging of the brain with T1 and T2* contrast, functional neuroimaging using gradient echo EPI, and rapid proton spectroscopic imaging, particularly of the important neurotransmitters GABA and glutamate.
The second thematic area covers novel and exploratory neuroimaging techniques. These include, diffusion weighted imaging and, the direct measurement of neuronal currents. The third thematic area covers the use of nuclei other than protons (X-nuclei), which are ideally suited to high field exploration due to the significant boost in their low sensitivities. Nuclei studied will include deuterium, carbon and phosphorus, as well as potentially sodium/potassium. Information from X-nuclei can offer fundamental new insights into brain metabolism, and into a range of metabolic diseases and psychiatric disorders.