This February marked a ground-breaking advancement for the UBC MRI Research facility with an upgrade to Canada’s first Philips 3.0T MR7700 MRI scanner. This upgraded MRI scanner is located in the Charles E. Fipke Integrated Neuroimaging Suite on the lower level of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.



Researchers are already taking advantage of the system’s new capabilities:

  • Diffusion imaging with increased gradient amplitudes up to 65 mT/m now provides significantly improved data quality, enabling visualization of the brain’s neural pathways with amazing clarity.
  • The new multi-nuclear spectrometer is a gamechanger, allowing researchers to image beyond the proton (1H) across all anatomies, facilitating more pathologically specific research investigations.
  • Sodium (23Na) magnetic resonance imaging shows promise for noninvasively quantifying sodium content in the tissue, allowing us to assess brain cell and knee cartilage health.
  • Additionally, phosphorus (31P) MR spectroscopy has promising applications for understanding cellular energy dynamics in the brain and other anatomies.

Above, left: First in vivo images of sodium concentration in the brain with the MR7700.
Above, middle: A Sodium MRI scan taken with the MR7700.
Above, right: PhD student Alex Ensworth was very excited by the first phosphorus spectrum from the brain on the MR7700.

With this significant upgrade, researchers at UBC can now delve into a whole new realm of research questions with a broader multi-modality approach, yielding more precise and comprehensive information about the brain in health and disease.

Our team of MR physicists and technologists were thrilled to get a week of training on the new equipment with Philips MRI Clinical Scientist Guillaume Gilbert. During the training week, our team learned about how to optimize these system upgrades to maximize our research capabilities.


Left: MR physicists & technologists from left to right: PhD student Neale Wiley from the Kolind lab, PhD student Jason Reich from the Feldman lab, PhD student Alex Ensworth from the Laule lab, PhD student Sharada Balaji from the Kolind lab, UBC MRI Clinical Scientist Dr. Erin MacMillan, Philips MRI Clinical Scientist Guillaume Gilbert, MR Technologist Peter Kapela, and Research MRI Supervisor Laura Barlow.




The UBC MRI Research facility has implemented these improvements for many ongoing and new studies to reveal novel insights into brain structural and biochemical changes caused by disease, or repair following treatment. Please visit the UBC MRI Research website or email to learn more.