Frequently Asked Questions

Probably, although we try to limit access to those who need it. Requests for card access should be sent by the study PI to Michael Worden, along with the individual’s Brown ID number, and should state the reason why access is needed. Individuals who do not have a Brown ID (e.g., hospital based RAs) must obtain a sponsored ID in order to get card access.

All MRI research at Brown involving human subjects requires IRB approval. Please refer to the Brown IRB web pages for policy guidance regarding the need for IRB approval and for the approved MRI Consent Addendum.

Unfortunately we cannot grant parking spaces for researchers. Metered street parking is available in the vicinity of Sidney Frank Hall.

Approved MRF protocols request scan time, as well as time for other MRF resources, using our on-line request form. Please consult the online calendar for availability prior to requesting time. Protocols with complex scheduling requirements may wish to coordinate requests ahead of time with Lynn Fanella.

Subjects should arrive to the MRF at least 30 minutes prior to scan time to prepare for scan time and avoid over scan time slot overages. Researchers may wish to arrive prior to their subjects to ensure someone is here to greet them.

Please use the same online request form and put CANCEL in the comments field.

Please see the cancellation policy on the request form.

There is no charge for using the behavioral testing room.

There is no charge for using the MRI simulator room.

No. Because use of these resources must often be coordinated with other groups using the scanner, bookings must be in the same one-hour increments scheduled on the hour.

Usually this is OK but there can be constraints depending on the work being done at the facility.  You should coordinate with Lynn Fanella or Michael Worden ahead of time.

Yes. Once scanning has begun there will be a charge for the scheduled time slot.

Our standard policy is not to charge for participant no-shows that are beyond the control of the researcher.  However, frequent no-shows or last minute cancellations present problems for other research groups and result in a loss of revenue for the Facility.  In cases of excessive no-shows or last-minute subject cancellations we reserve the right to charge.

When subjects have medical devices, you must contact Lynn in advance for a safety review. We guarantee a definitive answer within 2 weeks. Usually we are able to answer much quicker than this, however sometimes we are waiting on device manufacturers and cannot guarantee a fast response.

Fairly frequently, we have participants with a metal injury to the eye or who have engaged in metal work without consistent eye protection. Even if the participant has previously had an MRI elsewhere, or is certain there is no residual metal in their eye, the MRF will not scan the participant without a documented Waters’ view X-ray to ensure safety.

The Siemens scanner will automatically add one or more “dummy scans” or “prep scans” to the start of each BOLD acquisition. The number of prep scans is determined by the TR. The purpose of these scans is to allow T1 values to reach a steady state. Note, however, that the presence of these scans does not necessarily assure that you will have achieved steady state if your flip angle is less than 90 degrees. Each prep scan has a duration of 1 TR. To determine the number of prep scans that will be inserted at the beginning of your run, use the following chart:

  • TR > 3000: 1 prep scan (TR)
  • 1500 < TR ≤ 3000: 2 prep scans (TRs)
  • 1000 < TR ≤ 1500: 3 prep scans (TRs)
  • TR ≤ 1000: 4 prep scans (TRs)

Thus, for example, if your run has a TR of 2500 and 100 reps your total acquisition time will be:

(100 * 2500) + (2 * 2500) = 102 * 2500 = 255000 ms = 255 seconds.

NOTE: No data are saved for the dummy scans; you will collect only as many volumes as you specify for the number of repetitions even though your acquisition time will be extended by 1-4 TRs depending on the number of prep scans (according to your TR). N.B. Acquisition times reported by the scanner are always rounded up to the nearest second.

NOTE: If you use the trigger box, no triggers are generated for the prep scans.

NOTE: If your acquisition time is 1 sec longer than you expect, be sure that the “Introduction” option is disabled for your sequence.

NOTE: If you are using parallel imaging — either iPAT, SMS/Multiband, or both — then there are additional reference scans that are also acquired prior to scanning, each lasting 1 TR and for which there is no trigger pulse. The specific number of reference scans depends on the parallel imaging factor chosen and is somewhat complex to determine in advance. If you use parallel imaging and need to determine how much time will elapse from the start of your scan until the first trigger is received and data are collected, it is usually best to determine this empirically by subtracting the expected acquisition time (number of acquisitions x TR) from the acquisition time (TA) reported by the scanner for your sequence, which will include all reference and dummy scans.

If the funding and IRB approval are the same and the procedures are substantively similar to those in your approved protocol then you do not need a new application.  If the procedures are substantively similar but either the funding or IRB is different, than you do not need a new application but you should send a request asking for a new project to be created.  The request should state that the same procedures are being used, should provide a new title for the project and should provide the updated information in terms of billing and/or IRB.  If the new project uses substantively new or different procedures than those in your approved protocol, you should submit a new protocol.

Every new project can book an hour of time at no charge for protocol development in order to test code and set up the protocol on the scanner.  In most cases, we can work with you ahead of time to have the protocol already built on the scanner before your Methods time and the hour can be used to fine tune the parameters.  If there is a demonstrated need, a second hour may be granted at the discretion of the MRF.  Methods time requests can be booked through the regular scheduling mechanism by including a note in the Comments field. However, it is advisable to coordinate with MRF staff before booking Methods time to ensure that necessary resources are available. When scheduling Methods times, preferences may be given to paid studies.  

It is common to have a lab member volunteer to be scanned as part of a Methods development session. Please note that Brown does not permit Brown Undergraduates to be scanned unless they are participating in an IRB approved study and have signed the appropriate consent form.

The MRF does not provide free scanner time for individual projects nor for ongoing projects.  Fully or partially subsidized scanner time may be available to researchers without funding for the specific purpose of collecting pilot data to be used for external funding applications. Applications for subsidized scan time should be submitted using the standard process outlined on our website. The application should include a cover letter that details the specific funding opportunity for which the data are being collected, including the funding agency, submission date, and any other relevant details. The expectation is that if the application is successful the scanning for the project will take place at the MRF.  Thus, applications from postdoctoral researchers or others with limited term appointments must include a letter of support from the appropriate department indicating that the applicant will be employed and the project will be conducted at Brown should the work be funded.  Subsidized time is typically granted up to a total of 10 hours.  If there is a demonstrated need, up to an additional 10 hours may be granted subject to the submission of a progress report after 10 hours.