UTHealth Houston 7T MRI Preclinical Core Facility


The 7T preclinical MRI core facility at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston is part of the MRI imaging Center. It houses a 7T Bruker BioSpec wide bore preclinical scanner that is equipped with a BG12 gradient (440 mT/m) for rodents MRI and a BG06 (1000 mT/m) gradient dedicated for mouse imaging. The facility also has physiological monitoring equipment that is capable of cardiac gaging, respiratory gating, and temperature regulation. We offer imaging service in a wide range of research areas, such as stroke, oncology, cardiology, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, knee injury, and liver diseases. The center also has a surgical suite that is available to users for minor surgical procedures. Our expert team can help you implement various imaging methods and optimize imaging protocols to meet your research needs. Our team can also assist you with image analysis for deriving quantitative metrics. The center can also help the investigators with IRB and grant preparations.


In addition to conventional imaging methods, our 7T preclinical are capable of performing the latest imaging methods including:

  • Quantitative T2 and T2* mapping using Multi-echo spin-echo and gradient-echo methods, respectively
  • Quantitative T1 mapping using Inversion Recovery (IR), Saturation Recovery, and variable flip angle methods
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) for measuring water Apparent Diffusion Coefficient (ADC) and fiber tracking
  • Dynamic Contrast Enhanced (DCE) MRI for measuring vascular permeability
  • Dynamic Susceptibility Contrast (DSC) MRI for measuring blood volume, blood flow, and blood vessel caliber.
  • Bruker IntraGate method for retrospectively gated cardiac bright blood or black blood CINE imaging
  • Resting-state fRMI
  • Flow-sensitive Alternating Inversion Recovery (FAIR) for cerebral blood flow (CBF) measurement
  • Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer (CEST) MRI

Getting Started

  • All imaging studies must have AWC approved animal protocol. Make sure imaging procedure is covered in the protocol. We are not allowed to scan without the approved protocol.
  • Finish the MRI safety class offered through LearnToSucceed
  • Check out the scanner schedule for open time slots and contact Shuning Huang for scanner time request.
  • For detailed scanner charges and data archiving, please contact Shuning Huang


The 7T preclinical MRI core facility is located on the ground floor of McGovern Medical School (MSB), Suite G.604 (6431 Fanning Street, Houston, TX, 77030). For more information or questions about using our 7T preclinical core facility, please call our facility at 713-500-5925 or contact Dr. Shuning Huang.

We look forward to working with your research team.

Selected Publications in the last 10 years

  1. Otani Y, Sur H, Rachaiah G, et al. Inhibiting protein phosphatase 2A increases the antitumor effect of protein arginine methyltransferase 5 inhibition in models of glioblastoma. Neuro-oncology. 2021 Feb. DOI: 10.1093/neuonc/noab014.
  2. Contro J, Silva DA, Santisteban OAN, Narayana PA, Nery JG. In vitro and in vivo comparative performance studies of gadolinium-loaded zeolites and GdDOTA as contrast agents for MRI applications. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2020 Dec 6. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.34773. Online ahead of print.
  3. Otani Y, Yoo JY, Chao S, Liu J, Jaime-Ramirez AC, Lee TJ, Hurwitz B, Yan Y, Dai H, Glorioso JC, Caligiuri MA, Yu J, Kaur B. Oncolytic HSV-Infected Glioma Cells Activate NOTCH in Adjacent Tumor Cells  Sensitizing Tumors to Gamma Secretase Inhibition. Clin Cancer Res. United States; 2020 May 15;26(10):2381–2392. PMID: 32139403
  4. Herrera J, Bockhorst K, Bhattarai D, Uray K. Gastrointestinal vascular permeability changes following spinal cord injury. Neurogastroenterology and motility : the official journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society. 2020 Mar;e13834. PMID: 32163655
  5. Lee TJ, Nair M, Banasavadi-Siddegowda Y, Liu J, Nallanagulagari T, Jaime-Ramirez AC, Guo JY, Quadri H, Zhang J, Bockhorst KH, Aghi MK, Carbonell WS, Kaur B, Yoo JY. Enhancing Therapeutic Efficacy of Oncolytic Herpes Simplex Virus-1 with Integrin beta1 Blocking Antibody OS2966. Molecular cancer therapeutics. 2019 Jun;18(6):1127–1136. PMCID: PMC6548661
  6. Hong B, Muili K, Bolyard C, Russell L, Lee TJ, Banasavadi-Siddegowda Y, Yoo JY, Yan Y, Ballester LY, Bockhorst KH, Kaur B. Suppression of HMGB1 Released in the Glioblastoma Tumor Microenvironment Reduces  Tumoral Edema. Mol Ther Oncolytics. 2019 Mar 29;12:93–102. PMCID: PMC6350213
  7. Hong B, Muili K, Bolyard C, Russell L, Lee TJ, Banasavadi-Siddegowda Y, Yoo JY, Yan Y, Ballester LY, Bockhorst KH, Kaur B. Suppression of HMGB1 Released in the Glioblastoma Tumor Microenvironment Reduces Tumoral Edema. Molecular therapy oncolytics. 2019 Mar;12:93–102. PMCID: PMC6350213
  8. Russell L, Swanner J, Jaime-Ramirez AC, Wang Y, Sprague A, Banasavadi-Siddegowda Y, Yoo JY, Sizemore GM, Kladney R, Zhang J, Lehman NL, Ostrowski MC, Hong B, Caligiuri M, Yu J, Kaur B. PTEN expression by an oncolytic herpesvirus directs T-cell mediated tumor clearance. Nat Commun. 2018 Nov 27;9(1):5006. PMCID: PMC6258708
  9. Lee TJ, Yoo JY, Shu D, Li H, Zhang J, Yu J-G, Jaime-Ramirez AC, Acunzo M, Romano G, Cui R, Sun H-L, Luo Z, Old M, Kaur B, Guo P, Croce CM. RNA Nanoparticle-Based Targeted Therapy for Glioblastoma through Inhibition of Oncogenic miR-21. Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy. 2017 Jul;25(7):1544–1555. PMCID: PMC5498802
  10. Banasavadi-Siddegowda YK, Russell L, Frair E, Karkhanis VA, Relation T, Yoo JY, Zhang J, Sif S, Imitola J, Baiocchi R, Kaur B. PRMT5-PTEN molecular pathway regulates senescence and self-renewal of primary  glioblastoma neurosphere cells. Oncogene. 2017 Jan 12;36(2):263–274. PMCID: PMC5240810
  11. Herrera JJ, Bockhorst K, Kondraganti S, Stertz L, Quevedo J, Narayana PA. Acute White Matter Tract Damage after Frontal Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of neurotrauma. 2017 Jan;34(2):291–299. PMCID: PMC5220577
  12. Lee TJ, Haque F, Shu D, Yoo JY, Li H, Yokel RA, Horbinski C, Kim TH, Kim S-H, Kwon C-H, Nakano I, Kaur B, Guo P, Croce CM. RNA nanoparticle as a vector for targeted siRNA delivery into glioblastoma mouse model. Oncotarget. 2015 Jun;6(17):14766–14776. PMCID: PMC4558114
  13. Lee TJ, Haque F, Vieweger M, Yoo JY, Kaur B, Guo P, Croce CM. Functional assays for specific targeting and delivery of RNA nanoparticles to brain tumor. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, NJ). 2015;1297:137–152. PMCID: PMC5289709
  14. Narayana PA, Herrera JJ, Bockhorst KH, Esparza-Coss E, Xia Y, Steinberg JL, Moeller FG. Chronic cocaine administration causes extensive white matter damage in brain: diffusion tensor imaging and immunohistochemistry studies. Psychiatry research. 2014 Mar;221(3):220–230. PMCID: PMC3943678
  15. Nusbaum DM, Antonsen E, Bockhorst KH, Easley RB, Clark JB, Brady KM, Kibler KK, Sutton JP, Kramer L, Sargsyan AE. Optic nerve sheath diameter measurement techniques: examination using a novel  ex-vivo porcine model. Aviat Space Environ Med. United States; 2014 Jan;85(1):50–54. PMID: 24479259
  16. Hui C, Esparza-Coss E, Narayana PA. Improved three-dimensional Look-Locker acquisition scheme and angle map filtering procedure for T1 estimation. NMR in biomedicine. 2013 Nov;26(11):1420–1430. PMCID: PMC3785574
  17. Hylin MJ, Orsi SA, Zhao J, Bockhorst K, Perez A, Moore AN, Dash PK. Behavioral and histopathological alterations resulting from mild fluid percussion injury. Journal of neurotrauma. 2013 May;30(9):702–715. PMCID: PMC3941923
  18. Wendt M, Bockhorst K, He L, Glasser A. Accuracy and resolution of in vitro imaging based porcine lens volumetric measurements. Experimental eye research. 2011 Nov;93(5):741–752. PMCID: PMC3658159
  19. Sundberg LM, Herrera JJ, Narayana PA. Effect of vascular endothelial growth factor treatment in experimental traumatic spinal cord injury: in vivo longitudinal assessment. Journal of neurotrauma. 2011 Apr;28(4):565–578. PMCID: PMC3070144.

Service Charges

Scan Time Charges

  • In vivo study: $100/hour or $250/animal (this is recommended if the scan protocol is longer than 2 hours)
  • Ex vivo study: $100/sample

These charges include anesthesia (isoflurane), contrast agent, and the use of surgical suite. Investigators are responsible for administering any injectable anesthetic agents.

Data Analysis Charge

  • $250/dataset