VUMC Institute of Imaging Science (VUIIS) - Human Imaging

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VUIIS Human Imaging Core

Overview of Services

What we can do for you
The Human Imaging Core operates a diverse set of imaging resources for structural and functional imaging, including MR, PET/CT, peripheral CT, OCT, and NIRS scanners. We also support magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) protocol development, functional MRI (fMRI) experimental design, subject preparation, structural and functional image analysis, and training on image analysis techniques and tools.

The Human Imaging Core is dedicated to the application of advanced and prototypical MRI methods to study specific organ systems of the human body such as: nervous (central and peripheral), muscular-skeletal, cardio-pulmonary, and integumentary systems. Additionally, many ongoing projects focus on development and validation of novel MRI biomarkers for the assessment of numerous diseases (e.g. cancer, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, epilepsy, concussion), conditions (cognitive impairment, learning disability), and normal function (activation of the human brain, sensitivity to pain). Specifically, our researchers are working on MRI methods sensitive to 1) tissue anisotropy, 2) tissue composition, 3) tissue metabolism, and 4) tissue function. 



All of our resources are operated as full-time research instruments and not as clinical facilities.

Two 3 Tesla MRI Scanners
The VUIIS houses two state-of-the art 3T MR scanners: a Philips 3T Ingenia CX and a Philips 3T Ingenia Elition X.  Both scanners run on the Philips dStream digital broadband platform and have two transmit channels, physiological monitoring capabilities, and a broad array of coils. Compressed SENSE and multi-band are standard features. Audio/visual presentation hardware and software are available for functional MRI studies.

  • 3TA: The Ingenia Elition X is a wide-bore system (70 cm) with high-performance gradients (45 mT/m and 220 T/m/s amplitude and slew rate, respectively).
  • 3TB: The Ingenia CX is a 60 cm bore (diameter) system with high-performance gradients (80 mT/m and 200 T/m/s maximum amplitude and slew rate, respectively).

7 Tesla MRI Scanner
60 cm bore diameter Philips Achieva whole-body MR imager/spectrometer. The scanner has a moving bed and an intercom system for communication between investigators and subjects. The system has the same software, pulse-programming environment, and pulse sequences as current 3 T Philips scanners. The 7 T system has Philips peripheral pulse, respiratory and cardiac gating capabilities as well as audio/visual presentation equipment available.

The Philips Vereos PET/CT is a whole-body scanner with Digital Photon Counting (DPC) technology, which offers enhanced image quality and quantitative accuracy compared to analog time-of-flight performance.

Mock MRI Scanner
This laboratory consists of an inactive scanner identical to that of our research systems, and includes an audio system for playing reproductions of scanner noises. This laboratory is designed to introduce patients, particularly children, to the environment in the actual scanner, and to screen for claustrophobia.

Near Infrared Optical Tomography (NIRS)
Oxyhemoglobin, deoxyhemoglobin and total hemoglobin concentration changes can be recorded using the portable 24-channel Hitachi ETG-4000 Near Infra-Red Optical Tomography system.

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)

SPECTRALIS OCT is a non-invasive ophthalmic multimodality imaging instrument which uses near-infrared light to visualize and measure the thickness of retinal layers. Real time tracking of the retinal structures can be used to detect early signs of eye conditions, diabetes, and coronary events. Click here for a video!

High Resolution peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography (HRpQCT) 
High resolution peripheral quantitative CT with the Scanco XtremeCT II (XCT II) allows bone density measurement and 3D quantification of the microarchitecture of the bone at the distal tibia and radius of humans.
Please note, a contract with Mereo BioPharma must be obtained prior to use of this resource. For more information, please contact us at

Location and Hours of Operation 

Physical Location

Mailing Address



1161 21st Ave South
MCN AA-1105
Nashville, TN 37232-2310

Hours vary by resource

Billing Number Activation

 VUMC Investigators with VUMC center numbers:
  All VUMC billing numbers are activated in iLab via a nightly feed from Workday. Grant Worktags are auto-assigned to the PI's lab group. All other funds (Cost Centers, Gift or Program Worktags) must be claimed within the PI's Lab Group.
 VU Investigators with VU CoA or POET numbers:
  VU users will manage the VU billing numbers via the webform on the VUMC Office of Research website
 Vanderbilt Investigators with VA (Veteran Affairs) funding: 
  Contact the VUMC Office of Research at to request access to your VA funding.  All investigators with VA funding are assigned a VA billing number (999999xxxx). The VUMC Office of Research manages VA billing numbers in coordination with the VA Research Administration.