Future Capabilities

NIF is committed to enabling nationally significant research and meeting the unmet needs of imaging infrastructure in the Australian scientific community. NIF has awarded the following successful partners to realise essential capabilities for the research community.

Preclinical PET/3T MRI
La Trobe University and Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute
This research capability will allow cutting-edge research into metabolic and signalling changes occurring in cancer, neurodegenerative disease, cardiovascular disease, infection and inflammatory diseases to be evaluated in suitable orthotopic and transgenic models. It will also provide essential imaging capability for sophisticated translational research.

Joint investment
Alpha radioisotopes, microdosimetry and radiopharmaceuticals facility
Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the University of Queensland
This investment will develop an integrated national capability targeted at alpha particle therapeutics. The application of alpha particle therapeutics develops key capabilities in production and handling of new isotopes, safety and training for broader dissemination of new technologies, preclinical capabilities allowing imaging and microdosimetry to better understand the mechanism of action as well as potential off-target effects of the new therapies. The capacity will enable clinical translation and commercial development of new innovations in the field.

High-definition, MRI-compatible EEG for 3T Clinical MRI systems
Neuroscience Research Australia/Prince of Wales Hospital
A system to enable and support local, national and international research programs that need to reliably ascertain brain state by electroencephalogram (EEG) at the same time as MR imaging information is collected. Simultaneous EEG and MRI is relevant to research into functional brain studies; sleep and sleep disorders; mental health; acute and chronic pain; and conditions involving EEG abnormalities such as epilepsy. This investment will generate outcomes and impact in three major research themes, sleep, pain and epilepsy.

MRI Guided High-Intensity Focussed Ultrasound system and compatible 3T MRI
The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
This equipment will establish the Australian High-Intensity Focussed Ultrasound (HIFU) research capability. This will be the first national research capability for ultrasonographic brain lesioning, providing image-guided minimally-invasive personalised neurosurgery. It will enable research teams to develop and translate into the healthcare sector new minimally-invasive HIFU-based treatments for Australians with brain disorders. It will discover, improve and validate therapeutic deep brain ablation methods for more effective treatment of tremor, epilepsy and a range of other neurological conditions.

Plant-Soil Systems imaging capability
The University of Melbourne
An investment that will establish a new national capability in Functional Plant Imaging. This capability, through expertise in plant sciences and imaging technologies nationally and internationally, will address questions about how plants function in today’s and future dynamically changing climates. NIF imaging technologies will support research into the challenges of food security and environmental sustainability for Australian agriculture and natural landscapes, in areas such as water, salinity, nitrogen and phosphorus. This will lay the foundations for Australia to document the impact of production (yield), productivity (yield per resource) and quality (value) of agriculture outputs.

Macquarie University Node membership and 3T MRI
Macquarie University
This investment will provide national access to medical and research imaging capabilities within an integrated academic health sciences and private healthcare setting and provide a seamless experience for research participants and researcher access to high-quality imaging datasets (single- and multi-modal) and relevant clinical information. Establishing a NIF node at Macquarie University will embed an integrated academic health sciences centre and will incorporate medical imaging (a full medical imaging suite including x-ray, CT, MRI, PET) located within Macquarie University Hospital (MUH) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) and related electrophysiological recording technologies located within the Australian Hearing Hub. The MEG facility at Macquarie is the only paediatric MEG in Australia which is particularly suited for studies of children who have received Cochlear implants and will strongly complement the MEG capability at Swinburne Node of NIF.

University of Newcastle Node membership
University of Newcastle
This capability will be the first NIF node in regional Australia, with unique links to regional and rural communities, engagement with Aboriginal researchers and communities, which are underpinned by advanced bioinformatics that supports imaging research nationally. The Hunter Medical Research Institute Imaging Centre (HMRI-IC) plays a unique role in the Australian imaging landscape, being regionally located and providing health outcomes directly for regional and rural Australia. It facilitates important translational imaging research and supports a volume of high-end imaging research, supporting discovery and translational science as well as clinical trials. This facility supports translational projects in cancer, dementia, psychosis, inflammatory diseases and cardiorespiratory disease; basic discovery research; and technical developments in sequence optimization and implementation.

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