Research-clinical partnership delivers world-leading high-power MRI to support clinical trials and new medical products

[Image: South Australia’s Acting Premier and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Susan Close MP joined Jones Radiology CEO Prof Susan O’Neill to cut the ribbon on the new MRI]

South Australia’s Acting Premier and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Susan Close MP joined SAHMRI Executive Director Prof Steve Wesselingh, Siemens Healthineers Managing Director, Michael Shaw and Jones Radiology CEO Prof Susan O’Neill to officially open one of the world’s first MAGNETOM Cima.X magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners at National Imaging Facility’s (NIF) SAHMRI Node in Adelaide today. 

The new scanner is a co-investment between NIF ($1m) through the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), SAHMRI, Jones Radiology, Siemens Healthineers and the South Australian Government ($1m).  

[Image: SAHMRI Executive Director Prof Steve Wesselingh with South Australia’s Acting Premier and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Susan Close MP]

The Cima.X will be based at SAHMRI’s Clinical Research Imaging Centre (CRIC) which delivers open access state-of-the-art imaging services for clinical and research scanning.  

CRIC Director and NIF Node Director, Dr Andrew Dwyer said the Cima.X has the potential to revolutionise MRI for both purposes. 

“The clinical benefits of this technology will be initially realised for degenerative brain diseases, traumatic brain injury, and supporting precision treatment of brain tumours,” Dr Dwyer said. 

“It’s on the research front though, where we have the greatest potential for breakthroughs. Combining the gradient performance of the Cima.X, frontiers in machine learning and the skills of the team at CRIC will enable our researchers to investigate the body and its processes with a clarity they couldn’t have dreamed about previously.” 

[Image: NIF SAHMRI Node Director Dr Andrew Dwyer, Senior Scientist and National Coordinator for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Dr Shawna Farquharson, and Chief Technologist and NIF Fellow Angela Walls]

NIF CEO, Prof Wojtek Goscinski said SAHMRI’s Cima.X, as one of the first of its kind globally, will support the translation of cutting-edge scientific discoveries into new medical products, a key priority of the Australian Government’s National Research Infrastructure Roadmap.  

“Australia is a world leader in applying and translating MRI technology, and the unique capabilities of the Cima.X within SAHMRI’s world-class clinical context will be a valuable component of NIF’s national network, underpinning Australia’s ability to translate research, provide better clinical decision-making and better health,” Prof Goscinski said.  

“The Cima.X is designed to study the connections in the human brain, which is critical to understanding challenging neurological disorders, such as stroke and acute brain injury, and will be an important tool for investigator and industry led clinical trials for the development of new medical products to treat these conditions.”  

Managing Director at Siemens Healthineers, Michael Shaw said the Cima.X is the strongest whole-body, clinically-approved 3T MRI ever manufactured.  

“The system is more than twice as powerful as anything used in a clinical setting previously thanks to the novel Gemini Gradients,” Mr Shaw said. 

“This will ultimately provide clinicians and researchers alike with deeper insights into the human body. In addition, the Cima.X leverages our next generation of deep learning image reconstruction technology for faster image acquisition and signal rich super resolution images. Our Open Reconstruction Research Platform is designed to connect research partners and promote seamless national and international research collaborations.” 

Read SAHMRI’s media release here. 

NIF’s SAHMRI Node becomes second Hub of the Australian Epilepsy Project

[Image: Prof Graeme Jackson, AEP Chief Investigator, Dr Michelle Kiley AM, Director of Epilepsy Services, CALHN and Lead Epileptologist AEP South Australia, Martin Adams, Chair of the Florey Board, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and Prof Steve Wesselingh, Executive Director SAHMRI]

ICYMI, an Australian Epilepsy Project (AEP) Hub has opened at SAHMRI – South Australia’s independent not-for-profit health and medical research institute, and National Imaging Facility’s (NIF) second node to join the national multidisciplinary collaboration to improve epilepsy outcomes.

AEP’s first Hub was established at NIF’s Node at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne and the SAHMRI Hub will provide magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning facilities and expertise to support this important initiative in Adelaide.

Epilepsy affects over 150,000 Australians, and its expenditure burden on the national health system is around $333M each year.

[Image: Ned Travers, AEP Lived Experience Ambassador South Australia, Dr Michelle Kiley AM, Director of Epilepsy Services CALHN and Lead Epileptologist AEP South Australia, Amanda Anderson, AEP Lived Experience Ambassador and Participant Lead and Carolyn Travers, AEP Lived Experience Ambassador South Australia]

The AEP aims to develop a critical resource to progress epilepsy research to reduce diagnosis uncertainty and facilitate fast-tracking of optimal treatment by combining advanced imaging, genetics, cognition, and artificial intelligence (AI).

AEP’s Chief Investigator, Professor Graeme Jackson said the ultimate aim of the AEP is to improve the standard of care and change the lives of people with epilepsy.

“Epilepsy is life-long condition and we need life-long solutions. Using algorithms, imaging and rich data we can extract insights to predict patterns in epilepsy and create individualised treatment plans for patients. This is an exciting new standard of care that we’ll be able to offer people living with epilepsy,” Prof Jackson said.

The AEP program has been developed using novel advanced imaging techniques with AI and machine learning, supported by NIF’s world-class infrastructure, which will provide the highest quality of data to epilepsy research.

NIF CEO Prof Wojtek Goscinski said the geographical expansion of the project will drive major advances in decision support tools to guide diagnosis and highlight opportunities for precision treatment for epilepsy, while addressing the disparity in epilepsy research in Australia’s diverse population.

“NIF’s national network of world-class human MR expertise and infrastructure will enable scanning across the country, in alignment with our impact goals addressing health equity for all Australians” Prof Goscinski said.

“It’s a privilege for NIF to support this life-changing project at our node at the Florey for patients in Victoria, and now SAHMRI for patients in South Australia,” Prof Goscinski said.

[Image: Dr David Vaughan, AEP Imaging Lead and Clinician, Paul Lightfoot, AEP Operations Lead, Jemima Gore, Operations Officer, SAHMRI Clinical Trials Platform, Lisa Carne, SAHMRI Operations Manager and Dr Karen Best, Director, SAHMRI Clinicial Trials Platform]

SAHMRI Clinical Trials Platform Director Dr Karen Best said enabling Adelaide’s medical research sector to engage with national initiatives like the AEP is a key reason that SAHMRI’s Clinical Trials Platform exists.

“We’re proud to be able to help at all stages of the project’s SA-based activities, from coordinating patient enrolment to making connections for diagnostic testing at facilities like the SAHMRI Clinical Research Imaging Centre.”

In addition to the AEP’s expansion to South Australia, Hubs in Queensland and New South Wales are set to launch in mid-2023.

Want to join the Australian Epilepsy Project? Ask your neurologist for a referral.

People in South Australia as well as Victoria living with epilepsy can be referred into the hub for advanced testing, free of charge, as part of their participation in the AEP. Find out more at

Meet our new Fellows

Meet the newest members of Australia’s advanced imaging network.

Their expertise is vital in applying imaging technologies, processing and interpreting imaging data, and applying imaging to solve complex problems.

We’re proud to extend our welcome to, and introduce, the newest members of NIF’s Fellows network, joining our team of experts enabling Australian imaging science to unlock solutions to major challenges.

USyd/ANSTO Facility Fellow
SAHMRI Facility Fellow
Monash Facility Fellow
Macquarie Facility Fellow

World-leading imaging technology reveals insights into cancer treatment for children with Down Syndrome

World-leading imaging technology reveals insights into cancer treatment for children with Down Syndrome.

The National Imaging Facility (NIF) continues to enable imaging science to unlock major health challenges with break-through research coming out of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

Leading-edge research using bioluminescent imaging conducted at the NIF’s South Australian Node has provided critical insight into the development of cancer in children with Down Syndrome.

Scientists from SAHMRI have identified an epigenetic regulator, HMGN1, on chromosome 21 that cooperates with a high-risk gene fusion to give rise to acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in paediatric patients with Down Syndrome.

Children with Down Syndrome are 20 times more prone to developing leukaemia, and are more susceptible to experiencing additional side effects from chemotherapy. In addition to these statistics, 60% of children with Down Syndrome ALL harbour this high-risk gene fusion, and all have high expression of chromosome 21 genes.

SAHMRI’s findings suggest HMGN1 is a potential target for a precision treatment approach in Down Syndrome ALL. The outcomes from this study present an opportunity to reduce exposure in patients to the toxic side effects of chemotherapy and improve survival outcomes for children with Down Syndrome ALL.

NIF Node Co-Director, Dr Chris Christou praised the work of the SAHMRI team, including Prof Deborah L White and Dr Elyse Page and congratulated them on the findings which present potentially life-saving data.

“These dedicated and highly-skilled scientists have demonstrated the critical role imaging has in responding to major health challenges,” Dr Christou said.

“I congratulate them on this vital discovery and look forward to updates on their continued work progressing their research to improve the lives of children with Down Syndrome.”

You can read a detailed post about the study here.

For more information, contact Wick Lakshantha, Imaging Scientist and National Imaging Facility Fellow, SAHMRI.

Ape-y ending for sick Orangutan at the National Imaging Facility SA Node

Ape-y ending for sick Orangutan at the National Imaging Facility SA Node

Image credit: Adrian Mann

Puspa, the 46-year-old female Sumatran Orangutan from Adelaide Zoo was taken to the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute Preclinical, Imaging and Research Laboratories (SAHMRI PIRL) for CT imaging last year to investigate the cause of a sudden change in behaviour and suspected pain in her lower abdomen.

Diagnostic imaging plays a critical role in healthcare in human- and animal- patients, enabling the best evidence for decision making, and coordinating the most effective treatment options.

Sumatran Orangutans are critically endangered, and a patient like Puspa can’t tell us what’s wrong. Having access to a CT scanner within the SAHMRI Large Animal Research and Imaging Facility (LARIF) is extremely valuable for diagnosis and treatment, protecting the species.

The expert team *swung into action* to find the CT scan revealed a number of gallstones, along with inflammation of the bile duct and gallbladder – and determined the best course of action for Puspa’s wellbeing to be surgical removal.

Due to the unique nature of the operation, the veterinary team consulted with human medical experts from Flinders Medical Centre and the Royal Adelaide Hospital to determine the best procedure to remove all the gallstones and gallbladder based on the CT findings.

The uniquely diverse medical team removed nine large gallstones and a gallbladder that was definitely past its prime(ate).

We’re ape-solutely delighted to report that since surgery, Puspa is back to her usual self, but hasn’t been up to any monkey business, leaving her stitches alone. She’s eating well, has been out and about and is climbing.

For more information, contact: Georgia Williams, Research Radiographer and National Imaging Facility Fellow, SAHMRI.

If you’re a fan of gore(illa) (sorry) you can watch the video of Puspa’s surgery below.

You can *hang out* with Puspa at Adelaide Zoo.

Privacy Settings
Google Maps