The University of Newcastle node is located at the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Imaging Centre. This node links directly Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD), HMRI and university researchers to regional and rural communities, facilitated through the University’s established regional research engagement programs in rural and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.
HMRI Imaging Centre delivers important translational imaging research for the University and wider Hunter region and with research capabilities it bridges the gap between urban, regional and rural communities. The Imaging Centre is leading a number of unique research studies of relevance to Indigenous peoples, including early detection of intrauterine growth restriction; mechanisms of cognitive ageing; and addressing the burden of hearing loss. The Imaging Centre is collaborating with national Indigenous researchers on innovative research into Indigenous place based narrative memory techniques. Through growing this profile, the Imaging Centre aims to be a leader in Indigenous health research that will support Indigenous ownership of research and assist in closing the gap.
The HMRI, HNELHD and University of Newcastle host a wide portfolio of imaging-based multidisciplinary biomedical research spanning translational projects in cancer, dementia, psychosis, inflammatory diseases, neurodegenerative and cardiorespiratory disease; basic discovery research; and technical developments in sequence optimization and implementation. With strong partnerships with industry and pharmaceutical companies, the HMRI Imaging Centre provides innovative imaging services for longitudinal multiple sclerosis studies (Biogen, Novartis, Roche), psychosis (HMRI and Rainbow Foundation) in addition to offending behaviour (the Kirby Institute) and dementia (the Australian Dementia Network, ADNeT).
The HMRI Imaging Centre is one of the first facilities in the world to house a state-of-the-art Siemens MAGNETOM Prisma 3T human scanner devoted entirely to medical research and high-end clinical imaging. The HMRI Imaging Centre was established to facilitate important translational imaging research for the University of Newcastle and wider Hunter region, thus making meaningful contributions to the health and wellbeing of all Australians. The HMRI Imaging Centre has supported an increasing volume of high-end imaging research, supporting discovery and translational science as well as clinical trials. The HMRI Imaging Centre was recently supported with full fit-out of unique and comprehensive auxiliary hardware for functional imaging (audio-video display, active noise cancelling, physiological logging (pulse oximetry), olfactory stimulus delivery, eye tracking). As such, the Imaging Centre now supports flagship translational projects in cancer, dementia, psychosis, inflammatory diseases and cardiorespiratory disease; basic discovery research; and technical developments in sequence optimization and implementation. Heteronuclear MRI/S is also an emerging application at HMRI Imaging Centre thus highlighting our unique national contribution to the imaging ecosystem. Our collaboration with Siemens Healthineers grants us access to the latest research tools, particularly in the areas of advanced functional MRI (fMRI), diffusion MRI (dMRI), susceptibility and chemical exchange, cardiac/abdominal MRI, MRSI (Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging) and multinuclear capabilities (phosphorus, carbon and sodium) which sets us apart from other centers. Additionally, third party imaging and reconstruction code can be installed and tested on the scanner (e.g. customer-to-peer, Work-in-Progress (WIP) and locally developed codes). The HMRI Imaging Centre is also equipped with a MagVenture MagPro transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) device (MagVenture, Farum, Denmark) connected to a figure-of-eight with a 75mm external diameter Cool-B65 butterfly coil which can be used for multidisciplinary research.