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James Plastiras Director of Public Information New York State Office of Mental Health 518-474-6540 james.plastiras@omh.ny.gov

October 20, 2021

NYS Office of Mental Health Awarded Grant for Research to Improve Understanding of the Human Brain

Groundbreaking MRI system will allow scientists to safely and noninvasively study the human brain structure and function

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) today announced that its Nathan Kline Institute (NKI) received a $3.7 million research grant from the National Science Foundation to support the development and implementation of an ultra-high field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system that will be one of the most powerful neuro-imaging systems in the world. The MRI will help to dramatically advance our understanding of the human brain.

Office of Mental Health (OMH) Commissioner, Dr. Ann Sullivan, said, “This project, and the research being conducted by NKI will help us to better understand mental health, illness and the human brain.  It is truly transformative and demonstrates why OMH’s research facilities are world-renowned for their groundbreaking work.”

Executive Director of the Nathan Kline Institute, Dr. Donald Goff, said, “We are very proud of the scientific vision and collaborative teamwork that led to the successful funding of this project.  When the development stage is completed, this MRI system will serve as a regional center to advance research into psychiatric illness and its treatment”.

The pioneering 9.4 tesla MRI system – known as 9.4T -- will allow scientists to safely and noninvasively study the human brain structure, function, and metabolism at the highest resolutions currently achievable. The project will bring together neuroscientists and engineers from academic institutions and industry throughout the Tri-State area to collaboratively reach a new level in brain science and will provide the tools and training needed to pursue it.

Partners in the collaboration include Columbia, NYU, and Cornell Universities’ engineering and neuroscience programs and New York State industries including General Electric Global Research and Communications Power Corp. The system will be housed in a new ultra-high-field imaging laboratory being built by the NYS Office of Mental Health on the campus of the Nathan Kline Institute in Orangeburg, New York.

The 9.4T head-only system will be able to collect images of the human brain with unprecedented quality and image resolution, 1000 times better than the 3T systems that are the current standard in clinical practice. This difference in resolving power is equivalent to the difference between a magnifying glass and a microscope.  When development of the 9.4T system is completed, the team of scientists hope that advances in the understanding of the brain will lead to new treatments for psychiatric illness by bridging the gap between micro- and macro-scale neuroscience.

More information about the award from NSF can be seen here:



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