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Biological Imaging

Biological imaging is of major importance for medical research. The establishment of imaging facilities in Ireland removes a barrier to the development of high quality patient oriented research. In 2006, the HRB made two awards for biomedical imaging equipment to be used in patient-oriented research and associated costs such as appropriate staffing to use the equipment.


Perinatal Ireland is an obstetric research network, led by Professor Fergal Malone (RCSI), which includes all eight major obstetric centres across the island with a total birth cohort of close to 50,000 per year. Every participating centre has received a dedicated research ultrasound machine from the award and employs a dedicated sonographer. Synchronising protocols and procedures, the consortium will be able to carry out studies that require a large number of participants.

The first major study of Perinatal Ireland is the ESPRIT Study (Evaluation of Sonographic Predictors of Restricted Growth in Twins) across all eight partner sites, looking at ultrasound measurements that can predict how twins will do and how the best twin pregnancy outcomes are ensured. In addition to this, a number of other studies have also been initiated. Total funding for the award (including supplementary funding) is €4.5 million.


The HRB Centre for Advanced Medical Imaging (CAMI) at St James's Hospital is based around a 3T research MRI. The Centre has been developed under the leadership of Professor James Meaney. It will be used to investigate new diagnostic, treatment and post-treatment options in cancer, neurology and cardiovascular disease. While the applicants have put together an impressive research programme in their own right, researchers from other institutions will be able to access the instrument.  CAMI is located next to the St James?s site for the new Health Research Board - Wellcome Trust Dublin Centre for Clinical Research and will be managed jointly. CAMI is expected to open in autumn of 2008 for studies from researchers nationally.

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