Erwin L. Hahn Institute for MRI

The Erwin L. Hahn Institute was founded as a joint research facility in an agreement signed in July 2005 by the University of Duisburg-Essen and Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands). The heart of the Institute is a 7-Tesla wholebody magnetic resonance imager from Siemens Healthcare, Erlangen. In contrast to the conventional magnetic resonance imagers used in hospitals and clinics throughout the world, which commonly operate at a magnetic field strength of 1.5 or 3 Tesla, the ultra-high magnetic field strength of this imager provides significantly superior sensitivity for structural and functional measurements of the human body.

Owing to the many technical and physical challenges encountered at the higher magnetic field strength, 7-Tesla (7T) MRI technology is currently being investigated at only a limited number of research institutes throughout the world (currently around 40). One of the main goals of the Erwin L. Hahn Institute is to extend the benefits of 7T technology to the entire body with its developments.

The Erwin L. Hahn Institute is led by a board of three directors, psychologist Professor Matthias Brand, engineer Professor Mark E. Ladd, and physicist Professor David G. Norris. They are supported by the PI and physicist Dr. Tom Scheenen and the Administrative Director Dr. Beate Fraß. In addition to providing a unique research infrastructure for various groups from the two founding universities, the Institute practises an open-door policy granting access to Institute facilities to both academic and industrial partners.

In 2011, evaluation of the Erwin L. Hahn Institute was undertaken at the request of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Radboud University Nijmegen and the Institute’s own Advisory Board by an external scientific panel. The report of the evaluation committee stated, “The committee considers the institute to be the strongest site of high-field imaging in Germany, and in terms of scientific productivity in the top 5 internationally.” This statement is supported by the fact that Professor Ladd was in the same year awarded an “ERC Advanced Investigators Grant” worth 2.1 million euros for his excellent work at the Erwin L. Hahn Institute. Research at the Erwin L. Hahn Institute was thus honoured for the second time by the European Research Council. Since 2010, Dr. Scheenen’s research at the Institute has been supported by an “ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grant”.