Policies and Fees-The Pittsburgh NMR Center for Biomedical Research - Carnegie Mellon University


The Pittsburgh NMR Center for Biomedical Research is a research and technology development facility supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). The Pittsburgh NMR Center houses a wide variety of instrumentation for Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that is available for use by the greater scientific community. This page provide information on the policies regarding the use of the facility.

MRI/MRS Instrumentation

There are two Bruker Biospec systems and one Bruker Microimaging system available for routine in vivo investigations. Two of the scanners are equipped with horizontal bore magnets, a 4.7 Tesla / 40 cm magnet and a 7.0 Tesla / 21 cm magnet. The microimaging instrument is equipped with a vertical bore 11.7 Tesla / 8.9 cm magnet. These instruments are capable of performing MR imaging and in vivo spectroscopic measurements and each of these systems is equipped with physiological monitoring and gating capabilities.

The NMR Center maintains a Bruker Minispec operating at 20 MHz (1H) that may be used for relaxation measurements of tissue samples, contrast agents, and other preparations. In addition, the NMR Center has access to several Bruker high-resolution NMR spectrometers operating a three field strengths: 7 T (300 MHz, 1H), 11.7 T (500 MHz), and 14 T (600 MHz).

Using the Facilities

When using the NMR Center facilities, all users are expected to bring their own supplies; there is only limited space for storage.   All experiments involving live subjects must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC at Carnegie Mellon University and/or your home institution.  A current protocol and approval letter must be on file in the NMR Center.  In addition, subjects used in experiments may only be housed in the NMR center for a maximum of 12 hrs. Studies needing longer-term housing requires consultation and approval from the Director or Assistant Director prior to applying to use the facilities.

Technical assistance is available and provided free of charge with scheduled instrument time.  The need for a veterinary technician or NMR specialist should be discussed with the Assistant Director or Director prior to applying to use the facilities.  Instrument scheduling will also be contingent on NMR Center staff availability.  Laboratories with technical expertise can ask that their research staff be trained to fill these roles (see Training below).

Application Procedure

Applications to use the facilities of The Pittsburgh NMR Center are reviewed by the Center's Scientific Advisory Committee on a rolling basis. Consultation with the Director or Assistant Director is highly recommended prior to filling out the online application form. The short research proposal should consist of five sections: (i) scientific rational and significance, (ii) proposed methods, (iii) NMR equipment needs, (iv) estimation of instrument time requirements for the project, and (v) source of funding for the project. All of the research proposals will be scored on scientific merit and suitability to the facilities of the NMR Center. 

Instrument time for each approved project will be allocated on a 6-, 9- or 12-month basis depending on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee. If your project is approved you will be notified in writing, and should contact the Assistant Director for scheduling instrument time.  Applications must be renewed annually and all experiments involving live subjects must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC at Carnegie Mellon University and/or your home institution.


All users are required to complete MRI magnet safety training prior to working around the superconducting magnets.  Magnet safety training is coordinated by the Assistant Director. 

Local faculty, post-doctoral trainees or students may also be trained on use of the MRI instrumentation.  Training is provide through hands-on sessions with the Assistant Director or other NMR Center Staff.  Training of local researchers generally signifies a long-term commitment to use the NMR Center facilities and requires approval of the NMR Center leadership.  If approved, up to 6 hrs of instrument time will be provided at no cost for training purposes.  Please consult with the NMR Center leadership regarding training.  

Instrument Scheduling/Cancellation Policies

Instrument time is scheduled on a monthly basis.  Projects are scheduled according to priority score and availability of support staff.  In vivo and timed studies are, in general, also given priority and prime time over ex vivo studies.   The schedule is prepared prior to the first of the month, and changes in scheduling are handled by the Assistant Director.  Failure to cancel scheduled time with 48 hr notice may result in a charge for unused instrument time. 


For 2014-2015 the hourly fee for academic use of the 4.7T, 7T, and 11.7T instruments is $125 per hr.  Data analysis and preparation of materials for presentation and publication can be provided at a rate of $50 per hr. MRI charges will be billed quarterly.  Users with delinquent accounts may be denied future scheduling.  A Radiometer ABL blood gas analyzer is available and users will be charged per test ($18) at the prorated cartridge cost.  Rates are subject to change at any time.

The NMR Center can provide consultation for protocol design free of charge and there is a limited amount of instrument time that may be available for collecting preliminary data in pursuit of grant applications.  Please consult with the Director or Assistant Director.


All users are required to acknowledge experimentation preformed at the NMR Center in manuscripts submitted for publication. Specifically, one should state in the acknowledgement section: The Pittsburgh NMR Center for Biomedical Research is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (P41-EB001977).

NMR Center personnel that participate in research should be acknowledged in publications resulting from data collected in the NMR Center.  Personnel that make significant contributions to the work should be granted co-authorship.

Publications must also adhere to the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy.  Please visit the NIH public access page for details on submitting papers to PubMed Central (PMC).