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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)



First Advisor

Shadi Othman

First Committee Member

Huihui Xu

Second Committee Member

Craig A. Vierra


Magnetic resonance imaging is a non-invasive imaging modality that is used to produce detailed images of soft tissues within the human body. Typically, MRI scanners used in the clinical setting are high field systems because they have a magnetic field strength greater than 1.5 Tesla. The high magnetic field offers the benefit of high spatial resolution and high SNR. However, low filed systems can also produce high resolution MR images with the added benefit of imaging stiffer samples. In this study, a low field 0.5 T MR system was used to image various samples to demonstrate the capability of the low field system in acquiring MR images with resolution comparable to high field systems. Furthermore, the MR system was modified to one capable of performing low field MR Elastography (MRE), a technique that can non-destructively measure the mechanical properties of soft samples. Agarose gel phantom of 0.5% wt. and 1.0% wt. were used to validate the MRE system. Additionally, a rat brain was used to assess the sensitivity of the MRE system in measuring the mechanical properties of small tissues. The results illustrated that the low field MR system can acquire high resolution images and provide sufficient tissue contrast (e.g through long TE times (80 ms), which is not possible with high field systems). MRE results on gel phantoms illustrated the capability of the low field system to accurately measure the mechanical properties and the MRE testing of rat brain demonstrated the potential of the system to study biological tissues. Finally, the capability of low field MRI and MRE to assess the growth of tissue engineered bone has the potential to transform the field of tissue engineering.



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